While most of the sports world was gathered in Tampa over the weekend, the top of the Sports Illustrated masthead was left behind to schmooze with the media set Sunday night at the Oak Room at the Plaza. “Our sponsors are having very tough years,” said S.I. editor Terry McDonell. (In flush times, advertisers like General Motors paid for part of a party the night before the game.) “They can’t do it and they shouldn’t do it. It wouldn’t be prudent.”
So which team does the editor of S.I. pull for in a game like this, the Daily Transom wondered?
“There are numerous considerations. One team will make you more money and one will break your heart,” said Mr. McDonell.
Former Harper’s editor Lewis Lapham was pulling for Pittsburgh. “I’d go for it,” Mr. Lapham declared, when the Steelers faced a fourth down on their opening drive. The founder of the historical Lapham’s Quarterly, Mr. Lapham took the long view when the Steelers’ young coach settled for the field goal. “Only the old masters could go for it there,” he sighed.
A few minutes later, when Arizona scored its first touchdown, concert promoter Ron Delsener leapt to his feet with an outstretched glass of red and nearly spilled it on Mr. Lapham.
At halftime, some in the crowd donned 3-D glasses while others ambled from the dining room to the bar. “I hate Bruce Springsteen,” said Page Six editor Richard Johnson as the Boss took the stage. How can you hate the Boss, the Daily Transom asked? “He’s like blue-collar New Jersey or something. I aspire to more than that,” Mr. Johnson said. Then he complimented Mr. Springsteen’s stage acrobatics.
Men’s Health editor Dave Zinczenko said he was rooting for Pittsburgh, given his Pennsylvania roots, but seemed to spend most of the evening in conversation. He laughed after a young woman complimented his recent appearance on Oprah. “It was a childhood obesity special,” he said.
Mr. Zinczenko, whose third volume of his Eat This, Not That! series—books about substituting healthier foods for fattier ones—came out recently, called the buffet’s mix of seafood and sweets “a struggle between good and evil.” “I’m not faring so well tonight,” Mr. Zinczenko admitted.
By the second half, the crowd had thinned and the enthusiasm dampened. Mr. Zinczenko left in the third quarter, blaming an early Today appearance. “I’m going to the dog-and-pony show tomorrow,” he said. Harry Smith of CBS’s Early Show had departed at halftime. WNBC anchor Chuck Scarborough wasn’t far behind; he had the late shift. Former MSNBC commentator Dan Abrams had been walking around with his coat since the first quarter, deflecting questions about his personal life. “I’m only answering questions about the game,” Mr. Abrams said. (He expressed tepid support for the Steelers.)
With such an ambivalent crowd, the Daily Transom wondered what Mr. McDonell thought about the Giants’ chances next year. “I don’t know,” he said. “Depends on who shoots themselves next.”