Super Bowl XLIV Weekend
Sun Life Stadium
Miami Gardens, FL
Colts vs. New Orleans Saints
Super Bowl Stadium
February 7, 2010
31 - 17 Saints
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Stadium Vitals Sun Life
Built: 1987 Stadium Address
Capacity: 76,500 seats 2269 Dan Marino Boulevard
Playing Surface: Natural Grass Miami Gardens, FL 33056
Draft Beer: $7.00 305-623-6100
Hot Dog: $5.00 Get Directions
Stadium Parking: $150.00(Avg)
Stadium Review - Super Sunday
Gameday came quickly, but even after an entire weekend of pregame celebration, I was up at 6:00AM ready to begin Super Sunday. I couldn’t sleep … how could I hope to contain the enthusiasm of a life-long dream finally coming true? Just to frame this appropriately for you, we’re talking about a SuperFan who’s traveled to every stadium in the National Football League, a guy whose chosen mission over the last four years was to truly understand what it’s like to be a fan of every franchise in the NFL … a Buffalo Bills fan who longed to return to the Super Bowl … any Super Bowl at this point. Well, with a ticket in hand for the most popular sporting event in the country (thank you TicketCity.com), one I’d finally accepted that I would never be fortunate enough to afford, there was no way I was getting a good night’s sleep. I found myself parked outside of Sun Life Stadium, Lot Blue 2 at seven in the morning. I was the first fan at the gate and the only fan onsite at the stadium parking lot until about a quarter to ten.
The parking lot itself was scheduled to open at eleven, so I occupied my time setting up the tripod for some early morning photos, basking in what to me was an unseasonal February sunshine, and waiting for others to arrive. By ten thirty, the line had formed behind me and I spent some time talking gameday strategy with the other fans that had collected nearby. My plan for the day was to spend half of the pregame as a Colts fan and the other half as a Saints fan in order to get the full Super Bowl experience. Without a clear cut team to support, I decided to wear my Buffalo Bills, Quest for 31 jersey so as not to pass up any potential PR opportunities during the game itself.
When the lot opened at eleven, I had my choice of parking spots, but with the Super Bowl tailgating ban in effect it really didn’t matter. Fans were asked not to loiter around their vehicles, and with the gameday plaza not scheduled to open until one o’clock, most fans were forced to roam around the stadium like vagrants waiting for the gates to open. As I wandered around, I couldn’t help but notice the intense security measures that were in place for Super Bowl XLIV. Soldiers in bullet-proof vests wielded M-16’s, security personnel and stadium staffers maintained a constant presence on stadium grounds, and metal detectors flanked security lines. Donning my #87 Reggie Wayne, Indianapolis Colts jersey, I took a couple photos got the lay of the land, and soon jetted after that as I’d scored a ticket to the premiere New Orleans Saints pregame tailgate party, but not without a quick wardrobe change first.
The El Palacio Hotel, located about a mile from the stadium was setup as a makeshift gameday headquarters for the New Orleans Saints faithful. Starting early on Sunday morning, Saints fans gathered in the hotel parking lot as Black and Gold themed music blared and preparations were made for the Jay Foster Second Line Celebration. New Orleans Saints insiders will remember the Ocean Springs, Mississippi attorney and longtime Saints season ticket holder from a similar pregame bash he hosted in Chicago as the Saints met the Bears in the 2007 NFC Championship game. A mere $21 prepaid ticket permitted access to the ninth floor party space including a cash bar and brass band led second-line to the Sun Life Stadium just before the game. Jay Foster and Co., hosted an incredible event to kick off Super Sunday for the black and gold nation. Mardi Gras beads and feathers lined the room as festively dressed fans got crunk to the beats of a last-minute DJ addition after the original DJ failed to show. First the beer ran out, then the vodka, but by the time fans were ready to collect outside to head over to the stadium, everyone had had their share of the pregame libations. The brass band assembled in front of the El Palacio hotel and led the mile long trek along 27th Avenue to Sun Life Stadium. It was an incredible scene. Hundreds of black and gold clad fans chanting "Who Dat!" followed the procession to Sun Life Stadium. If you ever get the opportunity to party with Jay Foster … seize the day my friends!
