Monday, February 3, 2014
The Super Bowl: Notes from the Inside
Train stations crammed with sports fans, with temperatures rivaling those in a sauna.
A grandstand at a race track stuffed with rich people, celebrities, food, and a terrible Bon Jovi tribute band.
Floor after floor of $20 cheesesteaks and $14 beer.
An entire section of squawking mad Seahawks fans starting chants every thirty seconds.
THAT...is where I was yesterday.
Yes, the rumors were true. I wasn't joking when I said I had tickets, because why the hell would I joke about going to the Super Bowl??? Nobody DOES that. It's ridiculous.
Because it's all a day later, and the event is still fresh in everyone's minds, I will recall the entire event, from the moment I stepped off the train and saw myself outside MetLife Stadium, immersed in droves of Oranges and Lime Greens.
I was accompanied by my cousin Dylan, who is probably the only person I know who is taller than I am. So imagine two guys in New York Giants jerseys walking through a crowd of mostly Broncos and Seahawks fans. There is where our story begins.
Our first experience of the day was venturing into the long lines and beginning the long ascent into the MetLife stadium bulk. There were lines around lines around lines, and that was outside the main tent. Once we got INTO the tent, there was another 15-20 minutes, and another 4 or 5 people we had to show our tickets to until we got into the security line, and were patted down. Dylan was briefly stopped due to the metal bolts in his feet (basketball injuries), but we managed to get in.
On the way out of the main tent, they had fan towels, for each team. For the Broncos they had a 'Denver Strong' or something. For the Seahawks they had the '#12' towel. We agreed that we'd each take one; I took Seattle and Dylan took Denver. Funny how that worked out.
Right after we got in, we went over to the Tailgate Party, which my mystery contact had gotten us into. The security there wasn't as lavish as getting into Metlife; all it took was to show the passes. The woman that checked off mine saw my Michael Strahan jersey and said "I'm sorry, you're at the wrong Super Bowl', before cracking a smile and checking my pass. Playing the part of a pompous Giants fan increasingly well (though still a Philly fan at heart), I replied "No, I came a year early!"
The Tailgate Party was actually pretty nice. They had the grandstand of the Meadowlands Racetrack all dressed up and filled with lots of food stations, which were much better than the ones in Dallas. I enjoyed the mini crab cakes, the Italian sausage sandwich, and the chicken tacos. While at the party, Dylan and I passed by Hayden Panetierre, who looked a bit bored and uninterested. Come on, smile! Heroes is over, you're on a show with Chip from Whose Line, and you're at the flippin' Super Bowl!
After this, we actually made our way into the stadium. This wasn't as chaotic as I thought, as it consistent of just going up a series of escalators to our seats. Our seats, for your information, were on the 3rd level, and despite being sort of high up, we still had a perfect view of the action, from basically one of the corners of the field. Were they perfect? No, but they were still SEATS at the SUPER BOWL.
Our seats, by the way, were smack in the middle of the Seahawks corner of the high levels. I felt sorry for the poor Broncos fans behind us, who kept trying to drown out the incessant cries of "SEA...HAWKS...SEA...HAWKS" with their own annoying bleating of "LET'S GOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO DEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEFENSE!" Suffice to say, this did not work.
The highlight of the pregame ceremonies was the climax of the National Anthem, which culminated in a dozen helicopters flying over the stadium, flying very close to us, amidst the smoke of the fireworks. It was easily the coolest visual of the night. You could see the people poking their heads out the windows.
The game began soon after that. It was very refreshing to be rooting for the Hawks in this environment, because they just kept biting back. That first play, that safety, was only the beginning. The crowds were untamed, and utterly insane. I'd never been to Seattle, though I can tell you that this fact aided me, as I really didn't WANT to be used to that level of chaos.
These fans reacted to everything. Every reviewed play, ever shit call, everything. They started yelling and screaming when Sherman got injured, and cheered when he came around in the golf cart. They even went nuts before the game at every fan shout-out from a Seahawk.
But the game, in terms of actual gameplay, was actually pretty boring. When one team dominates for the whole game, it can be fun, but if it's the Super Bowl, there's no drama, and it can get kinda boring. Which it did. I was waiting for Bruno Mars to show up throughout most of the 2nd quarter.
And when he did, the whole place went wild. The led lights attached to our hats went wild, sprouting reds and blues all around the field, setting the stage for Mr. Mars' unbelievable performance. I did, however, enjoy the Chili Peppers a bit more, though I wish they would have played something a little less overplayed, like Higher Ground or something. Overall, I was impressed. Better than the Black Eyed Peas.
The rest of the game was the same old stuff. Seahawks scoring, Broncos failing, Hawks fans going "L..O..B....L...O..B..", Broncos fans slowly exiting the stadium in tears. At least they had that one touchdown, though.
Soon after that the game ended, the trophy was presented, and Dylan and I cheered with the Hawks fans still left. We walked back down the escalators we had rode up. We saw the parade of fans deprived of their energy begin their awful train rides back home. Dylan and I parted ways after that- he was catching the train, I had another, safer mode of transportation, which I won't disclose, other than the fact that it has wheels and moves. And no, it wasn't a Segway.
Long story short, I made it home late, got home at 1, and basically had no real reason to go to school today. It also helped that I had a snow day anyway, so there.
So that's my account of the super bowl. It was fun, it was frenzied, it was everywhere, it was worthwhile, it was bombastic.
I don't know if I'll ever go again. But if I do, I'll be sure to share.