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Maybe We Should Have Applied For That Super Bowl Credential After All

For its paltry recent football tradition, Duke has sent a surprisingly respectable contingent to the Super Bowl in recent years. 2008 graduate Patrick Bailey will line up on special teams for the Pittsburgh Steelers Sunday—so, too, will the Arizona Cardinals' Ben Patrick, who started at Duke and finished his career at Delaware—while Chicago Bears long-snapper Patrick Mannelly* represented his alma mater in the 2007 Super Bowl.

*The last three players to represent Duke in the Super Bowl have Patrick in their names. This is strange. Note to David Cutcliffe: Start recruiting more kids named Patrick.

Every time a Duke alumnus makes it to the Super Bowl, The Chronicle inevitably talks about sending a reporter to the game. And every time it happens, we always realize that we've missed the credential deadline by a few months. No matter, we tell ourselves. A lowly college newspaper's credential request wouldn't have been approved, anyway.

Except this year, we might have had a chance to send a reporter down to Tampa for the biggest stage in American sports, because credential requests for the Super Bowl were down for the first time anyone could remember, Editor & Publisher's Joe Strupp reported Wednesday. The Super Bowl received (only) 4,589 requests for credentials this year, compared to 4,786 last year, and consequently, approved just 576, down from 633 to last year's game.*

*The percentage of requests approved, by that math, dropped slightly. Which means that the process was more selective than ever this year. Which gives us little reason to write this post, except for the fact that the topic intrigues us, and maybe it will interest you, too. Also, we like the idea of italicizing asides, a la Joe Posnanski.

Strupp identifies two major reasons for the dip in requests: The economic crisis, which has hit newspapers especially hard, has hindered some media outlets' ability to send reporters to a national event, and there is no overriding story line like there was last year, when the New England Patriots were playing for an undefeated season.

If only we had known back on Nov. 26, the application deadline, that Bailey's Steelers would make the Super Bowl.We would have at least asked better questions than this guy.

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