Above: Live from from the Wip Philadelphia radio table at the Mall of America, former Eagles Ike Reese and Tra Thomas banter with hometown listeners about the Super Bowl.
 
A crush of football fans have descended on the Mall of America in search of their football heroes, celebrities and a little bit of Super Bowl hype.
 
A big draw is the hundreds of media outlets from around the world that have set up shop in the north end of the gigantic mall. Fans circle the pop-up network booths and what’s known as “Radio Row,” where football players — past and present — along with a few celebrities sit down for media interviews. 
 
“I wanted to be part of the Super Bowl experience,” said Dan Buschow of Minneapolis. At 6-foot-6, he towers over most of the crowd, enabling him to capture photos and videos of the famous and those he thinks might be.
 
“When I see a big guys, I think he’s likely a player, especially if he has some beef to him,” Buschow said.  “I just saw Dan Marino.”
 
Nearby, fans shouted out the name of the former Miami Dolphin quarterback in hopes of getting his attention and a photo.
 
Shalondra Dominque of Mississippi maneuvered her phone’s camera to catch her own shot of Marino. She’s not much of a football fan, but while in the Twin Cities on a business trip, her husband directed her to the Mall of America in search of his football heroes. Her Marino photo will be one more her husband will add to his “man cave.”
 
A moment later, fans whooped and clapped. Dominque aimed her camera and got another photo.
She had no idea who she was looking at. But he must someone, she said. “I’ll have to ask my husband.”
 
For the broadcasters on the other side of the ropes inside of “Radio Row,” the extravaganza is just as exciting.  “I’m crazy about sports so sports broadcasting is my toy store,” said Bob Gelb with WFAN in New York.
 
A few tables down, Philadelphia sports talk show host Jon Marks and former Eagles Ike Reese and Tra Thomas bantered back and forth for fans back home. 
“You get to Thursday and you’re ready to play the game,” Reese said into his microphone on his headset. 
 
“The pre-game obligations with radio, television and print interviews is exhausting. You answer the same question over and over,” he said. “Practices and team meetings are a safe haven from having to answer questions.”
But this is what the players and fans aspire to all year, said Marks during a break in his show. I’ll certainly remember this for the rest of my life.”

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