Gametime was upon me before I knew it, so I headed into the Sun Life Stadium to checkout what the NFL had setup on as part of their Gameday Fan Plaza. The plaza adjacent to the stadium entrance was fenced off with a series of displays and booths offering a plethora of fan activities to the early arrivals. There were plenty of photo opportunities, interactive fans displays (much like the NFL Experience with pass, punt, and kick drills), and vendors with food, alcohol, and merchandise. Fans could easily spend several hours onsite being fully entertained by the live music and multimedia Super Bowl themed presentations, but after a couple hours I was ready to find my seat and ready myself for the main event.
Seated in Section 435, row 19, I was happy to find that my free ticket had placed me on an aisleway with a great corner endzone seat in full view of all the action. As kickoff approached, I anxiously awaited, camera in hand, to snap the preeminient Super Bowl Photo that everyone at the Super Bowl gets. You know the one, it’s the photo taken during the first play of the game. The one snapped as the ball sails into the air off the foot of the kicker, and flashbulbs by the thousands flicker throughout the crowd of 65,000 screaming fans. I was so anxious that I pressed the shutter way too soon capturing about four flashbulbs in the crowd. As I waited for my camera to reset, I completely missed it, by the time I could take another photo, it was over the Super Bowl had begun.
But that wasn’t the biggest snafu of my Super Bowl XLIV photographic experience. Let me take you back to the start of the second half. New Orleans is set to kickoff to Indianapolis to open up the second half of the ball game. Against all conventional wisdom, Saints head coach Sean Peyton decides to call for an on-sides kick. The first of it’s kind in Super Bowl history and most probably the gutsiest call ever made by a coach in the Super Bowl. It was a play that turned the tide of the game in favor of the New Orleans Saints and sealed their victory over the Colts allowing them to claim their first World Championship. Do you know what I was doing during the greatest play in Super Bowl XLIV? True to form, as a Questor for 31, one who prides himself on sharing his experiences in stadiums across the country with others, I was standing with my back to the field displaying a big cheesy grin on my face, as I posed for my first photo of the second half. By the time I turned back around to see what 65,000 fans were reacting to down on the field, I had missed the greatest play in Super Bowl XLIV. If you look closely, you can actually see the ball bouncing around over my shoulder. Unbelievable.
I gotta chime in on the halftime show as well. I’m not quite sure what folks at home saw, but I saw an aging group of has-beens attempting in futility to entertain me as they re-lived their glory years. It has to be said, I understand that the networks are a bit gun shy about booking the halftime entertainment in light of what happened in 2004 with the Janet Jackson/Justin Timberlake wardrobe malfunction, but six years later, somebody needs to grow a pair and book an act with ties to this century. With the snow storm that rocked the northeast that weekend, leaving most of the east coast stuck at home with nothing better to do than watch TV, Super Bowl XLIV drew 150 million viewers worldwide to set the Nielson record for the most watched television event in history. A golden opportunity is gift-wrapped for the NFL to capitalize on, with the potential to draw in a younger demographic to the game of pro football and league execs trot out "The Who"? Seriously? The No-Fun League strikes again.
As for the game itself, it was everything I could have expected. I spent the better part of the first quarter marveling at the fact that I was actually one of the chosen few on hand to watch this ratings behemoth live and in person, but once I settled in, I watched as throughout the first half, the Colts and Saints exchanged jabs like two heavyweight fighters feeling out their opponent in search of an opening to strike that knockout blow. In the second half, things began to open up for the Saints offense as the Saints defense continued its constant pressure of Peyton Manning, setting up the eventual proverbial nail in the coffin as Manning threw the devastating Pick-6 to Tracy Porter to seal New Orleans’s claim for a first World Championship. The celebration ensued and I watched as the Vince Lombardi Trophy was presented to the World Champion New Orleans Satins. It was an incredible day indeed and a very fitting way to cap off the completion of a journey that led me to 31 Stadiums across our great country over the last four years. Thanks again to all that followed my progress.
