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Alert Mayor Tom Leppert That the Super Bowl Hustle, Bustle Has Begun in Downtown!

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Crawled back out of downtown a few minutes ago just as a "Let's! Go! Packers!" chant got started on Main Street. We started with a couple beers at City Tavern -- where else? -- and moved on to Walt Garrison's Rodeo Bar and later the Magnolia Hotel. Two out of three were packed to the brim. Mayor Tom may be "disappointed," but the neighborhood looked about as busy as anyone could hope to find it on a snowy, frigid Friday afternoon.

"We took the DART down here, no problem," said Wally, a Packers fan staying up in Richardson we found grabbing a drink at City Tavern. They left the car at the Park and Ride up north earlier today and hopped on the train. I told him he should share his tale of riding the public transpo with Dallasites, many of whom I suspect don't even know the train goes to Richardson. Wally and his fellow cheesehead travelers got in last night around 9, just before the snow hit: "We were really lucky." They couldn't wait to get to downtown to see the action, and so they hit the streets early this morning.

Bar stools were hard to come by at Walt Garrison's Rodeo Bar, the Adolphus Hotel's lower-rent watering hole, which we found packed with Packers fans and Towelettes alike -- not to mention a team of ticket scalpers with cell phones glued to their ears.

A trio of die-hard Packer fans -- one of whom even owns stock in the team -- found three coveted bar stools and had struck up a conversation with a vocal Steelers gal by the time we saddled up to a tall table. Cindy, Stacy and Phyllis flew in from Green Bay yesterday, no delays at all. They were even happy to humor Pittsburgh Deb, who drove 25 hours with her son to Dallas for the game. Deb, for her part, was doing all she could to assure anyone who would listen, and that graciously included the Packer Trio, that Ben Roethlisberger is not, in fact, a rapist.

The Super Bowl brings people together, see? If, that is, you're lucky enough to have tickets next to your husband. Which Cindy, the Packers stock owner, did not. "He's way up in the stands," she said. He bought his tickets too late, she said, because she and her friends bought a package deal early.

The phrase on everyone's lips, no doubt much to Sam Merten's chagrin, was, "Are you going to hit the Experience?" As in, the NFL Experience, where Packer Fan Phyllis said she taught some San Diego TV journalists how to make a snow angel. She was the most excited person I'd ever heard exclaim, "My butt's still wet!"

Then there was Marty from Minneapolis, who spotted a couple of big, heavy-coated scalpers as soon as he got to the bar. He says he's been to 30 Super Bowls, and he told me he never buys a ticket beforehand. "It's cheaper to get 'em the day of the game," he said. Marty had a number of economic theories of ticket pricing, the most prominent of which involved Pittsburgh and Green Bay being "blue-collar ticket towns." He figured Packers fans would be happy to come down and party and just shell out $200 for big-screen Cowboys Stadium parking lot tickets, and carpooling Pittsburghers wouldn't be into buying $1,200 game-day tickets anyway.

"The other thing is local interest," he told me, "and Dallas doesn't have that." Locals, he said, would rather stay home and watch in the comfort of their living room -- "Where you can get a hooker and crack!" -- than brave traffic and weather to be at the game. He didn't end up buying the tickets he'd talked to the scalper about today, anyway -- several thousand dollars was the quoted price, and he said he could get 'em cheaper on game day, no problem.

We popped by the Magnolia on the way back to the car, but there was nothing much doing. Once again, I find myself back on Team No Pants, contemplating how wise it would be to pour myself a cup of coffee 'n Wild Turkey before venturing back outside tonight. Wonder where I can get those hookers and crack Marty mentioned?

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