Because I have friends who love me a lot I was able to attend the Super Bowl for the first time. As a long time football fan and someone who appreciates the precise nature of the game watching two teams that execute the game with amazing precision and detail was quite a thrill. So here are some first thoughts, last thoughts and miscellaneous thoughts.
My first impression of the whole Super Bowl experience was overwhelming and unapologetic GREED. The fans who week-to-week go to the games, cheer on their teams are mostly an after thought when it comes to the Super Bowl. The face value of a ticket is exorbitant and very difficult to come by. The NFL releases a percentage of tickets to the teams to offer, by lottery, to the season ticket holders. Corporate sponsors like Pepsi, Verizon then can buy up more than their share. Any one else who wants to go must go through a ticket broker. That's where the real greed comes in.
You can purchase a ticket weeks or months before the game from a broker and are told that upon payment you are guaranteed a ticket. What you don't know is that it may not be the ticket you purchased. That's because if the ticket brokers can get a higher price for your ticket it will be sold. So for instance if you purchased a ticket in November for $1000, the broker, who won't release the ticket to you until a day or two before the game, will then sell for a higher price. So when you go to get your ticket the broker tells you that $1000 ticket you purchased on the 50yd line is no longer available and the only one available is a $2500 one on the 20 yd. line. Or much worse. One man, whose young son was a Seahawk fanatic, promised him if the Seahawks made it to the Super Bowl he would take his son. He purchased tickets for $7000 a piece. When he arrived in Phoenix to pick up the tickets the broker told him the only tickets left were for $14,000 a piece. That's price gauging in extremis. The NFL needs to find a way to fix that problem.
The next price shock was parking. Parking in the Stadium lot was $150 unless you wanted to walk three or four miles to the Stadium then you could have paid $60. Once inside the Stadium a bottle of water was $6, a beer was $12; a sandwich and chips set you back for about $22. And of course you can't bring any of those items in to the park yourself because of the security, which was very similar to the process you go through at the airport. But I will say the Stadium staff was exceptionally friendly and helpful and the atmosphere inside the Stadium was exciting and relaxed. One nice feature was that you could send a text to a special number if you were having trouble of any kind. Security personnel would then be sent to deal with a drunk or a fight or whatever needs attention. For someone who went to lots of Eagles Games back east where drunks and fights were non-stop I appreciated that detail. The half-time show was breath-taking in its execution and beauty and I really was glad it was upbeat and happy. Though as I walked around the grounds before the game, lots of rap music was being played and I did not appreciate hearing bitch, "hoe" and dick. The NFL should know it was not a rap kind of crowd.
In terms of the game itself, what a game it was! I am not a fan of either team; I admit I am a schizophrenic Eagles-Cardinals fan, so I didn't have a dog in this fight. But I was seated on the Seattle side with lots of Seattle fans and after the last interception they needed serious psychiatric care. But during the National Anthem, when the fan-a-vision screen showed a shot of the Patriots coach there was a loud boo from the Seattle side. I turned to the guy next to me and said that's bad, might come back to haunt you. Karma?
Speaking of seats, our seats were moved from the 50 yd. line, which ticked off my friend who purchased them. But we ended up on the 10yd. line and had a perfect view of those last two plays. So you see things work out in ways you can't imagine.
For both teams things did work out in a way that neither could have imagined. Which brings me to my final point. Don't make a bad call at the end. Football and sport is but an imitation of life. I have witnessed too many people make a really bad call because they forgot their strengths and the things, like hope, faith and courage that could have gotten them over the goal line. As a result they loose their marriages, affection of their children, respect for themselves and sometimes their life itself. Always remember what team you play on and who is our Coach. Christian is our team and our victory chant is Alleluia!
Love, Fr. John B.