Phoenix– While many are asking why the Seahawks didn’t run the football on second and goal, down four with 26 seconds remaining in regulation of Super Bowl XLIX, there’s a bigger story that needs to be highlighted. And, it’s not Marshawn Lynch’s antics or “deflategate.”
The Greater Phoenix area, including Tempe, Scottsdale, and Glendale, Arizona, deserves a great deal of credit. Having the distinct pleasure to cover Sunday’s game and the festivities leading up to the game, the experience could not have been better. The area put on a show for the ages, and the game didn’t let anyone down either.
The one thing that stands out most to me is the welcoming, open attitude of the people of “The Valley of the Sun.” From arriving at the airport, to late night shuttle rides, to various public safety personnel, everyone had a smile on their face. People were glad that football’s biggest game had returned to the home of the Arizona Cardinals after a six-year hiatus.
While some criticized the logistics of this year’s Super Bowl, citing that some events were nearly 30 miles apart from each other, it still was set up remarkably. Phoenix was the central hub for all the main attractions, featuring a fan zone at the city’s spacious convention center and various on-street festivities in the immediate vicinity.
Marquee attractions such as ESPN’s broadcasts and Taste of the NFL took place in various areas of neighboring Scottsdale, Arizona while the game itself was played in Glendale, Arizona. These different locations made for a better overall Super Bowl experience than last year’s game in New York.
ESPN Radio host Michael Kay, FCRH ’82, summed it up best.
“New York swallowed up the Super Bowl,” the Emmy-wining broadcaster said. “The Super Bowl swallowed up Phoenix.”
Unlike last year’s game, people’s attention in the area was only focused on the game. Everywhere you visited was filled with chattering fans and a multitude of Super Bowl gear. The atmosphere was incredible and like nothing I had ever experienced.
The game should go down as one of the best in Super Bowl history and the Phoenix area needs to be recognized for helping to put on the highest-rated Super Bowl to date. Hopefully, Super Bowl XLIX isn’t only remembered for, arguably, the worst play call in sports history. Additionally, let’s all hope that “deflategate” doesn’t ruin anything that the New England Patriots accomplished on Sunday evening.
The game was one for the ages. The experience was one for the ages. My hat goes off to the Greater Phoenix area. Thank you for your enthusiasm, organization, and hospitality.
If the opportunity presents itself to me again in the future, I will surely jump on it as I did this time. In the meantime, if means allow and you can attend the Super Bowl at some point in your lifetime, I strongly recommend it. It will not let you down, even if the game isn’t a classic.