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Volume 20 No. 42
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Super memories of the Big Easy

With the Super Bowl returning to New Orleans, we asked sports executives to share their favorite memories from previous Super Bowls in the Crescent City. Here’s what they had to say:

“Super Bowl XX, Jan. 26, 1986. Bears vs. Patriots: Don Garber [MLS commissioner] and I both worked at the NFL then

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and Don did a great singing and dancing re-creation of the Super Bowl shuffle that he performed for staff on a number of occasions that weekend.”
— Rick Dudley
CEO and president, Octagon Worldwide

“Having spent months after Katrina helping the Saints and the city of New Orleans on behalf of the NFL, I absolutely can’t wait to attend the Super Bowl this year in this great city and historic venue. It’s my favorite Super Bowl city (until next year). My best memories of the Super Bowl here go back to my days at NFL Properties, when the Chicago Bears played the Patriots at the end of ’85. The Bears fans were crazy and the city was electric. It was my first Super Bowl, and having been to every one since, it is still a favorite. Only the wins by my beloved Giants, attended with my entire family, have topped it.”
— Frank Vuono
Partner, 16W Marketing

“I’m not a foodie, but I will never, ever forget the food! Whether it was the seven-course dinner at Emeril’s restaurant with delicious wine pairings, or the late-night beignets after a night out on the French Quarter. And, of course, no New Orleans trip is complete without a few of its famous Pat O’Brien hurricanes. As for the football, it speaks for itself and is the best our country has to offer.”
— Michael Lynch
Consultant and former Visa sports marketing executive

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“My son Collin and I are huge Patriots fans and in spite of knowing the Pats had virtually no chance of getting to the Super Bowl in 2002, he chose that trip as his college graduation present. We made all of the reservations in the summer of 2001 and, as expected, we watched the Patriots get off to a 1-3 start. But on Feb. 3, 2002, we were in the Superdome watching Adam Vinatieri’s 48-yard field goal float over the crossbar to win the Patriots’ first ever Super Bowl. An indescribable moment!”
— Randy Vataha
President, Game Plan

“The first Super Bowl I ever attended was Super Bowl XXXI in New

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Orleans in 1997. New Orleans remains my favorite Super Bowl city and one of my favorite places in the U.S. Memories of a twenty-something in New Orleans can be hazy, but I recall great hospitality events (including a memorable party at the House of Blues), cheeseheads everywhere, the arrival of Fox on the Super Bowl scene and a great night for Desmond Howard.”
— Doug Perlman
CEO, Sports Media Advisors

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“In the months following 9/11, the United States population was faced with many concerns. The personal concerns over getting on airplanes and attending large events were among the foremost. The NFL faced so many issues as Super Bowl XXXVI approached. First the game was moved back a week as a result of the games of 9/16 being canceled, and then ensuring the safest environment possible … became the primary focus. So many policies and procedures were put in place in the 120 days prior to game day that are now industry standards. … In the end, Super Bowl XXXVI jump-started the country back to its feet. The success of the game showed the influence that the NFL can have. This Super Bowl changed forever how people would attend events.”
— Jim Steeg
Sports consultant and former NFL executive who produced 26 Super Bowls