Ruth & I were in the Bay Area when Super Bowl City opened on Saturday, January 30, 8 days before the actual game. The towns around the bay had already gone football mad.
According to Sporting News Special Commemorative Issue, the BEST Super Bowl was XLII (42). In Giants vs Patriots, David Tyree made a 32-yard “Helmet Catch” in the final 2 minutes. This has been called the greatest play in Super Bowl history. The date was February 3, 2008, and the venue was the University of Phoenix Stadium.
However, my #1, which Sporting News decided was #5, was played in the Georgia Dome on January 30, 2000. It was Super Bowl XXXIV (34) and MVP Kurt Warner starred in Rams, those deserters, vs Titans. Warner was tabloid material in St. Louis back then and also Season Leader for Passing with 4,353 yards, 41 TDs, and 13 interceptions. Ruth & I were living in St. Louis at the time and the party we attended was great, partially because the Rams, those deserters, won 23 to 16.
Super Bowl 50, the only one not to use Roman numerals, was the first in the Bay Area since XIX in 1985, when the 49ers (my last name is Harbaugh) defeated the Dolphins at Stanford Stadium. Saying “the Bay Area” instead of San Francisco is considered politically correct. Levi Stadium, where Super Bowl 50 was played on February 7, is actually in Santa Clara. This new $1.2 billion facility is the first to get LEED Gold certification, making it the greenest venue in the game. Levi also has the biggest, most high-definition scoreboard of any outdoor arena in the U. S. I couldn’t get anywhere near this stadium on Monday, February 1, to take pictures, but Ruth found and loved the concessions.
The day before, we and thousands, maybe millions, of people went to Super Bowl City, the free fan village that was opened until THE GAME. It was disloyally in downtown San Francisco at The Embarcadero (mostly in the Justin Herman Plaza), and the organizers dubbed it the Fan Energy Zone. It was certainly that and eventful with dancing, live entertainment, lots of beer, etc., but if I had to do it over, I’d have gone instead to the NFL Experience, which was called by some a theme park. For $35 per adult, visitors got autograph opportunities, memorabilia displays, a place to attempt kicking field goals, etc. It was at San Francisco’s Moscone Center. Ruth was determined to get some free souvenirs at Super Bowl City, but everything free had disappeared quickly the day before. She had to pay, and pay, for whatever she bought while I went around in a daze looking at long lines for everything, taking photos, and enjoying just being part of a major cultural and historic event.
We got off easy. I heard that some tickets to the actual game went for $10,000. Already-steep hotel room prices tripled, and with more than a million outsiders to feed restaurants increased prices. Most were fully booked for the week.
In the Bay Area, the Super Bowl Party started more than a week before Peyton Manning, Cam Newton, Metallica, Coldplay, Beyoncé, and those $5 million, 30-second commercials make their appearances.