Eric Nelson

SPORTS NUGGETS: Super snapshots from the Super Bowl

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By Eric Nelson
January 30, 2018
GAMEDAY GOLD

 

MINNEAPOLIS – Sports Nuggets from the Bold North…

•Super Reflections: The Super Bowl is the biggest single day sporting spectacle on Earth. The week before the game is part Mardi Gras and part spring break. Going to this epic event is a privilege and a treat. I have been to 24 and have plenty of super snapshots from my travels. Here are some of them:

•Super Bowl XXXII, Denver 31, Green Bay 24: On a sun-splashed San Diego day, the Broncos and John Elway finally won their first Super Bowl. Elway’s spinning helicopter run deep in Packer territory was the game’s signature play. “This one’s for John,” Denver owner Pat Bowlen said after the Broncos pulled off the unlikely upset… But it was Terrell Davis who deserved the accolades. Davis – who grew up in San Diego – was a real headache for the Packers. Despite playing with a migraine, Davis ran for 157 yards, three touchdowns and was the game’s MVP. For TD It was the ultimate homecoming… On Super Saturday, I was at the Hall of Fame news conference at the San Diego Hyatt. When it was announced that former Minnesota Vikings safety Paul Krause got into the HOF, I raced to a pay phone to call him and get an interview. When Krause answered, I said, “congratulations.”

Autographed photo of Paul Krause in action

Paul Krause – Minnesota Vikings and Pro Football Hall of Fame

His response was, “am I in?” In the pre-cell phone, pre-internet days of 1998, Krause did not know he had been voted into the HOF… I then ran a mile to the Holiday Inn, got my rental car and drove to Krause’s hotel. Suddenly, I was driving Krause and his family in a compact rental car west on I-8 to CNN’s broadcast site to record an interview for WCCO-TV. That would never happen today, because HOF announcements are choreographed, made for TV productions that air on national television in prime time…

•Super Bowl XXXIII, Denver 34, Atlanta 19: The game wasn’t a classic, but fun is a given when it’s Super Bowl week in South Florida. Swimming at Key Biscayne, checking out South Beach, jet skiing in the Atlantic Ocean and seeing a moon over Miami while crossing the MacArthur Causeway are some amazing takeaways. Miami’s Latin vibe makes the city a perfect super spot…

•Super Bowl XXXIX, New England 24, Philadelphia 21: Jacksonville was in the super spotlight for this game and the city displayed incredible southern charm and hospitality. After arriving at Jacksonville International Airport, I was greeted by volunteers who told me how happy they were that I showed up… A few days later, my brother Gary and I received the royal treatment on our way to the trendy commissioner’s party. We were the only two on a media bus that made the 29 mile trek from Jacksonville to Jacksonville Beach. We even got into the bash – thanks to a couple of party-goers who left early and gave us their tickets…On game day I sat in the upper level of Alltel Stadium and had a panoramic view of the Jacksonville skyline and the scenic St. John’s River. Fortunately, I was up too high to see Eagles quarterback Donovan McNabb vomit…

•Super Bowl XLI, Indianapolis 29, Chicago 17: This soggy super showdown was played in a Miami monsoon as pouring rain drenched everyone in Hard Rock Stadium… Peyton Manning won his first title and the match up between these Midwest teams was the first Super Bowl with two African-American Head Coaches – the Colts Tony Dungy and the Bears Lovie Smith … The halftime show was epic as Prince played Purple Rain in the rain…

Prince performs at Super Bowl XLI

Legendary Performance — photo courtesy: Chicago Tribune

•Super Bowl XLII, NY Giants 17, New England 14: The Patriots bid to join the Dolphins in perfectville was ruined by the Giants. New England was oh-so-close to finishing 19-0, but late in the 4th quarter the Patriots perfect dream vanished in Glendale, AZ… Did David Tyree really pin a ball to his helmet while making one of the greatest circus catches in NFL history? 18-1 wasn’t good enough for New England… It was a Giant upset and I vividly remember interviewing New York players on the confetti-covered field turf in a setting that was pure pandemonium…

•Super Bowl XLV, Green Bay 31, Pittsburgh 25: The North Texas Super Bowl turned into the North Pole Super Bowl. Ice and snow in Dallas-Ft. Worth crippled the Metroplex and ruined the super buzz… Travel was almost impossible and because of a rolling blackout, I got stuck in a light rail train seven stories below the streets of Dallas on my way to a mid-week Packers news conference (which I missed). The frigid weather even forced Green Bay to move an outdoor practice at SMU to an indoor field house at Highland Park HS in Dallas. When asked about the prep venue, HC Mike McCarthy joked that it was better than the Packers practice facility in Wisconsin… On Super Sunday at AT&T Stadium, 400 fans were relocated to other areas because a temporary seating section was deemed unsafe. They received a triple refund from the NFL…

Eric Nelson interviews a Packer player after Super Bowl XLV

A trophy season for Green Bay

•Super Bowl VLVII, Baltimore 34, San Francisco 31: The brother bowl was the storyline all week in New Orleans as Ravens HC John Harbaugh went against 49ers HC Jim Harbaugh…The siblings were the main focus until the Superdome went dark in the third quarter because of a power failure. For a couple minutes no one knew what happened. Was this an act of terrorism? Did the folks running the Superdome fail to pay their light bill? Did Beyonce’s electric half-time show blow up the dome’s power grid..? When the lights came back on, Baltimore shined the most, as Colin Kaepernick and San Francisco failed to score from the Ravens 5-yard line in the final minutes of the game…

•Super Bowl XLIX, New England 28, Seattle 24: So much for the Arizona heat. It was cool in Phoenix most of the week and there was even fog, which made for a surreal sight in the desert… But that was not nearly as odd as the Seahawks ignoring Beast Mode with 26 seconds left in the 4th quarter and denying him an opportunity to run for a game-winning touchdown. Did Russell Wilson really throw an interception to Malcom Butler at the goal line? So much for Seattle winning back-to-back Super Bowls…

•Super Bowl 50, Denver 24, Carolina 10: The golden game in the Golden State was a blast. Thanks to postcard-like California weather, San Francisco, San Jose and Santa Clara were perfect host cities. The highlight of the trip was renting a bike and exploring San Francisco. Pedaling across the Golden Gate Bridge was a pure rush, going through Haight Ashbury was totally cool, and seeing Kezar Stadium – the 49ers original home – was an unexpected bonus… On the way to the game, our media bus broke down on US 101. We waited approximately 45 minutes before being escorted to a new bus by a friendly CHIPS officer… We arrived at Levi’s Stadium just in time to see Broncos star Von Miller put on a super show with his defensive dominance…

•Super Bowl LI, New England 34, Atlanta 28 (OT): Colossal comeback or colossal collapse? Depends on your perspective. The Patriots trailed 28-3 in the third quarter, but charged back to stun the Falcons… Takeaways from Houston include seeing the archaic Astrodome (which is next to NRG Stadium), views of Minute Maid Park out my hotel window, and broadcasting a flag football charity game for ESPN3 that featured Doug Flutie, Kirk Cousins and Dallas Keuchel… The event was played at a high school stadium in Katy, TX, a Houston suburb. The facility was incredible – but not as impressive as the new $70 million prep venue that was being built a few hundred yards away and opened up in the fall of 2017…

Eric Nelson interviews Kurt Warner

Kurt Warner – Eric interviews another Super Bowl hero and member of the Pro Football Hall of Fame

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