Super Bowl XL Wrap-Up Part Two

by pittcaleb Email    5940 views

So I jump onto the People Mover at Joe Lewis and head for the stadiums. I read there was "pre-game entertainment" in the vicinity of Ford Field accessible only to ticket holders, so I figure something's going on up there.

While on the people mover though, I spot an entire parking lot filled with fans from Steeler Nation! I hop off at the next stop and go down to the parking lot. There are dozens of RVs, vans and cars with banners, signs and such all from Pittsburgh. At this point in the day, most people I met were not from Pittsburgh or the suburbs, but from strange places with strange reasons drawing them in as Steeler fans. These people however were die-hard, Steel-bred Pittsburgher's. Yeah!

Follow up:

I hung out with them for quite some time - sharing stories of Pittsburgh years gone by, college times and of course, eating kielbasa, drinking Iron City and listening to polka's! [Note: I did not partake in any food or beverages since I was not a part of their group] These were by far the coolest people I have yet to meet and turned out to be the coolest ones I would see all day. After about an hour, 3:00, I decided to start heading into the stadium, still a walk away, since security would take a good hour plus to clear.

As I got close to the main entrance of the stadium, I noticed a line - yes, a line. Now this wasn't your average line, according to some quick mapping software calculations, this was a half-mile line 4 people wide waiting to pass through security. As I traversed the length of the line, I quickly decided it would be a 2-3 hour line and that I'd likely miss the beginning of the game. It was 3:15 when I started to find the end of this line. I, and all the others around me, were none too happy.

As we got close to the end of the line, a Super Bowl volunteer told us there was an "empty entrance" if we'd continue around the sports complex (ford field & comerica park are connected basically) and go in off of Woodward. This was an additional walk of 0.8 miles, but worth the gamble due to the length of this line.

As I got to the nearly non-existent line off the Woodward entrance, the guy manning the gate is shouting over the loudspeaker that he's closing the gate! Why? The lines at all the other (3 at least) entrances were tremendously long, why not let people in to the security check-point? Unbelievable. The throng there pushes forward as he's closing the gate - think of the Egyptians trying to cross the Red Sea as the water walls collapse beside them. I am being pushed from behind as he's forcing us to stop. The security guard grabs the collar of my jacket as I push and am pushed through the checkpoint. He yells at me, but has much more on his hands to deal with my indiscretion, thus I pass through the first phase of this Super Bowl security/entrance process. Yeah!

The line from there was only about 5-7 minutes before the raping process began. First I was physically patted down by a very large security guard. He patted me down very thoroughly. I then emptied everything from all my pockets. Note you are not permitted any bags larger than 12" square, so I packed everything I wanted for the entire day, including spare socks, into my jacket pockets. I emptied everything out into a container and then still failed the metal detector. I was then wanded very thoroughly by another security person. I forgot, my ticket has been checked twice so far by security personnel.

After the wanding, I had but one person standing between me and the Super Bowl - she wanted my ticket, third person. She actually ripped off a small portion, which anymore they don't normally do. Scanned in the bar code and I was free to walk the remaining quarter mile to Ford Field. Hallelujah! The walk to Ford Field was now starting to get electric - people snapping pictures at every sign they saw.

I walked into the stadium around 4:30 and amazingly was neither physically searched nor my ticket examined. The place was already packed to the gills. One thing I kept thinking all week long was that no matter how many people are "there" for the Super Bowl, inside the stadium there can still only be 70,000 people - not much more than any regular season Lion's game. Thus the concessions, bathrooms and associated lines *can't* be much worse, could they?

Well, the sheer number may not have been higher, but everybody showed up and everybody was there way early and everybody was buying dinner before the game and everybody went to the bathroom at halftime because nobody was going to miss a minute of the game. So although the numbers were probably the same, everything took longer - patience was the word of the day.

While walking around the stadium before the game, I found another internet kiosk sponsored by another unnamed internet service provider which is where I posted my 2nd entry during the day.

I made my way to my seats earlier than I planned. See, I had been wearing my hiking boots all day. Now I love my hiking boots and can hike 20 miles in a day with no pain. The problem is 'earth' - the ground I normally walk on - gives way a little bit when walking in boots. Walking in good hiking boots on immovable pavement does not make for happy shins. I thought with the overnight snow and predicted rain/snow/slush, I would be better off in water-proof boots than soaked feet in sneakers. Everything was dry, I should have worn tennies.

Sitting down I made fast friends with those around me. I was sitting in the end zone, pretty much centered, where the Seahawks logo was painted. Could see everything, but of course the further away the action was perspective was lost. No complaints about the seats at all.

Sitting behind me was a tremendously obnoxious Steeler fan with his teenage son. I was feeling very bad for the son to be honest. This guy took everything anyone said within a 50' radius personally and let everyone in that radius know about it. The very loud phrase "sucks" was belted over any mention of the word Seattle throughout the entire stadium. It was like shock therapy - you just knew you'd hear it every 30 seconds, never expected it, and there was nothing you could do about it. His voice was grating which made it worse though.

To top that off, 2 rows in front of me were 2 Seahawk fans. Like I said, they seemed to travel in pairs, but finding a 3rd or a 2nd set of fans close enough to each other was a rarity. Perhaps they're all magnetized and unable to get close to each other. I don't know.

So the alpha-male of this pair of Seattle fans was worse on the obnoxious scale than the Pittsburgh fan behind me. I never saw him drink a beer and can only imagine this is his baseline. I mentioned to my seat neighbor that he's probably not married.

This guy was an instigator who before, during and after everything - from pre-game Motown music to touchdowns and penalties during the game would stand up, turn around, and make like it was the start of a nuclear war - pointing, yelling, instigating, cussing, pointing again, making large arm motions. You get the picture.

Now imagine literally sitting in-between these 2 people - the Steeler fan directly behind and the Seahawk guy 2 rows in front. This was not going to be a fun evening! These guys went back and forth from the moment they sat down an hour before the game until, yes, security came in towards the end of the 1st quarter. By that time, the obnoxious Steeler fan was drunk enough to be quiet. Isn't it amazing that for some people alcohol makes them louder and others quieter? Wish we could know in advance how it would effects fans. The Seattle bozo was still running full steam and his last straw was when he put his index finger and voice box in the face, literally I say, of an 80 year old grandma wearing a Hines Ward jersey 3 seats to his left! Unbelievable. Security took him out for about 5 minutes and when he returned he didn't utter a single word the rest of the game. Praise The Lord!

More in part three...