Sometimes in life you get lucky. You are in the right place at the right time to be involved with something special. That usually never happens for me. No, I watch others do things I could only dream of because of fate or a lack of credentials.
My chance at a space shuttle flight ended with the program’s demise. I never really had a shot because I don’t know anyone at NASA. Even though I have known some very high ranking generals in the US Air Force it was never even a thought to enter the shuttle program because of my total lack of any expertise in aviation, science, or military. A boy can dream, though.
Football is a different story as I know some coaches and athletes along with various front office types. I do scouting and have written about football for years including my prestigious engagement at GGN. I am often sought out for my thoughts by friends, coworkers, and others for information on players or prospects.
I also work for a company that actually delivers the Vince Lombardi Trophy to the Super Bowl city. Much like the opening ceremonies at the Olympics when the torch arrives, the NFL takes pride in beginning the Super Bowl festivities with the arrival of the famed trophy. It’s not as elaborate an event like the Olympics. It is a more subdued liturgical event that allows the media to broadcast and excite the host city. It also begins the NFL Fan Experience which is very popular with fans and nonfans alike. It is a family friendly carnival-like atmosphere with a mix of NFL history, team paraphernalia, and activities for everyone to enjoy.
It usually has a myriad of celebrities, NFL dignitaries, and athletes who attend the event and excite the fans. This year those people would not attend so the event was somewhat subdued, but it still drew quite a bit of interest.
This year I was lucky enough to be picked as the person to deliver the trophy to the host city, the only person in the universe to be blessed with the honor of bestowing the famed trophy to the city of Tampa. I had to give the trophy to the NFL security representative Stella Carlo. Once in his possession he holds it up for all to see then places it on the pedestal the NFL provides for the trophy. Then a plastic shield is placed over top.
I will give you a montage of photos to peruse.
This of course is a picture of the game ball that will be used on Super Bowl Sunday. It’s just a picture of the ball. It actually wasn’t there. They had many in cases around the event, but I figured I would give you a look at the game ball.
This is the NFL podium where the trophy sits to be viewed by the public. The trophy is transported in a black hard shelled case with foam rubber inside with a cutout of the trophy. The trophy itself is put inside a soft blue bag then inserted into the case. The case is locked in New York at the NFL offices. The key is then given to the NFL security representative. No one can open the case but him. As of this time the trophy case was in my possession with Mr. Carlo waiting to open the case when the media arrived.
Once the case was opened I was able to get a picture of the trophy up close. I could not touch the trophy as Mr. Carlo had gloves for the occasion, but my breath was all over that beautiful shiny trophy.
The reflection on the left is the director of the event Mr. Vega. He was the production coordinator handing the cameras and also where each member of the press would be. There was about 20 different media groups there plus a crowd of about a thousand other onlookers. A lot of the media groups I had never heard of, but NBC and the main ones were there as well. The reflection on the right is yours truly getting the picture you see here. You can see the inscription “Super Bowl LV” under the NFL plaque.
Here is Mr. Carlo holding the trophy for the cameras to my right to see and film. He then stepped up to show the crowd then took it inside to place on the podium for people to view.
Here is the trophy on the podium without the protective clear shield around it. It’s a pretty impressive hunk of silver. I was standing in the way of all the media people behind the partitions about ten feet in back of me, but I wanted an unobstructed view for the GGN crew to see. Those guys could wait a few minutes for that. The crowd around the trophy wanting pictures was enormous so with my job completed I went around the Super Bowl Experience to show you some of the stuff they had for the public. I had a event pass that got me access into every building like I was Roger Goodell himself (No, he wasn’t there.) so I could come back later for pictures when the crowd was no longer allowed to view the trophy.
First I had to stop to grab myself a beer. I only had one, but it was a bigger bottle than I usually get so one was enough.
I had to rock one of my Joe Klecko jerseys (I have more than one, all signed by Joe.) to represent the Jets in style. I wore a Jets hat with a Jets mask to let everyone know the Jets are in the house.
They had a locker of a player from every team set up like you were in a locker room walking by. Mahomes, Brady, and Brees were all the portrayed as the team leaders. It was interesting who the NFL choose to represent the Jets. I guess the NFL sees the potential of our left tackle. I would love to know who choose that player. If it was the Jets it would give me pause to think that Sam Darnold would be back next year as QB.
Of course they have helmets from each team scattered around the event. There is only one that made the grade as far as I am concerned.
I love this picture so I had it blown up, and it was hanging in my man cave by the next day. It may be stupid, but hey, you only get to go to the Super Bowl when you can. I don’t have tickets yet, but I’m working on it.
Later in the evening I went back when no one was around except a few guards to have a picture with the trophy. Since I was the chosen one that had no problem letting me in to get a close up picture of me with the trophy.
By this time I was kind of beat, it was a long day with lots of tedious things to do. Security was tight so everywhere you went there was a metal detector or guards around. I had to do numerous interviews (why I have no idea), but the press was pulling me from one side to another. At this point it was already a 14 hour day, and I hadn’t even left the event yet.
I just wanted to share my experiences with all my friends at GGN to give you the inside look at the trophy ceremony as well as a close up view of the Vince Lombardi Trophy. So when the Jets win like 3 Super Bowls in a row soon you will know first hand and up close what the trophy looks like.
Have a great time watching the game.
When they bring the trophy out you will know who brought it there.