Travel Back Thursday: Old Mile High Stadium

hokoglowko, Flickr

With tonight’s Ravens vs. Broncos season opener, it only seemed fitting to find a throwback photo of the Denver Broncos, years ago. This shot, taken roughly 17 years ago in 1996, shows the Broncos playing on their old “home turf” at Mile High Stadium. The stadium was demolished in 2002.

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Baltimore Ravens Vs. Denver Broncos — 48 Hours In Their Hometowns

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The Baltimore Ravens and Denver Broncos play their season opener tonight (8:30 p.m. ET, in case you weren’t sure). Fans will be flooding the stadium in Denver, and for those who can’t catch the next flight to Colorado, a local bar with the game on will do just fine, too.

Our friends at MapQuest Discover have found the must-visit bars, restaurants and venues should you find yourself in Baltimore or Denver this season.

Check out:

NFL Road Trips On New Travel Channel Show

NFL road trips

NFL road trips are the subject of a new Travel Channel show: “NFL Road Tested,” premiering in December. The new show brings an inside look at what it takes to move an NFL football team from city to city. While the show will focus on how to go about feeding, clothing and housing the team, it will also look at how NFL stadiums prepare for thousands of fans.

“This show will offer viewers a great perspective of the inner-workings of an NFL team and what it takes to support a team,” Jimmy Haslam, Browns owner, said in a statement reported by Broadcasting & Cable. “With Travel Channel working alongside NFL Films and RIVR Media, we expect that this will be first-class production. We are excited about what this will mean to Northeast Ohio, the Browns and our fans.””NFL Road Tested: The Cleveland Browns” premieres December 4 at 10 p.m. following the Browns as they prepares to play in New York, Baltimore, Dallas, Oakland, Denver and Pittsburgh.

“This series is a first-of-its-kind program providing an exclusive pass to NFL fans during the season,” said Andy Singer, general manager of the Travel Channel. “This is an emotionally-charged world. Now, viewers will get a never-before-seen opportunity to see what it’s like for players to live on the road, often away from their families. We’ll hear from the players themselves, coaches and scores of support staff in multiple cities.”

The NFL has fans everywhere it seems so this show looks to be a natural. This video shows us more:


[Photo Credit: Flickr User beefy_n1]

Touring Dallas Cowboys Stadium during Super Bowl XLV Media Day

cowboys stadium

Super Bowl XLV. It was most certainly one for the record books. Well over 100,000 people flowed into Cowboys Stadium in the heart of North Texas to watch two of the NFL’s most storied teams do battle. The Green Bay Packers and Pittsburgh Steelers put on an amazing spectacle, and I was able to take part in one small way. I made my way into Arlington for Super Bowl Media Day — a frenzied event that saw over 1,000 credentialed media crowd the field for their chance to interview their favorite players and coaches. Two of the league’s most historic teams, both on the field of the newest, most awe-inspiring stadium in the NFL. It was a spectacular scene, and a journey I won’t ever forget. The good news for you is that even though the Super Bowl is over, Cowboys Stadium remains open for business.

How so, you ask? The team has set up a program for tourists, locals and curious fans alike to actually take a tour of the new Cowboys Stadium. Tours are given seven days a week, with two primary options for entry. Of course, a general tour won’t involve speaking to players of the Packers or Steelers, but it will involve a thorough walkthrough of the NFL’s most astounding and technologically advanced venue. Read on to catch a glimpse of what you’ll see should you make the trip down (or up!).

%Gallery-116470%Aside from the fact that players were on the field and more willing than ever to sign an autograph rather than answer yet another question directly related to sports, a normal Cowboys Stadium tour isn’t too different than a Super Bowl Media Day tour. I was granted access to a special side entrance as well as a rear conference room, a look at the technology that powers the stadium (more on that angle here and here) and field-level access to the players, but other than that, my experience would pretty much mimic yours.

cowboys stadium

My first suggestion would be to splurge on the VIP Tour. If you make the trip over to Arlington, it’s worth the $10 per person upcharge to get a legitimate VIP experience. This runs $27.50 for adults (or $20 per person with a group of 20+ people), or $22.50 for children and seniors. The cheaper self-guided tour lacks the insider knowledge that the VIP Tour provides, giving you full access to the Pro Shop, field, locker rooms, Miller Lite Club and the post-game interview room. There are Tour Guides stations in each area to answer your questions, but the VIP Tour goes above and beyond. With that, you’ll begin at the Main club and then tour a private suite, the radio / print media press boxes, the Cotton Bowl offices, the Dr. Pepper Star Bar and the Ford Motor Company Fountain.

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Following those stops, a guide will take you down to the event level where you’ll see all of the stops on the Self-Guided Tours. Afterwards, you’ll end the tour in the Pro Shop where you’ll get a complimentary 6- x 8-inch photo to remember the experience. Like I said, the $10 upcharge seems justified.

cowboys stadium

As for my experience? It was outstanding. The 72- x 160-foot Mitsubishi Electric HD display hanging from the roof is truly a sight that has to be seen to be believed. It’s an expansive place — the roof can be opened up if the weather is nice, and it’s very obvious just how new this place is. Being able to get on the field holds even more meaning now that the Packers and Steelers have christened it with a Super Bowl, and for fans of the NFL (or sports in general), it’s a breathtaking experience. You really can’t judge just how huge the place is until you’re there. I kept wishing that I could actually return for a game after being on the field with legendary players, and there’s no doubt that this tour will get you hooked and hoping to come back for more. There looks to be hardly a bad seat in the house, and from a tech perspective, there’s plenty to appreciate. Over 800 wireless routers are there to provide reliable internet access through games (for those who like to tweet or upload images / videos of the action), and there have been improvements made in wireless cellphone coverage for similar reasons.

cowboys stadium

During my tour, I also learned of things to come from Cowboys CIO Pete Walsh and systems architects from CDW. The organization is hoping to tie a good deal of technology into future events. Things like iPhone apps for ordering food (and potentially having it delivered to your seat based on GPS), real-time statistics and on-demand replays on your phone or tablet. These guys are gunning for “the ultimate fan experience,” and it shows. They’ve got the perfect venue to provide that, and if you’re halfway through a cross-country road trip, why not make a day to tour the NFL’s most technologically advanced stadium? Have a look at my tour in the images throughout to get a feel for what you’d get to see, and then head here to book a time and day that fits your schedule.

Omni Chicago Hotel offers special rates for Bears, Packers playoff game

chicago hotel nfl Everyone is gearing up for Sunday’s big game, especially Chicago hotels! We already brought you news about the Ritz-Carlton, Dallas‘, month-long Super Bowl promotions and the Chicago Kimpton’s four hotel deals for this weekend’s game. Now the Omni Chicago Hotel is joining the team and giving travelers a sweet deal for the playoffs.

The Omni Chicago Hotel, Michigan Avenue’s only all-suite hotel, is offering travelers heading to the Windy City for Sunday’s game a “Green Bay Bundle” — a two-night stay where the second night is free of charge should Green Bay triumph over Chicago. The promotion also includes a $50 food and beverage credit.

To sweeten the deal, Bill Bennett, director of sales and marketing for the Omni Chicago Hotel, Windy City native and die hard Chicago fan, has agreed to wear a Green Bay jersey and the iconic “cheesehead” hat if Green Bay wins.

The “Green Bay Bundle” package is available on January 21, 22 and 23 only, has limited availability and can be booked on a first come, first serve basis. The rate is $179.00 per night with a free second night should Green Bay win.