When I got up to stadium I finally realized what the hype was all about. Now I’m not a complete idiot, obviously the Super Bowl is a big deal. I expected long lines and a ridiculous amount of people to be around. One thing was definitely missing though. Tailgating. For whatever reason Jerry Jones and the NFL didn’t want anyone tailgating in the stadium parking lots. Most of the areas were fenced off for the dozens of production trucks and satellite dishes. Not a huge deal, but my biggest complaint prior to the game was trying to find someone who I could ask where I had to go. From what I understood there were 4 main gates to enter the stadium. But I had to find a private entrance for the NFL Tailgate Party. I walked around for what seemed like forever before I finally heard some dude yelling into a megaphone about the party. Finally I found my destination.
Now most people in attendance at the Super Bowl complained about the ridiculously long lines and having to go through security once or twice. My line wasn’t too bad. It took me about 45 minutes to get up to security. I was sort of amazed that going through security here was just like going through a security line at the airport…and I’m not talking Austin Straubel. After taking everything out of my pockets, a quick pat-down without the complimentary reach-around, and I was good to go.
When I met up with Don, Jason LaCanfora’s buddy who I would be sitting with, we both were in the same boat. He wasn’t going to be drinking a lot because he was partied out, and I wasn’t going to drink because I didn’t want to be running to the bathroom every 10 minutes. We walked around for a bit and became acclimated with the setup. I was in complete awe of this place. Easily the largest tent I have ever seen. It was incredible. They had at least 15 to 20 different bars set up where you could get beer or any type of mixed drink you wanted…for free. We made our way to the stage where Keith Urban was playing. Now I’m not the biggest country music fan in the world, but this was pretty damn cool. It got me a little pumped up and in the mood, so I decided to break down and have a couple of beers. I couldn’t pass this up. After Keith Urban got done playing Don and I made our way around to check out the food situation. This again was amazing. There were countless food booths set up and you could just walk up and help yourself. Again, for free. We were both in heaven.
As a side note, while we were walking around we ran into Adam Duritz, lead singer of the Counting Crows. Ironic thing about that is earlier in the week he had Tweeted that he was going to be in Dallas to cheer on fellow Cal Bear, Aaron Rodgers. I sent him a Tweet saying “And I will see you down there and will get a picture with you”. Sure enough. I did just that. (Proof coming in the next post, which will have numerous pictures of the weekend)
Around 4pm we finally made our way into Cowboys Stadium. Don and I both wanted to get in early enough so we could find our seats and watch some of the pregame. Good decision. The place was absolutely packed inside. Now I didn’t realize it until we got inside, but our tickets were for club seats. The club seat concourse was pretty swank. I said it before, but it was nicer than most restaurants or hotels that we have in Green Bay. I know, that’s not saying much. I thought the biggest benefit of being in the club seats was having not having a line for the bathrooms. It was magnificent. Unlike Lambeau Field, we had zero wait.
Fast forward to just before kickoff, and after Christina Aguilera botched the National Anthem, and it was finally hitting me. I looked at Don and said “I could f–king puke right now!” He was a little worried that I actually was, but I held it back. I was more nervous for that than anything in my life. It was an odd feeling.
Much like the Packer and Steelers, I need the first few series to calm my nerves as well. But suddenly all hell broke loose. When Aaron Rodgers hit Jordy Nelson for the 1st score of the game I lost it. Every Packer fan around me got a hug and/or a high-five from me whether they wanted it or not. Personal highlight for me: they played Todd Rundgren’s hit “Bang On The Drum” after the TD. And then, out of nowhere it seemed, the Packers scored again. This time on Nick Collins’ beautiful interception return for a touchdown. 14-0 Packers? I was going so crazy at this point you would have thought the game was over. In my head I was thinking “Dagger? Already?”. But that wasn’t to be…obviously.
By halftime I was sweating like a pig because I was so fired up/nervous. I walked around the stadium concourse for a bit to get some fresh air. In the concourse I ran into my buddies Billy Duranceau from Green Bay and Bobby Kraft from Milwaukee. Talked with them for a bit and tried to make plans to meet up after the game (which didn’t work out). I got back to my seats just as Slash was coming out with the Black Eyed Peas. The halftime show was pretty cool to see. 1,000 dancers on the field in these crazy suits that lit up was awesome to see. I know a lot of people thought the halftime show sucked, but I thought it sounded fairly decent.
The 2nd half was a little nerve-racking. Packers started off with a punt then the Steelers scored a TD. Packers punted again, and then the Steelers kicked a field goal. It was 21-17 going into the 4th quarter and the puking sensation was back. After being up 21-3 to start the game I though this game was in the bag. I should have known better. Thankfully Aaron had enough faith in Jordy that he kept going back to him on crucial downs. And luckily for us Packers fans Jordy came up huge.
After Mason Crosby kicked his only field goal of the day I went into super quiet mode. I could barely stand to watch the Steelers final possession. I sat in my chair and rocked back and forth because I couldn’t handle it. I could not take my eyes off of Ben Roethlisberger as he dropped back to pass.
1st and 10…pass complete to Heath Miller for a 1st down. No big deal.
1st and 10..pass completed to Hines Ward for 5 yards. Okay, clock is running….tick, tick, tick, tick.
2nd and 5…Ben drops back and throws an incomplete pass. Okay…that’s alright. Clock is stopped, but at least 3rd down is coming up.
3rd and 5…Ben drops back to throw again. Oh my God. It’s incomplete. 4th down coming up.
Now at this point I could not be silent anymore. I made sure every single Packer fan in my section was standing up and screaming as loud as they could. I was not going to go out with my hands on my lap and not making a noise.
“Fourth down and five, ball on the thirty-three”. Holy crap. By the way, that puking sensation…yeah it was back.
As Roethlisberger dropped back to pass on 4th down I just stood there. This time I wasn’t watching him. This time I was looking downfield. From my vantage point I could see the entire field and what the coverage looked like. As I realized everyone was covered I scanned back to Big Ben, he was going to throw. He threw it in the direction of Mike Wallace and the pass was incomplete. Tramon Williams was there on the coverage and knocked the ball away from Mike Wallace! Hell yes!
Then it hit me. The Green Bay Packers just won the Super Bowl. If you were wearing green and gold at this point, you were getting another hug from me. As the team rushed the field I couldn’t help but think about my pops. Super Bowl Sunday (February 6th) was his birthday. I wished he could have been there with me to witness this unbelievable experience. He was the one that took me to my first number of games. He was the one that gave me the green light to ride my bike to Lambeau Field every day in the Summer when I was just 10 years old. He was the one who helped mold me to become the Packers fan that I am today. And for the record, I sat in my seat and cried like a little baby as the confetti was raining down on the field. I couldn’t help it, and nor did I care. I guarantee I wasn’t the only one with tears in their eyes. I stood there and watched the players celebrate and it dawned on me. I needed to get down to the 1st level.
I ran out of my section and found the nearest stairwell. I cruised downstairs, past security guards yelling at me, and made my way to Section 110. I was looking for my friend Pat Hoeft. I knew he was down there somewhere. Finally saw him and gave him the biggest hug ever. At this point I was so happy to be celebrating with someone who I knew. We did it.
Super Bowl Champion. It has such a beautiful ring to it, doesn’t it?