NFL anchor, broadcaster
first Super Bowl I ever covered was the 49ers’ first, Super Bowl XVI, in 1982.
I was very close to the organization, and it was fun watching it up close
because every time the 49ers went to the Super Bowl, they won.
Bowl XXIV against Denver in New Orleans sticks out. Joe Montana had come under
a bit of scrutiny during the week for something, and he went out and just
destroyed the Broncos’ defense. I’ve never seen him better, and that’s saying
something because it’s Montana. There was one play just before the end of the
half, a touchdown on a post to Jerry Rice, that pretty much put the game away.
Montana gave a fist pump after the touchdown, and you knew they were in the
driver’s seat. They went on to repeat as Super Bowl champs, and Montana became
arguably the best quarterback of all time.
Five years later, the
49ers were back in the Super Bowl in Miami, and it was Steve Young’s time.
Finally, they had beaten Dallas, and there was one more game to get the monkey off
his back. I went to practice on Thursday, and the ball in the hour and a half
never hit the ground. The 49ers were so precise. To see that translate from
practice to the actual game was incredible. Steve threw for six touchdown
passes, ran for 49 yards and the 49ers beat the Chargers 49-26.
Those last few Super
Bowls the 49ers won, their offense was just like a race car, ready to roll and
blow everybody away.
Chris Berman will be
covering his 27th Super Bowl this year.
was the lucky guy at the play-by-play mike describing the ultimate in team play when the Baltimore Colts
edged the New York Giants, 23-17, in the National Football League’s first
overtime championship game.
It was more than “the
greatest football game ever played” because of its galvanizing effect on the
NFL. Aided by the national TV and radio coverage, this 1958 thriller sold the
professional game to viewers, listeners and the press as no other game had ever
done. Networks and sponsors were eager to satisfy the new demand. Pro football
had hit the media jackpot. … The college game had dominated the football world,
but in one day, pro football leaped into the national spotlight. The title game
received a more grandiose label (the Super Bowl) as it became the nation’s
most-viewed individual sports event.
Just two years before the
Colts-Giants championship game, Hall of Fame sportscaster Bob Wolff called Don
Larsen’s perfect game in the 1956 World Series.
covered my first Super Bowl 30 years ago. Ah, Miami in the winter. What a
respite from the Northeastern winter. And the teams: the Dallas Cowboys and
Pittsburgh Steelers in Super Bowl XIII. This was the Super Bowl at which
Cowboys linebacker Thomas Henderson would say that Terry Bradshaw couldn’t
spell “cat” if you spotted him the “c” and the “a.” The drop in the end zone by
Cowboys tight end Jackie Smith of a sure touchdown pass. Tom Landry on one
sideline, Chuck Noll on the other for another Steelers victory.
here is what I remember best: Tickets were $40. This year, they were officially
priced at $1,000 for the first time. At the Orange Bowl, on game day way back
when, I found my seat in the auxiliary press section and prepared to work. Took
out my notebook, binoculars, flip card. When I looked up, I saw a familiar head
bobbing in the row ahead of me, which was the last area of fan seating. It was
one of my co-workers, who had come to Miami to see his family and went to the
game on a whim.
did you get a ticket?”
imagine hot dogs were probably only a dollar then.
Vice president, public relations
NFL has a large cadre of PR people to make the media side of it go, and I have
been honored to be a part of that group for 25 years. My story is from Super
Bowl XXV at Tampa in 1991.
number of pages of print material handed out to the media is staggering. It’s
basically a palette of paper consumed during the game. All week long, we kept
checking with the fellow in charge of making sure the paper was delivered, and
all week long we were assured it was there.
early Sunday morning, our PR crew arrived. Guess what? No paper. Not one sheet.
And it’s Sunday. Nobody is open. The Bucs’ PR rep took a van back to his
offices and brought back all the Xerox paper from their building — nowhere near
enough. He then woke up a fellow who owned a small print shop and convinced him
to open up, and the van headed there.
never forget the sight of a cadre of big-time PR executives (us), all wearing
suits, each carrying a box of Xerox paper up the stadium steps and escalators
to the distribution location.
there are a lot of details to putting on a big event, a lot of which seem more
exciting than this, but, don’t forget the paper.