Check out my Super Bowl Weekend Pregame Tailgate Report here.
Saturday, February 6, 2010
2010 DIRECTV Celebrity Beach Bowl
Gates Open - 12:00pm Free, Open to Public
Pre-Game - 1:30pm, Gametime - 2:30pm,Concert - 3:30pm
Over 30 celebrities and pro athletes face off in a flag football game with a post game concert featuring the All American Rejects.
21st and 22nd Street (on Beach)
Super Bowl Saturday Night
4:00pm - 10:00pm Free, Open to the Public
Two Main acts headline a free outdoor live concert topped off with a firework extravaganza.
Fort Lauderdale Beach
1140 Seabreeze Blvd.
Fort Lauderdale, FL
Sunday, February 7, 2010
Gameday Fan Plaza
1:00pm, Super Bowl Ticket Holders Only
This event gives fans an exciting dynamic and festive area to celebrate prior to the football. This area will include merchandise, food and beverage, sponsor activation and entertainment.
2269 Dan Marino Blvd.
Miami Gardens, FL
The Main Event - Super Bowl XLIV
New Orleans Saints vs. Indianapolis Colts
2269 Dan Marino Blvd.
Miami Gardens, FL
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|Colts and Saints Fans outside the gate||Shane and Kim preferred the Colston Jersey||Hangin' with Alex and Tommy|
|That's the Swamp Dog and he got his ticket||The Saints Fans were out in full force||Super Bowl Logo Photo|
|The Bills display was pretty empty||Can't believe I'm here||Finally ... a dream come true|
|Pregame Setup||Quest for 31 at the Super Bowl||One for the Ages|
Please feel free to post any suggestions or comments you might have for about Super Bowl Weekend
in South Florida at Sun Life Stadium, including the following:
- Local Hotspots (Bar Districts, Restaurants, Clubs)
- Local Foods (Traditional Cuisine, Micro Brews)
- Tailgating Traditions
- Your Experiences or Helpful Hints
- If you saw me let me know!
All commentary will be moderated. Your e-mail address will not be published.
Tommy Savoie from New
Sent: Saturday, March 27, 2010 6:55 PM
Hans my friend!!!
Thanks for the pic on the sight!! It was great to get to meet The Man
with the Plan! Our Saints finally pulled off the biggest dreams of our
lives. And I was there to witness it in person! PRICELESS!!!! Now for
this season, Now of course with us winning the superbowl and becoming
champs of the NFL.... Our great OWNER Mr. Tom Benson has increased our
season tickets to the tune of a whopping 50%!!! Some others not as
much!! But hey i guess thats the price u pay being WORLD CHAMPS!! Hope
to get to hang out with u again this season!! Just drop a line when u
decide to come in for a game!!
Tommy, congrats again on an impressive win! As returning champs, next year should be very interesting for the "Who Dat" Nation. I will definitely be in touch the next time I'm in town.
Shane Mike from New
Sent: Friday, February 12, 2010 6:02 PM
It was a blast meeting you
and partying in Miami for the Superbowl over the weekend! I think you
have done an amazing thing and give inspiration for many people... I've
sent you the pictures we took hope you enjoy! WHO DAT!!!
James D White Sr from
New Orleans, LA
Sent: Tuesday, February 09, 2010 10:27 AM
It was a Pleasure to meet you and experience Super Bowl 44 with you. I really appreciate that you shared your room with me in Miami. I will never forget your Courage, Respect, and Honor.
WHO DAT!!!!!!! Saints Super Bowl 44 World ChampionsJimmy White!!! Swamp Doggie!! Had an incredible time hanging out. Same time next year?