When the New England Patriots take the field Sunday in their Super Bowl LIII matchup against the L.A. Rams, it will mark a sports reporting milestone for a New Hampshire journalist.
Nashua Telegraph reporter Tom King will cover his 10th Super Bowl this weekend. He's covered every Patriots Super Bowl appearance going back to their 1997 loss to the Green Bay Packers in New Orleans. Since then, he's traveled from Houston to Phoenix and now Atlanta, where he's covering Tom Brady and crew in their latest run for the title.
He's been in Atlanta since Tuesday, covering the leadup to the game. During an interview Friday morning on The Exchange, King described how it works in terms of access to the players.
“Everybody has to be made available on the football team; players, coaches. You have instant access for about an hour,” he said. “A prominent player like Tom Brady will speak in a press conference setting, and then right after that, all the players come out into a ballroom area and there are tables set up, almost like a wedding. You have a sheet that tells you where those players are going to be. You go over, put your tape recorder down, and start talking.”
King says it’s been an amazing run for the team, but especially in the last few years. This weekend’s Super Bowl marks the team’s third straight appearance.
“Even during their heyday the previous decade, they never went to three in a row. So this is a little bit of a change. You get spoiled.”
He praised the Nashua Telegraph for putting the resources toward sending him to the game whenever the Patriots have been in it. He's filing updates to nashuatelegraph.com.
King said the Super Bowl experience has changed over time.
“Twenty two years ago when I did my first one, it was nowhere near where this is now. Yes, there was a lot of media, but nothing like this. You have media from all over the world at this game. You walk through the city, and there are tall buildings with Super Bowl logos on them.”
He said fans will likely start arriving Friday from Los Angeles and New England, but he also described the game as a “corporate event,” with tickets and hotel prices more than most fans can afford. He added that it’s an event the host city needs to capitalize on, otherwise it’s a failure.
“It’s all about dollars for the city that is hosting it. It brings in a lot of money. If your city gets one, you’re probably going to plan two or three years ahead of time after it’s been named on how you can capitalize on it.”
As for the game itself? His predicts the Patriots will take home their sixth Lombardi Trophy, defeating the Rams 35-31.
“But these games are really tough to predict. I’m just throwing that out there because who last year would have been able to predict the Eagles would have been able to do what they did, and Nick Foles do what he did to the Patriots. They just shredded them. Defensively, the Patriots had no answer. I expect that to be a little different this year. I think they’ll have more of an answer for this Rams offense.”