Green Bay Packers
fondest memory from my playing career was Super Bowl XVII at the Rose Bowl in
Pasadena. We had just defeated the Miami Dolphins for the Redskins’ first title
since 1942. My father, Hugh, who passed away this summer, had made his way into
the locker room and was able to be with me. It was a great setting. We were the
world champions, and for Big Murph, as my father was affectionately known, to
be there to experience and share in the exhilaration is a moment I’ll never
Group creative director
TBWA\Chiat\Day, Los Angeles
college basketball career was in a shambles. I had been cut from Michigan
State’s basketball team … again! So my NBA dream was dead. I thought, “What am
I gonna do?!” Then, I was watching the Super Bowl, and this commercial for
Apple ran. At that moment, I instantly knew what the next best thing to working
in the NBA was gonna be. It was to work for whatever ad agency that did that
dope “1984” for Apple. That Super Bowl spot launched my career and my quest.
Senior coordinating producer
My first Super Bowl was January 1997. I
was an associate producer working on features. I was young, naïve and thought
it would be fun. It was hard work then and it’s even tougher now. At that time,
we just did TV: segments on “SportsCenter” and “Countdown.” Now, ESPN has TV,
radio, dot-com, the magazine and other platforms offering coverage all week,
24/7. Planning for this year started
before last season even ended. It’s an incredibly demanding event and equally
as rewarding when it’s all done.
Senior partner and CEO, international
Since I live in London and have been a lifelong Giants fan,
my 11-year-old son and I stayed up until 4:30 a.m. watching every blessed play
in last year’s Super Bowl on Sky Sports. It remains the most exciting sporting
contest I have ever seen, including the Giants’ first
Super Bowl win, which I witnessed in person at the Rose Bowl.
“NFL Live” host
The whole thing about getting postgame
interviews at the Super Bowl is they herd you down somewhere in the building
well before the game is over. Halfway through the fourth quarter last year in Arizona, we left the
trailer behind the stadium. I was in a holding pen with hundreds of media
waiting to be released onto the field.
I had to know what was going on, so I
called Mark Schlereth, who was home watching. He gave me the play-by-play as
the Patriots marched down the field and scored the touchdown to take the lead.
The reception was cutting in and out, and
I could peer my head around and kind of see what was
happening on the field. I knew the Giants’ drive came down to a crucial play,
and then they scored, and the Patriots ran out the clock.
I could see Plaxico [Burress] made the
catch for the touchdown, but I couldn’t figure out who made that catch to keep
the drive alive. As soon as we got onto the field, I went straight to Plaxico
and got the first interview with him, thinking, “This
is great. I’ve got the one-on-one with the guy who caught the game-winning
Five minutes later, we’re walking around,
and about 10 people are surrounding David Tyree, the team’s fourth wide
receiver. I’m getting all these other people — Justin Tuck, Antonio Pierce,
Michael Strahan. Finally, I go back behind the Giants’ locker room later and I
get Archie Manning. It’s not until I talked to him that I finally learned Tyree
made the big catch to keep the drive alive. Had I known that, I would have gone
to him first, but that’s what it’s like trying to cover the Super Bowl in a
game like that.
ESPN The Magazine
One of the best things about covering the
Super Bowl is the media buffet, and not because of the food. This is the
cavernous room where you routinely get a chance to meet your much-admired
peers: famous writers, legendary reporters, producers you’ve long respected and
on-air talent you grew up watching. And sometimes, the dad of
your favorite player, who’s also a pretty accomplished journalist himself.
This happened to me at the second Super
Bowl I attended, Super Bowl XXXIX in 2005, Jacksonville. I had
just finished loading up my breakfast plate when I spotted Larry Fitzgerald Sr.
Fans in the Twin Cities knew him as a veteran writer, producer, talk-show host
and commentator, most notably as sports editor and columnist for the Minnesota
I knew him that way too, but mostly I
thought of him as the dad of my favorite wide receiver, Larry Fitzgerald Jr.,
who was drafted the prior spring by my favorite football team, thus offering a
beleaguered Cardinals fan some hope for the future.
Turning 15 again, I reacted to seeing
Fitzgerald by losing any sense of professional cool. I immediately sat down
next to the man and spent the next 20 minutes peppering him with a mixture of questions, mostly about his son (Was he always so
sure-handed? How did you raise him to be such a good kid?), but also about his
journalist career (Do you prefer print, radio or TV? What’s it like working for
one of the oldest African-American newspapers in the country?) and even about breakfast (How ’bout them scrambled eggs?
