Rose Bowl Bread & Circuses just as Impressive as Football Game Itself



It’s hard not to have a very high opinion of oneself after covering the Rose Bowl. Because you and all the other journalists who cover the game are indeed treated like royalty all week.

Granted I knew I was “kind of a big deal” before going to Pasadena, but all the superb hospitality and first-rate service made me feel like even more of a rock star. Now I’m ready to work on that New Year’s Resolution- stop being a nice guy.

The Rose Bowl game takes place on what is by far the best sports day of the year- New Year’s Day. A good chunk of major bowls, the NHL Winter Classic, some NBA and conference play in college basketball take place on this day as well. Even though it’s sports overload, it’s one of my favorite days of the year.


New Year’s Eve is pointless and overrated; if you still make a huge deal about it after age 30, then you must seek therapy. If your insurance doesn’t cover it, I’ll help out financially. It’s worth it to me because I’d like the world better with less people like you in it.

You only celebrate NYE for the same reason you celebrate your birthday- because you don’t ever accomplish anything in your life that gives you a genuine reason to celebrate.

I, on the other hand, have plenty of reasons to celebrate the rest of the year, on all the days I get things done! (Told ya my New Year’s resolution was to be less nice).

New Year’s Day is underrated and glorious, and to me has and always will be about the Rose Bowl. And the other bowls to some extent. In fact, from now on the phrase “New Year’s” refers to only New Year’s Day. This dia de dias was moved to January 2nd this year so that there would be no competition with the NFL.

You don’t want to put college football up against NFL football. But hockey and basketball, no problem. NFL and college football are overwhelmingly so much more important and interesting than hockey and basketball anyway- so there is no decision. At the official media hotel in downtown Los Angeles, the windows, walls, and even the elevators were decorated with Rose Bowl game insignia.

The game’s logo appears as a hologram/laser light on the marble floors as you enter the hotel. Giant “Welcome Media” banners adorn the facades next to Vermeer paintings above the Christmas trees.

I’ve covered Final Fours and I’ve never seen anything cool like that.


This is off-the-charts bread and circuses. At the 2010 Final Four, all media were forced to PURCHASE the internet at the venue. PURCHASE the most important tool to do your job. And you can’t walk into the arena holding any type of beverage at all unless it’s poured into a Vitamin Water cup.

That precious VITAMIN WATER CUP must be seen at all times! At press row, the postgame press conferences, ONLY VITAMIN WATER!

BUY VITAMIN WATER!!!!! You will conform.

Or be crushed!

At the NCAA Tournament, it’s their way or the highway.

At the Rose Bowl, it’s “can I get you anything? Water? Sprite? Our special cookies with the Rose Bowl logo on them? More food? More extra food? A rose petal on your credential?” Or as one of my good media friends from a Wisconsin television station put it, “the NCAA runs the tourney, so it’s all about them. The BCS runs the bowls, and they make it all about you.”

What’s most architecturally impressive about the Rose Bowl Stadium is it’s size and efficiency. There’s no interesting, distinct character to it. There doesn’t need to be. It’s history, the game’s meaning and the picturesque location suffice in themselves. You actually have to drive through two-lane roads in residential neighborhoods to get there. As Yoda would say, “unexpected this is.”

However, the first bus from the media hotel to the game gets a police escort! Yes, a police escort!


I took my trusty Droid Bionic, which Verizon provided for me. The device provides some of the photos you see in this post.

Opened in 1922, this past Rose Bowl was the 98th edition of the game. It was also the sixth warmest and highest scoring in history. It also had the longest run in Rose Bowl history (De’Anthony Thomas), and the finest statistical season by both a quarterback (Russell Wilson) and a running back (Montee Ball) reach completion. And the hottest cheerleaders in all of college football were on the sidelines (Oregon). Even my published prediction in the preview 47-41 Oregon was exceedingly accurate, as the Ducks won 45-38.

And to top it all off, the winning coach (Chip Kelly) told me I did some really awesome marketing for my website/business at the postgame press conference. Which all my media peers got to hear.

The stadium has hosted it’s name sake game every year of existence with the exception of 1942, when paranoia after Pearl Harbor moved the game to Duke.

Why Duke? That’s really far away. Yes, yes it is, but I don’t have an answer for you.

But I can tell you it that there are over 100 varieties of roses in the bushes that surround the stadium, and that it would take 84.3 million gallons of water to fill the bowl to the very top. And this stadium modeled after the Yale Bowl doesn’t have a bad seat in the house. Even the highest seat up in this 91,000 seat bowl has an excellent view of the game.

I said before coming here that this venue nestled in the San Gabriel Mountains, with transcendent sunsets seemed to appear on television like a utopia where it’s sunny and pleasant all the time.

Having experienced just that; I now know that this perception is indeed reality.

View more Rose Bowl pics here

and here

Interesting read: 10 greatest Rose Bowl games of all time (this year’s will no doubt be among them)

And 5 recent Rose Bowls that midwesterners will never forget.

Paul M. Banks is CEO of The Sports, an official Google News site generating millions of unique visitors. He’s also a regular contributor to Chicago Now, Walter, Yardbarker, and Fox Sports

A Fulbright scholar and MBA, Banks has appeared on live radio all over the world; and he’s a member of the Football Writers Association of America, U.S. Basketball Writers Association, and Society of Professional Journalists. The President of the United States follows him on Twitter (@Paul_M_BanksTSB) You should too.

In accordance with the FTC Guidelines, I am disclosing that I have received a Motorola Droid Bionic from Verizon Wireless free of charge, in return for my agreement to blog about my experiences with the Droid Bionic. Although I have a material connection to Verizon Wireless, any publicy stated opinions of Verizon Wireless and their products remain my own.


  1. Is this business/website your full time job? Your doing one hell of a job with it if so! Props big guy. How long did it take for you to get credentialed so easily? Keep up the great work.

  2. paulmbanks says

    Thanks so much Jimmy!

    I really appreciate it.

    Yes this is my full time job. It took me a couple years to get it profitable, and then the 3rd year I was able to pay my bills with it. And fortunately it’s kept growing since.

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