NEWARK, N.J. (AP) — After serving as the site for the NBA and NHL drafts, a Stanley Cup final and numerous concerts, Newark had no problem dealing with handling a media horde covering the Super Bowl between the Seattle Seahawks and Denver Broncos.
There were some traffic delays and a late train on the way to Prudential Center. It wasn't much for New Jersey's largest city to worry about on Tuesday.
The 50 or so buses carrying the media got there on time with reporters and broadcasters seeing a promotional film about Newark to go along with a cup of coffee and breakfast bun.
The Broncos and Seahawks got surprises, too. They were greeted by public school students and new Mayor Luis Quintana.
Notable among the absentees was New Jersey Gov . Chris Christie, who is under a microscope after allegations that his aides manufactured traffic jams on the George Washington Bridge as political payback.
The fans, athletes and the journalists covering media day had more than enough people to interview without Christie.
"This is a great opportunity for Newark," Quintana said. "Newark is not just an airport. Newark is more than an airport, or train station or seaport. Newark is a place where people live and like to come to a great arena and entertain themselves. New Jersey's largest city is a great place to have this day, and it's not just today. We want people to continue to come to Newark."
Scott O'Neil, the chief executive officer of the New Jersey Devils, Philadelphia 76ers and Prudential Center, said a local businessman accompanied every bus and talked about working in Newark and its advantages.
"This was a chance to show Newark as a wonderful city," said O'Neil, who oversees the arena that has 200 events annually and is the home of the Devils of the NHL.
Heading into the arena, the city had some of its youngest citizens greet the player, coaches and other team personnel. Roughly 50 students representing four Newark schools welcomed the players with glow-sticks, pom-pons and cheers:
"Good Luck Broncos, Good Luck" or "Let's Go Broncos."
Broncos coach John Fox gave the youngsters a thumbs up leaving the building and Seahawks coach Pete Carroll high-fived many on the welcome line minutes later going into the state-of-the-art building.
One Broncos player gave 12-year-old Sophia — her last name was withheld by school officials — a hat.
"I'm going to wear it," she said proudly.
Moise, another 12-year-old from Robert Treat Academy, said the students discovered they would be going to Prudential Center for media day on Monday. They were up at 6:30 a.m. and stood in an area near a cold loading dock for about four hours.
Continue reading this story on the...