Will you please pass the pepper?).
Fitzgerald answered all my questions. All
in all, he was gracious, although at some point he said something about needing
a bagel and left the table. Every time I saw him for the rest of the weekend,
he turned the other way. Can’t say I blame him.
AXA Sports Financial Services
My biggest memory would have to be our
[New York Giants] Super Bowl and the safety against the Denver Broncos and John
Elway back in 1987. That is something that will always be a sense of pride for
me and a great accomplishment — to have done that on the world’s greatest
George Martin was a defensive tackle for the New York Giants (1975-88). Last fall, he
walked across the
to raise awareness and funds for 9/11
TNT, Westwood One Radio
fan, it would have to be the Jets beating the Colts in 1969. I remember
watching the game on NBC. It wasn’t what you could call a great game, but the
magnitude of the win was enormous, Joe Namath and his guarantee of victory,
particularly in a Giants-geared city. … The game was so significant in leading
to the merger.
From a broadcast point of
view, there are two memories. The most exciting play to call was in 2007, when
Devin Hester of the Bears returned the opening kickoff 92 yards for a
touchdown. It was a stunner, and on a rain-soaked field in Miami. It was a
perfect way to start the game. It gets you ready for the rest of the game.
The other game was last
year, when the Giants pulled off one of the biggest upsets in Super Bowl
history. Put that right alongside the Jets in ’69 in terms of upsets.
Marv Albert will be
calling his seventh Super Bowl this year for Westwood One Radio.
Former CEO of professional
U.S. Tennis Association
Cowboys-Bills at the Rose
Bowl in 1993: I was producing the halftime show, and Garth Brooks was set to
sing the anthem. He threatened to walk out 20 minutes before the start of the anthem
because the network didn’t play his video during pregame as promised. The NFL
was left without an anthem singer and asked us to find a celebrity in the
stadium who would be willing to sing on 10 minutes notice.
found Jon Bon Jovi, who was willing to do it. He came down from his suite,
practiced in the tunnel, and at the last minute Garth Brooks showed up,
realizing he could not possibly walk out on the national anthem with an
audience of over a billion people. Bon Jovi was promised the anthem for the
following Super Bowl.
The Sporting News
last year’s Super Bowl, I was rushing back from the Giants’ locker room to
write a magazine feature on Eli Manning. I passed a man in the hallway who looked
familiar, but I was in such a hurry to make deadline, I kept right on walking.
I took about 10 more steps before I realized who it was: Archie Manning, Eli’s
father. I did a U-turn, caught up with him, and asked him some questions about
watching another son win a Super Bowl. He could not have been nicer. I walked
away thinking, “Man, is that guy lucky.”
I started thinking, “I just watched a great Super Bowl in person for free, I
got paid to do it and I accidentally bumped into a source who helped my story.”
Sometimes, when I get stressed about the job, I think about that moment, and it
brings a smile to my face.
Super Bowl anecdote was trying to figure out a way to get 50 tickets. I am in
California and my whole family is in Florida, and I am trying to figure out how
to get them all tickets. That was the hardest thing. I have pictures from
Sports Illustrated where I am sitting there counting them out, trying to make
sure I had them all. I counted them every day to make sure my mama’s ticket was
good, my sister’s ticket was good. It was the wildest thing ever, and I didn’t
get them all until the last day. The game was the easiest thing. Those 50
tickets were a nightmare.
Bowl XXXII in San Diego produced my best personal memory. I was with Sid
Luckman and Al Davis, both hall of famers and fellow Erasmus Hall High School
graduates. Al was my freshman football coach at The Citadel and, of course,
famous for recruiting Paul Maguire, my roommate to Charleston.
AVP Pro Beach Volleyball
favorite Super Bowl memory was the San Francisco 49ers miracle team of 1982
winning it all after finishing near the bottom the year before. Joe Montana and
Dwight Clark led the offense, and Ronnie Lott, who was my first sports client
when I was an agent, was the defensive star in his rookie season.
Executive vice president
Fantasy Sports Ventures
Super Bowl XXXVI in 2002
was only the second time the NFL allowed real-time fan votes to influence the
MVP winner. There was a very short window when fans were able to cast their
votes on NFL.com or via mobile phone. The game came down to a last-second, game-winning
kick by Adam Vinatieri. Votes had to be tallied quickly, and the MVP (Tom
Brady) needed to be announced within minutes. But the effort was nothing
compared with what Jim Steeg and the NFL events group were able to pull off
that year, having to move the game back one week because of the 9/11 attacks,
which happened only four months prior.
