my not-so-expert analysis of which team was more likely to have someone get into trouble in the week leading up to the Super Bowl was correct, as the New York Giants managed to avoid distractions (for the most part) on their way to victory over the New England Patriots.
I'm back for round 2: Breaking down the various temptations that the Arizona Cardinals and Pittsburgh Steelers will face this week while in Tampa for Super Bowl XLIII.
Let's face it, there's a ton of fun stuff going on in Tampa, from parties to Hooters to bars to beaches to Ybor City to strip clubs. Yes, Tampa is known for its adult clubs, making the odds of a player getting into trouble at one of them quite good. My money is on Kurt Warner.
Sure, there are certain players who have higher odds than others of being arrested or causing a disruption (I'm looking at you Anquan Boldin). That aside, geography will have its affect.
Which team is more likely to have someone get involved in an off-the-field incident or be distracted this week based on where they are staying: the Cardinals or the Steelers? Lets break it down (places of interest have been marked on the map below, or click here)
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Basic Hotel Location
Arizona Cardinals: The Buzzsaw That Is The Arizona Cardinals are staying at the Grand Hyatt Tampa Bay for Super Bowl week. The hotel is right next to the airport, which could be noisy, but it is also in a location that is right on the bay on a secluded street. With all of the security in Tampa, you can bet that not many people will be getting near the hotel unless they are staying there.
Pittsburgh Steelers: The Pittsburgh Steelers are staying at the InterContinental Hotel Tampa. The InterContinental is also pretty close to the airport, but a bit further away. However, it is also in a busy area, right across the street from WestShore Plaza, a large shopping mall. As with the Patriots last year, being in a busier area for the Super Bowl week could be a distraction.
Team more likely to get in trouble: Steelers. While neither team has anything horrible nearby, the Cardinals are in a more secluded location a bit further from the action.
Arizona Cardinals: There is one casino in Tampa: The Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino. Neither team is staying close to it. As I mentioned last year, there are many places to lose your money around the Phoenix area, meaning the Cardinals are used to having them nearby. However...
Pittsburgh Steelers: Pittsburgh is only just getting places to gamble, and the one that has opened so far sounds like it sucks. Will the bright lights of the Hard Rock prove to be too much of an attraction to the Steelers before the Super Bowl?
Team more likely to get in trouble: Even. The Hard Rock is so far away that it is unlikely anybody will go. A trip out there is a DUI waiting to happen.
Nightclubs & Bars
Arizona Cardinals: There aren't many bars near the Cards' hotel, though they are staying closest to the World's First Hooters, which is located about 10 miles away across the Courtney Campbell Causeway. I believe Courtney Campbell was the first Hooters waitress. Even further away are some of the Super Bowl parties, including the Moves Magazine party hosted by Reggie Bush and Ray Lewis across the water in St. Petersburg. The Museum of Science and Industry is also hosting 2 huge parties on Friday and Saturday night, featuring celebrities such as Jermaine Dupri, Janet Jackson, Jaime Foxx, Nelly, Antonio Tarver, as well as "Lala Ali" and "Ken Griffin, Jr." Unfortunately for those of us looking for party photos & stories of athletes and celebrities doing stupid things, many of the traditional Super Bowl parties such as those from Playboy and Sports Illustrated have been eliminated, leaving just Maxim, ESPN the Magazine, and Madden as the standing large parties. Snoop Dogg will of course be present in Tampa Bay at the Bud Bowl Block Party.
Pittsburgh Steelers: As mentioned before, the Steelers are staying in a slightly more central location, closer to Ybor City, an area with plenty of nightlife with Spanish and Cuban flair. Ybor City is tres speedy but they throw such killer parties, at least according to Craig Finn, and who am I to argue with him?
Team more likely to get in trouble: Steelers, by just a bit. One thing to note is that most of the areas with good nightlife and the Super Bowl parties are actually quite far from where the teams are staying. That's good news, unless anybody tries to get behind the wheel. While they are not exactly in a hard-partying area, the Steelers are a bit closer to the action. If the Cardinals are smart, they lockdown that road to their hotel and make it their island before the Super Bowl, restricting any damage to the hotel bar.
strip clubs. Local clubs are importing dancers from all around the country, and many plan on operating 24 hours a day in case players and fans get an urge to see breasts at 8am on Thursday. There is the Six Foot Rule, but it hasn't been enforced in years, so unless police have nothing better to do (unlikely), enthusiasts will be able to do as they please. There are too many clubs to cover in detail (43 in all), so I am going to focus on just two: Mons Venus and 2001 Odyssey (photos through above links are NSFW), which are right near Raymond James Stadium. Mons Venus has been repeatedly ranked in lists of the top 10 strip clubs in the country and features all-nude dancing & lap dances for a reasonable price. Not only that, patrons are allowed, nay encouraged to fondle the dancers. Let that sink in a bit, and we'll continue.
2001 Odyssey is located right nearby and offers similar activities, but with a spaceship theme. Between that and the parties at the Museum of Science and Industry, this Super Bowl is going to be a nerd paradise. How popular is 2001 Odyssey? More popular than the Stanley Kubrick film that inspired its name, at least based on the Google results. Plus it's right next to a Sonic, and who can beat that?
Pittsburgh Steelers: See above. Both teams are roughly the same distance from these two locations, though the Steelers are marginally closer and presumably haven't seen many attractive women in Pittsburgh.
Team more likely to get in trouble: Draw Both teams are close to the 2 biggest clubs, and both are right near the stadium, so we'll call it a draw and say everyone will get in trouble.
There you have it. It is clear which team has the advantage when it comes to avoiding possible distractions while in Tampa. Based on the above analysis, the Arizona Cardinals will be your Super Bowl XLIII Champions, but it will be very close. And if what I know about Tampa from Hold Steady lyrics holds true, everyone is going to do a lot of drugs and die. If anyone does murder anyone, I would like to put in a request. You may now ignore everyone else's opinion on the game and take your newfound knowledge straight to Vegas. I got it right last year, and I plan on getting it right this year. Go Cardinals.