This years NFL Super Bowl is almost here: The Carolina Panthers vs the Denver Broncos… a tough match-up. But aren’t they all? Last year’s debut starred the New England Patriots and the Seattle Seahawks. If anyone knows me, they know I’m from Boston, my fiance is obsessed with anything related to sports, and that New England sports fans are intense.
Now, you all can relive the story of Carl’s once in a lifetime experience at the Super Bowl last year (I have relived the story many times – I promise, it’s a good one!).
Eva: Tell us about when you decided you would go to the Super Bowl!
Carl: As the score became one-sided in the second half of the AFC Championship game (one game before the Super Bowl) between the New England Patriots and Indianapolis Colts in January 2015, I booked a flight to Phoenix for the Super Bowl – without a game ticket. I just felt I needed to go to the game, so I was onto Arizona for the Patriots versus the Seahawks.
University of Phoenix Stadium in Glendale, Arizona was the venue for the game – a huge stadium and one that had hosted the Big Game before. Having been to dozens of sports stadiums, I would rate this in the upper tier as far as football venues go. It wasn’t as nice as Cowboys Stadium, but it was worlds better than some of the aging NFL venues. The one knock would be the concourses seemed dark and a bit narrow, but the seats, playing surface, dome, and look were top notch.
E: What made you want to go to the Super Bowl last year?
C: Being a lifelong Patriots fan and fully appreciating the greatness the team has accomplished for 15 years, I was not about to let this opportunity pass me by. Of course, this is the sixth Super Bowl the team had been in since 2001, but this one made sense for me. Maybe it was because I felt I could monetarily swing it, or because I really thought they were going to win. I am sure both were subliminal factors.
E: So, did you end up getting a ticket?
C: Immediately after booking my plane ticket to AZ, I copy and pasted a text to dozens of people in my network with something along the lines of “I am heading to AZ for the game, looking for one ticket, and my budget is $__; keep me in mind if you see anything!”
Eight days went by, and the Monday before the game I received a call from a very close friend of mine who could get me a seat – at face value! Keep in mind face value was $800, but the get in price for the game was approaching five digits (>$10,000).
E: Where were your seats?
C: The seats were very solid and a vantage point I have come to truly love for an NFL game – elevated corner – where you have a great vantage point of the action. Section 435 was home for the game, but the fourth level was not super high up, as the tiers elevated gradually at University of Phoenix stadium.
To be frank, I would have nearly sat behind a pole to be in the stadium, so the seat was perfect!
E: How was the halftime show?
C: I’m not a halftime show kind of guy to begin with, but with the Patriots giving up a big score before the half I was not about to sit through Katy Perry’s performance (and the left shark). I spent the time in the concourse catching up with a friend.
E: What was the most exciting part of the game for you?
C: Easy one. Malcolm Butler’s interception in the last play of the game to seal the victory for the Patriots – not only the most exciting play of this game, but perhaps any Super Bowl. Keep in mind, this came just after one of the most improbably catches you’ll ever see to even put the Seahawks in position to win the games. Stomaches were churning, and emotions were turning! Quite the ending…
E: What other things did you do in Arizona while you were there?
C: The night before the Super Bowl we went out in Old Town Scottsdale (where everyone else in town for the game seemed to be). We ran into Nelly at one of the clubs too!
Day of the game, my friend was able to get me into a tailgate which was next to the stadium in the Westgate Entertainment District – a series of bars and restaurants next to the football field and also the arena where the NHL’s Phoenix Coyotes play – Gila River Arena. Three time Super Bowl Champion Terry Bradshaw was the keynote speaker – a very matter of fact guy!
E: Any other tips for those attending the game?
C: Four tips come to mind.
- Bring/get a lanyard for your ticket. It’s an expensive one and you probably want to save it later on!
- Get into the stadium very early. Security was off the hook, so it made sense to head in well ahead of time.
- Underrated, but buy the $20 radio they sell at all Super Bowls. It allows you to listen to the TV or radio broadcast which provided great context in such a hectic game.
- The game, the lead up, and everything involved was a spectacle. It was different than any other game I’ve attended. Take it all in – it is quite the production.
Whether it’s the Super Bowl or any event/venue – tackle your bucket list head on! This blog is about traveling and following your desires. Don’t let opportunities pass you by. Do what you want to do.
Hope you all enjoyed Carl’s take on Super Bowl XLIX. He’s a pretty lucky guy! Doesn’t it make you want to cross off items on your bucket list?