CLICK HERE FOR PART I OF JOHN DONOVAN'S VIEWPOINT
Of course, a lot of the crankiness exhibited by the media comes because those highfalutin northerners are so high and falutin. The truth is, plenty of people already are having fun despite the layout and the downpours. In fact, some people who maybe shouldn't be having fun are having fun.
Eagles players Dhani Jones (snazzy in his bowtie) and Freddie Mitchell (snazzy himself in a useful wool cap) were seen Thursday night at a trendy nightclub called Endo Exo, which is in the "historic" (translate that as "old but trying to look cool") San Marco area of the city. That's just across the river from Alltel Stadium but a nice ride from the Eagles' hotel, the Sawgrass Marriott on Ponte Vedra Beach, just south of Jacksonville Beach.
Mitchell looked a little worried about being seen heading into a club just three nights before the big game -- until he spotted Jeff Lurie in the crowd.
"As long as my owner's here," Mitchell told a reporter, "we'll be all right."
Meanwhile, at Plush, a nightclub just east of downtown, several football greats (John Elway and Lawrence Taylor among them) braved the chilly weather for a party.
Lots of celebrities are already in town or are rumored to be heading this way. Snoop Dogg, Chris Rock, Jennifer Aniston, Adam Sandler, John Travolta, P. Diddy, Puff Daddy, Sean Combs (just seeing if you're paying attention).
And this weekend, all the big parties are happening. Saturday night alone, there's the Playboy Party (bunnies!), the Maxim Party (babes in skimpy clothing!) and the Sports Illustrated Super Swimsuit Model Party (Peter King!).
Remember, it's not as if this town doesn't know how to get down and dirty. This is the site of the World's Largest Outdoor Cocktail Party, a little annual football game and binge-drinking showdown between the football teams from Florida and Georgia and their fans.
All that said, it's true that Jacksonville will not go down as he best site the Super Bowl has ever seen. But with a little break from the weather this weekend, a few more drinks, a decent game and a good halftime show, it won't be the worst. The halftime show, featuring Paul McCartney, might actually provide something truly memorable.
"We're going to play NAKED!" McCartney told reporters Thursday.
Wow. If that happens, people will remember Jacksonville for a long, long time.