By Francisco Alvarado
By Trevor Bach
By Chris Joseph
By Michael E. Miller
By Allie Conti
By Keegan Hamilton and Francisco Alvarado
By Jake Rossen
By Allie Conti
Still thinking about making it to the Super Bowl? Well, it's certainly destined to be one of those once-or-twice-in-a-lifetime gridiron experiences, worth all of the teeth-rattling expense it entails. To put it in succinct Madison Avenue terms:
Ticket to the game: $5,540 (the current average)
Parking at Dolphin Stadium: $50 plus $10 in fees
Hot dog: $5
This is, of course, utter bullshit. The game promises to be one of the worst of the year, extravagantly hyped, mistake-filled, full of long, boring defensive stratagems and glacial, clock-consuming touchdown drives. You'll get home from the game after fighting a two-hour traffic jam on I-95, no doubt with a feeling of profound emptiness. Your spirit will be sapped, and yes, so will your wallet. Right now, knowledgeable football fans with box-office connections are thinking not about relishing a football game next Sunday but about how they're going to unload their tickets for huge profits.
If attend you absolutely must, save the six grand for a down payment on a car or an installment on your kid's college tuition. When there's this much money involved, Tailpipe says, the Robin Hood principle kicks in. Rob the rich to help the poor (assuming you're one of the vast majority of pro football fans for whom a four-figure ticket price is as inconceivable as a Rolls-Royce planted in your carport).
So Tailpipe has come up with these sketchy routes to a ticket:
Blackmail. The NFL has offered tickets at face value ($600 to $700) to elected officials, including some ethically challenged members of the Broward County Commission. Got the goods on a pol? The 'Pipe suggests showing up at the office of Commissioner Josephus Eggelletion (who, asked by the Miami Herald if he was buying, said it was a "private" matter, so you know he's got some) with a DNA report, claiming he's your long-lost father.
Get in on the gig. An ad on craigslist.org calls for "local promotional models, background actors and major fans" to participate in the halftime show. Of course, if selected, your ass belongs to the producers. The good news, though, is that you can actually work your way into the Super Bowl provided you're willing to reduce yourself to indentured servitude, wear "appropriate" garb, and stand for hours with no fiscal compensation.
The mascot ploy. Pat Patriot and Blue are so gussied up in their costumes, nobody knows who's really under there. A long shot, maybe. But this crusty car part has heard of schemes far more outlandish than donning rubberized headgear that disguises your larcenous identity.
Sand. It used to be that all you needed was a worthy disabled person whose wheelchair you could push into a stadium event, but then Immigration and Customs Enforcement started getting all sticky about security matters. But who's going to question a smartly dressed workman pushing a wheelbarrow full of sand through the service entrance, saying with an officious growl, "Adam Vinatieri"? Field-goal kickers need sand, don't they? Well, no, but by the time security figures that one out, you'll be in a beer line.
Alice Faircloth hadn't saved quite enough for her retirement, but the 74-year-old Hialeah woman liked her job as an usher at the BankAtlantic Center in Sunrise. A self-described extrovert, Faircloth was glad to get out of her house, which has been missing a portion of its roof since Hurricane Wilma.
Toward the end of the Florida Panthers game last Halloween night, a man wearing an expensive suit slipped into the section of the stadium reserved for disabled spectators, not far from where Faircloth was standing. "He seemed agitated his neck was bulging," Faircloth says. "And all of a sudden, he said the f-word really loud. Usually, if someone does that, we call security and have them ejected, because this is a family environment."
As the final seconds ticked away, the man's swearing only intensified. The game ended in a 2-1 loss to the San Jose Sharks. As the man stormed out, Faircloth leaned toward him to say, "Excuse me, sir, but you have an awfully foul mouth."
The man stopped and glared at her, she says. "I thought he was going to hit me, he was so angry," Faircloth says.
"Do you know who I am?" Turns out he was Michael Yormark, chief operating officer of BankAtlantic Center. According to Faircloth, he then said, "I don't ever want to see you here again."
Moments later, Faircloth saw Yormark walk into the office of the contractor that provides ushers for the stadium. Later, Faircloth's supervisor told her not to come back. "I'm blackballed from going back to the BankAtlantic Center," she says.
Yormark did not return calls for comment. Faircloth hasn't found another usher job, and the rain comes through her roof, but she has no regrets. "I didn't know who he was," she says, "and I don't care."
Controversy is a fledgling newspaper's best friend, so when the Fort Lauderdale City News debuted in October, the free monthly offered readers and advertisers a steady diet of allegations about Fort Lauderdale public officials, Mayor Jim Naugle in particular.