Last October, Buddy Wayne and Bobby Ray Barefoot agreed to split the grand prize in the survivor pool called Super Bowl Scramble: The Road to Santa Clara. The prize includes tickets to Super Bowl 50, access to the major events held just before the game, exclusive tailgate access on game day, airfare and hotel accomodations.
The game matches the favorite teams of the brothers, as B.W. wants the Denver Broncos to win and B.R. is rooting for the Carolina Panthers.
What follows is an account of their would-be adventures on Day 1, which was Friday.
B.W.: We arrived late last night and got to our hotel rooms at about 10 p.m. We got to sleep easily, which comes as no surprise since we traveled three time zones west to get here. But then the alarm clock sounded at about 3:30 this morning. Since the breakfast place wasn't open in the hotel, we had to go to our provisions of beef jerky and processed cheese. Not what we're used to at home, but what else could we do?
B.R.: The reason we were up in the darkness was to travel to the Moscone Convention Center in downtown San Francisco. That's the location of the Bridgestone Fan Gallery, which has also been designated as the "broadcast center" for the thousands of reporters and staff that have come to Super Bowl 50. The first of our many interviews today was for the Boomer and Carton Show, which airs on WFAN radio and CBS Sports Network, and started at about 4:30 a.m.
B.W.: Former NFL quarterback Boomer Esiason and co-host Craig Carton marveled at how, unlike other "radio row" guests this week, we seemed not to come on behalf of a product or service. I quickly corrected them: "OK, so that's technically true, but if I had to pitch something, it's NFL On Location." Then I added how we won the trip to get here, the perks we're getting here, and asked listeners and viewers to visit the website for more information.
B.R.: Then it was on to CBS This Morning. We were asked for the specific reasons we root for our respective teams. At the end we wished Gayle King luck on her scheduled interview with President Obama and his wife the First Lady that will air on The Super Bowl Today, the network's pregame show.
B.W.: A catered breakfast followed backstage. Pancakes, eggs, sausage and bacon looked - and tasted - good! This is what we're used to back home. We checked in with our cousin Brandy and with Noah at the one-room schoolhouse, then at 9:30 a.m., it was on to The Herd with Colin Cowherd. The sports-talk veteran is now on FOX (radio and TV) after many years on ESPN. Cowherd admitted he is a fan of none of what we do (NASCAR, country music, non-fiction TV) and was perplexed about my firing and re-hiring Miss Hambone. But he admired our true passion for the teams we root for and asked us to put our predictions on the board, not only who will win but also by how many points. My brother has the Panthers winning by 13, and said "I'm gonna kick...your...butt!" I shot back with "I won't kick your butt, but you won't win either!" I picked the Broncos to win by 6.
B.R.: I stand by my pick. The Panthers will indeed kick butt on Sunday!
B.W. Whatever. Next for us was The Doug Gottlieb Show, also on CBS SN and simulcast on CBS Sports Radio. Gottlieb is a former college basketball point guard who has expanded his sports knowledge enough to get a daily talk show. The discussion turned sobering, with topics such as Louisville taking itself out of postseason play due to a call girl scandal and whether Johnny Manziel will live to see another birthday. But in the end, it all turned back to Super Bowl talk, which made it a bit reassuring.
B.R.: Onward and upward, to the massive NFL Shop. Let me put it this way: Everything ever made licensed by the NFL is for sale here. We bought about $400 worth of merchandise, including game programs, plushes of the team mascots, and a poster with replica tickets from all 50 games. Next up...
B.W.: Oh, yes, the NFL Experience. Before we went, I put on lots of makeup and a fake beard so I would not be recognized. Bobby decided to go as he was, but some people pointed him out right away and he signed and took selfies with some of the other visitors. You can see a complete list of attractions here, and believe me, we did just about all of them. (For the record, I beat Bobby by about a quarter second in the 40-yard dash, giving me the right to simulate a kick return for a touchdown.) Being just "two of the boys" was a great thing and gave us a great opportunity to escape the fish bowl of our fame, if only temporarily.
B.R.: Next up was The 50th Mile. A cool thing! Starting at NFLX, there are 10 kiosks with information about every Super Bowl so far. At the end is Super Bowl City, which is a promenade at Justin Herman Plaza within sight of the ferry boat landing. We mixed in with the huge crowds there, and then it got a little spooky...
B.W.: Let me back up. There is a large music stage in Super Bowl City, with a daily lineup of performers. On this night, the featured night act was OneRepublic. Yes, the same band that sang the theme song - "I Lived" - at my public celebration of my NASCAR Hall of Fame induction last week in Raleigh! Oh, and Hambone did a routine set to another of their hits, "When Love Runs Out," at the 57th Grammy Awards last year. It's as if God ordained it!
B.R.: Because He did.
B.W.: After that, we wrapped up the night by playing virtual-reality football. Unfortunately, here in this fake world, my throwing arm is not as good as Bud Strickland's! (Strickland is a former high school quarterback and former boss of Hambone's at Camp Paradise in Four Oaks, NC.)
B.R.: Back to our hotel rooms now. What a day we have planned for tomorrow, starting in the Napa Valley and ending at NFL Honors. Our adventure has just begun!