Steve Glass can’t count all the offers he’s received from friends and family to hold his clipboard on Sunday.
Then again, when people find out you’ll be on the sidelines for Super Bowl XLII, you become a popular guy quickly.
Glass is one of seven former and current East Valley teachers and firemen who will form the chain gang working the Giants-Patriots game. The same crew worked Super Bowl XXX in Tempe and is on the sidelines for every Arizona State and Arizona Cardinals games, as well as several Fiesta Bowls and last year’s BCS title game.
Glass, the former softball coach at Phoenix Desert Vista High, is joined on the crew by former Tempe High baseball coach Jim Foster, Chandler Basha football coach Tim McBurney; retired Mesa Community College teacher Dave Gerlach, retired city of Tempe firemen Mike Rawlings, and Mike Montanez and Robin Kwiatkowski — the son of Valley television legend Ladmo from “The Wallace and Ladmo Show.”
“We’re at the right spot at the right time,” said Glass, whose job is to chronicle (in duplicate) everything about each penalty — from the type and offender to which officials threw their flags. “We all love the game, many of the group has coaching and refereeing experience. I was an accounting teacher, so I’m good with numbers. But doing a game like this is certainly extra special.”
It’s a great job — if you don’t count the pay ($65 for an NFL regular-season game) or running yourself ragged during a two-minute drill.
Thomas, who turns 59 on Monday, and Gerlach have been working ASU games since 1971. Glass joined the group in 1983, when they needed more members to staff the USFL’s Arizona Wranglers. They have worked every Phoenix/Arizona Cardinals game since they came to town in 1988.
That sometimes means working a Saturday night ASU game until 11 p.m. before reporting to a Cardinals game at 10 a.m. the next morning. “And until this year, those Cardinals games can drag a little,” Thomas said.
That’s a lot of games, and quite a few memories to savor. Thomas took a Troy Aikman pass to the stomach during a Monday Night Football game in 1995 — the same night the game footage for the movie “Jerry Maguire” was being shot.
Glass was literally walked over by enigmatic defensive end Dexter Manley on his way off the field.
And then there was the 2005 trip down to Mexico City for the Cardinals-49ers game, when they were escorted by their own machine gun-toting security group.
“They told us not to wander far from the hotel,” Glass said. “They didn’t have to tell me twice.”
Glass said his first Super Bowl was a thrill and waiting 12 years for another chance will make this one extra special. “You do kind of take a step back and say, ‘This is pretty good.’ ” he said.
And what about your families? Must be a thrill to see you on TV at the big game, right?
“Well, not unless you can recognize us by our feet,” Thomas said. “That’s about all you see most of the time. Our job is to be invisible.”
AND THEN THERE WAS ONE
A little fun with numbers: Only six teams have not participated in a Super Bowls — the Browns, Cardinals, Jaguars, Lions, Saints and Texans.
Of that group, only the Cardinals and Lions are truly 0-for-42 (the Jags, Saints and Texans are expansion teams and the Browns were dormant from 1996-99) but either you’ve been to the dance or you haven’t, right?
Of the six who haven’t been to the big bowl, five — Arizona, Detroit, Houston, Jacksonville and New Orleans — have hosted at least one Super Bowl in their stadium.
That leaves Cleveland as the only NFL city yet to host or take part in a Super Bowl. And if you look at the weather map today, and remember how much trouble it took to build the last stadium in town, you see it’s up to the team to break the jinx.
STRENGTH IN NUMBERS
He already has more Super Bowl rings than anyone in history with six. But on Sunday, Patriots strength and conditioning Mike Woicik – who won three rings with Dallas in the 1990s and three more in New England over the last six years – is going for lucky No. 7.
“He has more rings than Bill (Belichick) and he has them for a reason,” defensive lineman Vince Wilfork said. “People look at the big picture, but he’s as important to us as anyone. He prepares us in a way that we’re at our strongest at the end of the season, and his teams are ready for the big games. You can’t measure how much that means and how much we trust him to get us prepared.
“He looks after us like a father. We’re like his kids. He always has a word of wisdom for you. He’s been around success, and he’s a reason why the success comes.”
• Maybe its because he’s focused on the game or because his excursions around Scottsdale have been limited to a movie and some restaurants, but Patriots receiver Randy Moss doesn’t appear fond of Arizona as a Super Bowl destination.
“I’m ready to play. I’m ready to go home. I’m ready for this to be over,” Moss said. “It’s been somewhat of a decent, OK experience. But I wish this Super Bowl could have been in Miami or something like that. Let’s get the game over and let’s get up out of here.”
Thanks, Randy. Don’t let the plane door hit you in the hip pad on your way out.
• Both tickets and demand for Super Bowl XLII are at an all-time high. The Boston Globe reports that a single club seat at University of Phoenix Stadium is going for nearly $20,000 on StubHub, while a pair of tickets up for bid on eBay will set you back $77,000. “I wouldn’t pay $77,000 to watch Tom (Brady) and (girlfriend) Gisele (Bundchen) play,” Patriots linebacker Mike Vrabel joked.
• Moss was asked what the Giants could do to rattle Brady on Sunday: “I think if you take the five offensive linemen out of the equation, make him snap the ball to himself and let (Michael) Strahan and them rush with no protection that would rattle him. But that’s about it.”
Strahan could wear a TMZ.com T-shirt. That might do it.
• Guard Logan Mankins, on owning the fullest beard among the Patriots offensive linemen. “You have to be born with the hairy gene, I guess.”