I helped cover Super Bowl XXX for the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. Jan. 28, 1996. Dallas 27, Steelers 17. I mostly did ***t work, but it was a fun week in Tempe, Az.
Not long before the game, I got a call from my close friend, pro wrestler Brian Pillman. He was a free agent, and trying to get publicity any way he could.
It was 2 or 3 o’clock in the morning. That’s when Brian usually called.
Brian (conspiratorially): “I’ve got an idea. You’re covering the Super Bowl, right?”
Me (hesitatingly): “Uh…yeah.”
Brian (enthusiastically): “You give me your press pass. I sneak onto the field and chain myself to the goalpost during the game. Can you imagine the attention that would get?”
Me (disbelievingly): “Uh…what?”
Brian (voice hits crescendo): “It’d be GREAT! National TV! It’d be on every ***king network! All over the papers! Everybody would see the Loose Cannon!” (Maniacal cackle.)
Me (regretfully): “It would be great. But I couldn’t cover the game. I’d get fired from my job. I’d probably never work in the business again.”
Brian (resignedly): “Listen…I can’t be the only one making sacrifices.”
Brian was 100 percent serious. He investigated other methods of getting on the field. None panned out.
I left the Post-Gazette by year’s end. If I had it to do over, I’d had given Brian the pass.
Brian passed away on Oct. 5, 1997. He was 35. I miss him and think about him every day. Being in his orbit is one of my life’s great experiences.
Brian’s son, Brian Jr., is carrying on his dad’s legacy with All Elite Wrestling. He’s doing terrific. I anticipate he will rise to the pinnacle of his father’s profession.
Note to Brian Jr.: Hey, kid…if I ever get a pass to the Super Bowl again, get yourself a chain and padlock. It’s all yours.