The worsening of the economy over the past seven or eight months hasn't changed Denver Post editor Greg Moore's opinion about the importance of sending staffers to personally witness the most major of sporting spectacles. In the May 2008 Message column "Olympics Travel a Hurdle for Local News Media," he defended picking up the tab for reporters to cover certain stories in person, despite rapidly rising costs and the financial struggles of newspapering in general. "We've decided that there are some signal events, like the Super Bowl and Wimbledon and the Masters, where it's important to give our take on what happens there," he said.
Hence, the presence of sports columnist Woody Paige in Tampa Bay for this Sunday's not-so-super Super Bowl matchup between the heavily favored Pittsburgh Steelers and the long-shot Arizona Cardinals. He's not the only local newspaper columnist in Florida for the showdown: The Rocky Mountain News ponied up for Bernie Lincicome to hang out on the company dime, too. (He might as well use E.W. Scripps' money while he can.) But whereas Lincicome didn't bother looking for a local hook to supplement his current column, "Sound, Fury of Super Bowl Media Day," his Post peer, Woody Paige, actually made an effort to do so. Problem is, links to Colorado at this particular Super Bowl aren't exactly plentiful.
Of course, Paige could have spoken to Bertrand Berry, a defensive lineman for the Cardinals who got his professional start as a member of the Denver Broncos. But instead, he chose to jaw with Mitch Berger, the Steelers' punter (pictured), who attended the University of Colorado and had a tryout with the Broncos this past spring that lasted precisely one day. Problem is, Berger isn't exactly an indispensable part of the Pittsburgh machine. The team actually cut him this past November 6 in favor of another former Bronco, Paul Ernster, only to swap them again just over two weeks later.
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Was it worth the cost of sending Paige to Tampa Bay to score an interview with the punter, particularly given the Post's reported financial turmoil? That's debatable. But at least the line to chat with him probably wasn't too long...