While the game was one of
the most thrilling and one of the biggest upsets in Super Bowl history, the
most memorable moment was the moving, uplifting and respectful halftime
performance U2 gave, as names of all the 9/11 victims scrolled up a screen
behind Bono as he sang “Where the Streets Have No Name.”
Evan Kamer was senior
director of business development for NFL Digital Media at the time of Super
Strategic communications and brand
consultant, former head of communications for the New York Knicks, Philadelphia
76ers and USTA
I have three Super Bowl
memories, more for the locale from where I witnessed them.
The first was seeing
Kevin Dyson stopped at the end of Super Bowl XXXIV. I watched on a 12-inch
screen in an empty bar at the Johannesburg airport on the way to Davis Cup in
The second was seeing
Denver defeat Green Bay in the early-morning hours amongst a half-dozen
cheeseheads at the Melbourne Casino during the Australian Open.
The third was watching
the Cowboys beat the Broncos in Super Bowl XII from the emergency room of Long
Island College Hospital in Brooklyn, where I had gone to get my hand X-rayed after
chipping a bone in my thumb during a pre-Super Bowl touch football game in
front of my grandparents’ house.
The biggest challenge was the emotions:
going back to the stadium where I had played so long and now [was] in Super
Bowl XXXV, the biggest game of my life. Everything I did that week was to
mentally and emotionally prepare myself to not get caught up in the moment when
I walked onto the field. I soaked in the environment and the grandeur of the
Super Bowl, but was calm and as flat-lined as I had ever been before a game.
When the game kicked off, I didn’t have
enough emotion to play the game or any rhythm, and I played poorly. Our
fullback, Sam Gash, came over to me in the huddle when we were in a TV timeout.
He grabbed me by the chest-plate of my pads, shook me and said, “You need to
get your emotions up. You are the emotional leader of this team.”
Boy, did it wake me up. A few plays later,
I threw a touchdown pass to Brandon Stokely, and the rest of the way, I played
my game, and we won.
Trent Dilfer led the Baltimore Ravens to the Super Bowl XXXV title
in Tampa in 2001, the year after he left the Buccaneers, for whom he played his
first six NFL seasons.
I was working in Pittsburgh doing national radio news when the
Cowboys met the Steelers in Super Bowl XXX. A buddy of mine and I wore our
Cowboys jerseys to the Black and Gold party at work that Friday before the
game. We were booed and joked [at] mercilessly. You may remember the Cowboys
won the game. My buddy and I wore our jerseys to work that Monday … grinning.
People didn’t talk to us for a long time.
They say you never forget your first, and
I certainly never will. My first Super Bowl: 1993 in the Rose Bowl, watching
the sun set in the distance as Garth Brooks sang the national anthem and the
military planes flew overhead in formation. Then, the Cowboys shellacked the
Bills 52-17. I have had the privilege of covering 12 Super Bowls since.
Scott Van Pelt
Anchor, show host
ESPN TV and radio
As a fan, the moment that stands out is
John Riggins’ run on fourth down against the Dolphins in Super Bowl XVII in
1983. As a Redskins fan, I was fortunate enough to see them win three Super
Bowls. But the first time your team wins, it is unlike any other because you
wonder if it’s even possible. Also, as a teenager, I suppose I was far less
cynical about all of it.
The Sporting News
The first Super Bowl I covered was XV, in
1981, between the Raiders and Eagles in New
Orleans. I was a beat writer for the St. Louis
Globe-Democrat and had to write two pieces: a “running” story during the game
and a feature on Raiders linebacker Rod Martin, who had three interceptions,
after the game.
When they passed out sack lunches at
halftime, I was busy writing. I put it under my seat, thinking I would eat it
after I was finished working. When I returned to my hotel room that night, I
was famished. I couldn’t wait to bite into my sandwich. Imagine my surprise
when I opened my sack lunch: My Globe-Democrat colleague columnist Bob Burnes
had inadvertently put the unsmoked half of his cigar in my bag.
The Sporting News is owned by American City
Business Journals, parent company of SportsBusiness Journal.