What a strange day in Dallas today, with downtown more like a frozen ghost town but with chance meeting with the Mayor of Fort Worth raising spirits dramatically as the Super Bowl build-up intensifies.
Ok, so I know thousands of people would kill to be in Dallas covering the Super Bowl this week, and I wouldn't want to be anywhere else, but seriously - this place is freezing! Never in the UK have I experienced that painful cold that grips you as soon as you emerge out into the open.
Now, I don't want this to turn into a daily weather report, but snow, ice and arctic temperatures are continuing to affect preparations for the big game, and the Dallas-Fort Worth area, and I am over here bringing you the inside scoop from the ground.
Getting around is not easy, roads were treacherous when I was driving towards the Media Centre today, and downtown Dallas resembled a deserted frozen ghost town with most people taking shelter indoors.
Super Bowl XLV
Pittsburgh Steelers @ Green Bay Packers
Sunday February 6, 10pm
Sky Sports HD1/1
Follow the Sky Sports Super Bowl blog from Dallas on Twitter @SkySportsPaulH
Inside, however, was a different story with us valiant members of the press still beavering away as game time creeps ever closer. See the snaps above of the action inside and outside the media centre.
Schools in the area have been closed, and rolling blackouts have been in place to conserve power in the worst wintery conditions seen here in 15 years "This is an inordinate weather event for this area," said concerned Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones.
Jones built his glorious $1.2 billion stadium to host this game, and showcase the area he loves so much, but even he can't control the weather and in the back of his mind must be the bad weather in Atlanta at Super Bowl XXXIV which has resulted in the big game not returning to the Georgia Dome since.
Surely the NFL's showpiece will be back in town in the future though, the stadium is too good, the local fans too eager for football for league officials to strike them off the charter just because of some unusually cold weather.
Organisers for next year's Super Bowl in Indianapolis, should it go ahead, insist they are fully prepared for similar weather: 'Get your winter on, it's cool!' is their slogan, and their main man told me that ice and snow would be no problem for Indy.
Today's big encounter was an unusual one, with none other than the Mayor of Fort Worth Mike Moncrief hosting a small event to publicise his own slice of Texas, which is perhaps overshadowed at times by near neighbours Dallas - "Because of the Dallas Cowboys and that TV show" according to his wife.
Fort Worth, which is home to the Pittsburgh Steelers this week, is immensely proud of its 'Cowboys and Culture' label though, and after receiving a personal invitation from the mayor and his wife it would be rude not to take them up on it so I'll be heading out there in the next few days.
A trip to the stadium is also on the agenda before the big game, while the host committee are keen for fans and media alike to get out and about around Dallas and Fort Worth as the cowboy country really tries to sell itself to the world on the biggest stage of all.
Mrs Mayor also recommended the best place in Fort Worth to grab a steak, and if there's one thing the great state of Texas can do, it's cook a mean steak!
The Super Bowl is still plastered all over the newspapers and TV stations, pictures are up all over Dallas' downtown skyscrapers (see pictures) and Texas is the national focus on mainstream television as well as the usual sports channels.
Quarterbacks Aaron Rodgers and Ben Roethlisberger remain the focus, with them both having a point to prove - surprisingly in Roethlisberger's case as he goes for a third Super Bowl ring, but his off-field issues leave him needing a performance to complete his redemption.
Rodgers, meanwhile, is still living in the shadow of Brett Favre, and will continue to do so until he matches his predecessor by bringing the Vince Lombardi Trophy home - could that happen on Sunday!?
If we all survive the Texas ice age, we'll get to see if that happens come Sunday. I almost didn't survive the drive out to get some food, with the desolate highways covered in sheet ice making driving conditions almost impossible.
With everyone locked away at home, takeaways were jammed with the backlog of orders, and even braving the roads just to find a Whataburger almost proved to be a step too far.
Still intact, I'll brave out the night and hopefully still be able to get out and about and sample more Super Bowl build-up tomorrow!
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J C says...
It was a practically tropical 10 degrees in Manchester yesterday. Perhaps they should hold the Superbowl here?!
Posted 04:13 3rd February 2011
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