MIAMI — “The second we stepped off the plane in Miami, you could feel the electricity from the Big Game in the air. From the stands selling big game merchandise, to the countless photo ops, it is impossible to ignore the upcoming matchup."
That’s how Chandler Poczciwinski, station manager of WSBU-FM, St. Bonaventure University’s campus radio station described the scene in Miami, where the Kansas City Chiefs and the San Francisco 49s will square off on Sunday.
Poczciwinski is one of six St. Bonaventure students who made the trek to the Sunshine State for the festivities leading up to Sunday’s game. The others are Isaiah Blakley, Joe Ceraulo, Sarah Dezio, Nic Rohloff and Steve Wilt,
The students wasted no time prepping for the week ahead, starting work on the flight from Buffalo to Miami. They conversed across aisles and used encoded hand singles to book an impressive list of guests that includes former NFL quarterbacks Ryan Leaf and Jeff Garcia, as well as sports talk legend Christopher “Mad Dog” Russo.
Things took an unexpected turn when Blakley checked his phone and saw the shocking news that Hall of Fame NBA superstar Kobe Bryant had died in a helicopter crash. The young journalists' heads spun as they instinctively began to check facts and search for more details.
“Today was supposed to be an exciting day until it took a sad turn,” Blakley said. “I wasn’t connected to the WiFi on the plane yet. I got a notification from Twitter reporting Bryant’s death, and I just couldn’t believe it.”
As other passengers learned the news, the atmosphere changed from festive to somber. Whispers of “Did you see this?” flooded the air until a tweet from 1991 St. Bonaventure graduate Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) confirmed the tragic news.
“After experiencing the unspeakable shock of Bryant’s passing, as well as the passing of his daughter Gianna and the others who passed, the thought of smiling again today never crossed our minds,” Ceraulo said. “That changed, briefly, when we ran into some colleagues at the airport.”
Upon grabbing their bags, The Buzz team was greeted by the entire Barstool Sports crew making their way into Miami. This foreshadowed the week. From here on out, talented and celebrity superstars will be everywhere.
“It’s the people who you run into,” Wilt said. “That’s what really blows you away.”
With rumors that Snoop Dogg, Martha Stewart, Dan Marino, Micheal Irvan and other celebrities are in town, the week ahead promises to be topical, fun and entertaining.
Isaiah Blakley, Joe Ceraulo, Chandler Poczciwinski and Steve Wilt compiled this article. They will be filing daily reports from Radio Row in Miami all week and broadcasting live on WSBU-FM at player.listenlive.co/37351 on Monday from 2 to 4 p.m. and Tuesday through Friday from 2 to 6 p.m.