Minnesota's only other Super Bowl in 1992 also was the first and only time a woman handled the Vince Lombardi trophy presentation. More than 25 years later, famed sportscaster Lesley Visser was back in the state signing copies of her new memoir, "Sometimes You Have to Cross When It Says Don't Walk," at the Mall of America ahead of Super Bowl LII. The longtime CBS Sports reporter, who started in 1974 at the Boston Globe and remembered having to wait in parking lots for quotes before women gained equal access to locker rooms, shared some thoughts ahead of her 35th Super Bowl with the Star Tribune's Megan Ryan:
Q What was it like in Minneapolis for that first Super Bowl?
A It was so great. I was actually in Minneapolis so much because the Final Four was here, the World Series, then the Super Bowl. … [The trophy presentation] was quite an honor for me.
Q How has sports journalism changed for women in the field?
A It used to be we all knew each other really well, and what changed is now I don't know half the women. And that's great because that means women are growing up and saying, "I want to do that. I can do that." Whereas when I started, there weren't even ladies' rooms [in press boxes]. … I used to have to plan out where can I get to a public restroom. I always tell the other women that was what I did, I got ladies' rooms for you.
Q How did you come up with the title of your book?
A The title came from when I was 10 years old living in Ohio, and we lived in Cincinnati. At the time, this was the early 60s, women basically were three things: They were teachers or nurses or homemakers. And my mother asked me, "What do you want to be when you grow up?" And I said, "I want to be a sportswriter." And she said, it was very profound, she said, "That's great. Sometimes you have to cross when it says don't walk." That's really powerful because it gave me permission.
Is it so, Joe?
Joe Laurinaitis, the Minnesota-based pro wrestling legend better known as Road Warrior Animal and the father of former Wayzata High School and NFL standout James Laurinaitis, had an interesting perspective on this year's NFL playoffs.
"I wanted the Vikings to win, but I was born and raised in Philadelphia," Joe Laurinaitis said. "I moved here when I was in high school, and I've been here ever since."
Laurinaitis is promoting a new podcast called What A Rush, where he tells stories about the old days of WWE.
On Monday, though, he was focused mostly on football — his first love. Laurinaitis was a standout at Golden Valley Lutheran College and still wonders if he might have been able to have a pro football career under different circumstances.
"There's probably not a more physical form of entertainment aside from playing in the NFL as getting in the wrestling ring," Laurinaitis said.
Instead, he got the next best thing: a long career in pro wrestling and a son, James, who made it to football's top level as a linebacker.
James played eight years in the NFL, seven of them with the Rams, before announcing his retirement last April.
Joe Laurinaitis predicts an Eagles victory in the Super Bowl "if Nick Foles plays like he did against the Vikings." Oh, and one more thing: Are Eagles fans really that bad, Joe?
"Oh, yeah," Laurinaitis said. "When I was a kid, I was one of them."