BLOOMINGTON, Minn. — Brandon Graham, Derek Barnett and Dannell Ellerbe walk into a GameStop.
It's not a joke. There's no punchline. That's just what happened Sunday night at the sprawling Mall of America just outside of Minneapolis. The Eagles arrived at their hotel, the Radisson Blu Mall, earlier in the afternoon and were looking for some time to kill. What better way to kill some time than walk around the biggest mall ever. Or buy an Xbox like Corey Clement.
Rookie linebacker Nate Gerry was with the group too. He's actually from South Dakota and grew up about three hours away from the giant mall, so he had been there before. While his more famous teammates were getting stopped for photos, Gerry said he could probably walk through the entire place undetected.
There were plenty of Eagles wandering the mall Sunday night; after all, their hotel and the one the Patriots will stay at are attached. The Patriots won't land in Minnesota until Monday afternoon, so the whole place belongs to the Eagles for a little while.
This year's radio row is in the food court of the mall. Reporters picked up their credentials next to an Anthropologie store. Official NFL merchandise is being sold in a repurposed J. Crew next to the Gap. The entire media circus of the Super Bowl is happening in a mall with a roller coaster and log flume at the center of it.
All last week the Eagles talked about avoiding the distractions of the Super Bowl and the week leading up to it. Go ahead and add shopping and an indoor coaster to that ever-growing list of things to avoid. Although, there are worse trouble players could get in.
Meanwhile, near U.S. Bank Stadium, final preparations are being completed. This giant banner of Nick Foles and Brandon Graham was being put up right next to the stadium a little before the time the Eagles landed.
The big distraction Monday will be media night at Xcel Energy Center in St. Paul. It's going to be a circus. While the Eagles are used to plenty of reporters and cameras in their faces, it's nothing compared to what they're going to see from 10-11 p.m. EST Monday. It's a crazy event.
The Eagles' media availability Tuesday will be from 1:40 p.m. to 2:30 p.m. EST. Head coach Doug Pederson and 10 players, including Nick Foles, will be available for interviews.
On Wednesday, Pederson, his assistant coaches and players will speak to reporters from 11:15-12:30 p.m. EST. On Thursday, they'll go from 11:15 to 12:30 p.m. again.
After that, all their obligations are fulfilled. Both teams get to focus on the game Friday and Saturday.
Kickoff at U.S. Bank Stadium is at 6:30 p.m. Sunday.