Last Year we were at the Super Bowl
Contrary to popular belief, there are people who win contests, not just some made-for-TVcheering and screaming rubes. My wife is one of those people; last year she won the Burger King Bobble Head Bowl sweepstakes (yes, there is such a beast). It was on a Saturday a couple of weeks before the big game when the FedEx package arrived. Normally Saturday FedEx packages are contracts for me to review, but this one had my wife’s name on it. And it was full of contracts. My wife does enter tons of contests, but for her to open an envelope with several pages worth of T’s&C’s was a little intimidating. I said “Looks like you won something,” in the understatement of the year. She maintained low expectations over the surface of crazed excitement. “Naw, it’s probably nothing. Look, it says you may have won.” But it actually said you’ve won it you get these documents notarized that you don’t work for Burger King or any of the other establishments organizing this contest. We spent Sunday trying to find a notary (which you cannot do on a Sunday). Monday, we shipped the documents back, called the phone numbers on the contracts, and verified that, yes, she had indeed won airfare, hotel and tickets to the big game.
I spent the rest of the week making sure my wife took me and not some gal-pal. After some heavy groveling, I was successful. I am a basketball and rugby fan, with long-time allegiances toward the Packers when it comes to the NFL. But you can’t say no to a chance to see one of the world’s major sporting events.
We flew to Miami the Thursday before the game, and were met at the airport by not only a limo but a representative to give us the all important tickets. They were certainly nose-bleed seats, but we weren’t complaining. They put us up at the swanky Westin Diplomat in Hollywood, Florida, where my only complaint was the jacked up price of the martinis…other than that, it was a great place. Our first night there, drinking said expensive martinis in the lobby, my wife asked the timely question “where are the celebs?”. We saw an approaching entourage, and in the middle wasn’t a rock or movie star, it was Jimmy Johnson, hair perfectly in place. In typical fashion, I waved with my wife shushing me…Jimmy waved back, with the people in his entourage wondering who I was (just me, dudes!). There was a party across the street on a yacht that we did some people watching at but it was boring…so we can back to the hotel lobby, grabbed a coffee. As we were walking out, Jerry Rice walked in, making an orange shirt and green shorts look better than I thought was possible for a guy. “Hey, Jerry! How’s it going?” I said. Jerry smiled, big and genuine. “Great!”. He headed for the coffee bar. My wife was squeezing my hand off. “Is that Jerry Rice? IS THAT JERRY RICE?” “Yes, dear. He almost won Dancing with the Stars. Shall we go back and get a picture?” “No, that would be embarrassing. You already talked to him.”
My limited guy-brain still hasn’t figured that one out.
The remainder of the pre-game festivities was taken up by a trip to local casinos, and dinner with my friend Mike and his wife. Mike had scored tickets to the game from a local vendor, so we were going to meet up at the pre-game festivities.
The day of the Super Bowl dawned cloudy and overcast, with a chance of rain.
As usual, the weather forecasters were wrong…it rained buckets.
We got on the bus to go to the stadium for the pre-game party at 10:30am, and it rained the entire way there. The bus driver saved us by retrieving disposable rain gear and handing it out.
We got off the bus and entered the private, sponsors only pre-game party. The pre-game party was pure American gluttony at its finest! Free food, free drinks, free back massages (!?!), plus Chris Issak and Stevie Nicks as entertainment. It was great, and it was dry (partially covered, plus a break in the weather).
Part way through, my buddy Mike calls and says REO Speedwagon is about to perform on the non-private side. So we got our wrist tags and headed over. Talk about culture shock! The private corporate side had everything free, mostly a “controlled” environment. The public side was muddy, expensive and rocking, with drunk Bears and Colts fans singing in the rain. We found Mike, watched the 50+ year old members of REO rock out for a while, then headed back for some more free food before heading into the stadium.
Not being Colts or Bears fans, we thought the game might be anti-climatic. We were wrong, it was exciting. From the opening entertainment (including the Air Force jets that, because of the clouds you couldn’t see until they were right on top of us), to the opening kickoff run back for a touchdown (which I caught on a shaky video linked here and embedded below), to Prince actually playing in the rain (I had bet that he would puss out), to the final gun…it was great to be there. Bears fans on the left singing through almost the entire game, even when their team got down; Colts fans on the right yelling for Eli’s older brother! It rained almost the entire time; my awesome wife was freezing but refused to leave when I offered to get her back to the hotel. I highly recommend that everyone have their wife win a Super Bowl contest and then take them along!
Also published on Medium.