Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Super memories

As I sat through all the Super Bowl pre-game build-up (it started at 10 a.m.) and the game Sunday evening (it started at 5:30 p.m.), I must admit, I was a little saddened by the Arizona Cardinals losing to the Pittsburg Steelers, but I couldn’t help but think back on the previous 42. I was fortunate in my sportswriter days to attend Super Bowls VIII in Houston , IX in New Orleans and XXVIII in Atlanta . I’ve watched them all on television dating back to the first one after I returned back to the states from Viet Nam in 1969. I later got to personally meet Super Bowl I MVP Max McGee. I never dreamed I would get to go to three of them.

Oh, before I forget, when I met McGee I asked him if a scene I saw in the movie involving Vince Lombardi was based on a true event. Lombardi was just taking over the helm of the Green Bay Packers and he stood in front of the Packers, and held up a football, saying, “Gentlemen, this is a football …” McGee, well-known for his pranks, interrupted, “Coach, could you slow down some.” The real McGee said, “Yes, indeed, I had to break up the tension somehow.” From then on I was a Max McGee fan, even though he retired shortly after the game.

Back to the Super Bowls ...

VIII (the 8th one) was in Rice Stadium in Houston . I was able to get two press passes and went with a friend of mine. It was really no problem to obtain press passes in those. The NFL was still begging for the media’s attendance. The Miami Dolphins defeated the Minnesota Vikings that cold and foggy day. Tommy Loy, the trumpeter, provided the halftime entertainment. The next one, IX, in New Orleans ’ Tulane Stadium wasn’t a lot different. Again, my friend Steve Yocum and I went. Press passes were still not hard to come by. The Kansas City Chiefs tripped the Dolphins 24-7. Al Hurt and Doc Severinsen, also trumpeters, were the halftime entertainers. By the time XXVIII (No. 28) rolled around in Atlanta ’s Georgia Dome, the media was out in full force. I was able to only get one press pass and probably half the media had to sit high in the Dome. The Cowboys won, 30-13, over the Buffalo Bills. Country singers Travis Tritt, Clint Black and Tanya Tucker all entertained the crowd at halftime and Natalie Cole sang The Star Spangled Banner. I remember the PA announcer saying a special guest was at the game and he was seated on the 50-yard line. It was Stevie Wonder and I secretly thought to myself “Why? This guy is blind and he has a way better seat than us!” Oh, well, Stevie Wonder was a star and I wasn’t.

When Cynthia and I got married, we hosted Super Bowl parties, being the party animals that we were (tongue firmly in cheek). This year we didn’t host one for the first time. Partied out, I guess. I had watched Super Bowl I in Altus, OK, and there was snow on the ground, but here I was, hosting Super Bowl parties or even being lucky enough to attend a few, such as the one in Georgia in a dome. Yep, I, and the Super Bowl, have come a long way.

1 Comments:

At February 3, 2009 at 8:24 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

I guess we're gettin' old John. I didn't go to a Super Bowl party this year either. At least you've gotten to see 3 in person. Maybe I'll get to see one when it comes to Arlington in a couple of years, but it will probably have to be as an usher or a press box worker. I'm sure I won't be able to afford a ticket. - Jim Patterson

 

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