Friday, February 12, 2016

Our Super Bowl 50 experience!

You read that right-  We have a Super Bowl 50 experience!!!
This post is to record all of my memories of the weekend. I want to remember every bit!

How did we get the chance to go to the Super Bowl?

Tim is a HUGE football fan. He has loved it since childhood, he was a QB in high school, played in college, and he was a high school football coach. 
Last year, Tim turned 50 and he is always the same age of the Super Bowl. I thought it would be incredible for him to get to go to Super Bowl 50. I started researching online how to go to the Super Bowl. I came across the Super Bowl random ticket lottery. To enter the lottery you have to send a written request by registered or certified mail from the first of February to the first of June, preceding the Super Bowl you want to attend.

If you win the lottery, you will have the ability to buy 2 tickets in the section of your choice at face value, which is the lowest price at which they are usually sold. The NFL gives away 500 pairs of tickets and in 2001, they had 36,000 applicants. You will hear whether you have won or lost in the lottery in October or November of the year before the Super Bowl. You will be sent details about how to buy the tickets from an official NFL site. [Source]

I entered the lottery and then just hoped for the best! I received a letter in early August letting me know that I was chosen in the lottery! 

I was so thrilled and shaking! Tim could not believe it when I told him!
Most people were wowed by the news and assumed that we had spent thousands of dollars on the tickets. That was not the case. Our face value for our tickets was $500. Our entire trip probably cost less than what some people paid for their tickets.
I quickly made air and hotel reservations. Our airport has a non stop flight to San Francisco so we had to take that to get there. That had me a little stressed because we had to take a couple of trains to get to San Jose where our hotel was located. I feel like I tried to do a ton of research so I would be prepared for every part of our trip!
Once we learned about our trip, the NFL season became very special to us this year. We filled out brackets with the kids for the playoffs and were very into all of the games. 
When it was determined that the Broncos would face the Panthers, we were so excited about the match up! The legendary Peyton Manning versus the "Super"Cam Newton!

Leaving on our trip

Our flight to SFO left XNA at 7:45 am, so we had to be at the airport a couple of hours early. We got up at 4:30 am and I was SO tired because I had trouble sleeping the night before.
BUT, we were so excited for our adventure!
I have to admit that I'm very anxious about flying. I get so nervous about take off and landing. I also sometimes get myself crazy thinking about the fact that I'm Our flight there was a little over 3 hours and it ended up being very smooth. I loved flying over the Rockies and the Sierra Nevadas. So beautiful!
Once in San Francisco, it started feeling a little more real!
The airport had memorabilia from every NFL team in cases. The Steelers are Tim's favorite team from childhood.
Once we ate, we headed to the BART station to make our way to San Jose. We had to change trains a couple of times, but it went very smoothly. We finally made it to our hotel, FaceTimed the kids and then took a long nap! We went to dinner and were still so tired! We made ourselves stay up until 8 pm Cali time. We got a really good night's sleep.
We FaceTimed the kiddos and then went to eat breakfast. These kiddos are super silly on FaceTime! 

Heading to the game!

After a big breakfast, we headed back to the hotel to get ready to go to the game. The NFL has strict policies on what can be brought in to the game. Basically, if you do not have a clear bag, you can't bring a bag. I decided to pare down exactly what I needed and carry everything in our pockets. I also brought my DSLR because I wanted to be able to get some nice pictures.
San Jose/Santa Clara has a light rail system and had sold game day tickets to ride the train to the game. It went very smoothly and we got right to the stadium. 
There were so many people and everyone we spoke to was so friendly- fans and workers alike!
It seems that there were definitely more Broncos fans at the game. Everyone assumed it was because it is closer to California. 
Security was intense. It was the most secure place in America that day. We saw the Department of Homeland security, military and tanks, and lots of other security. 
Since we had a Fan Pass to pick up our tickets, we got to bypass most of this mass of people waiting in line. That was a nice perk!
We got to the stadium about 3-3.5 hours before the game started.
The military keeping us safe!

Pre-Game activities

Levi's Stadium is the home of the San Francisco 49ers. It is a really new stadium that was completed in 2014. It received a Gold LEED certificate (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) making it the only NFL stadium to receive that certification as a new construction. It is so nice! I loved that their were charging stations and other electrical outlets places to charge your phones.
Warm ups
Our seats were in the upper section, but we had an incredible view of the entire stadium!
They honored the MVP's from all the past Super Bowls. It was one of my favorite parts of the entire trip to hear Tim be so excited about seeing football heroes from his childhood. He remembers every Super Bowl since he was about 10. One sad thing was when Tom Brady came out. The crowd booed him so loudly. I really felt bad for him.
We saw Joe Namath, Joe Montana, John Elway, Len Dawson Roger Staubach, Franco Harris, Lynn Swann, Fred Biletnikoff, Terry Bradshaw, Jerry Rice, Mark Rypien, Troy Aikman, Emmitt Smith, Terrell Davis, Kurt Warner, Ray Lewis, Tom Brady, Hines Ward, Peyton Manning, Eli Manning, Santonio Holmes, Drew Brees, Aaron Rodgers, and Joe Flacco.
Lady Gaga sang the National Anthem and she was incredible! Marlee Matlin performed ASL alongside her. 
Being at the Super Bowl had soaked in and I was trying to just take everything in. The national anthem, the troops overseas being shown on the jumbotron and the amazing flyover all did me in. I had lots of tears streaming down my face and I was not one bit ashamed!
 This moment:

The First Half

I had high hopes, really high hopes for this game. It was the #1 offense against the #1 defense. It was the legendary Peyton Manning and the controversial/emotional/incredible Cam Newton. 
I've always admired Peyton. He seems like a good guy and he's been a great QB. Cam, on the other hand, is a different story. I did not like him when he was at Auburn and until this year, have not thought about him much. Whether you agree with how Cam acts after great plays or after great losses, you have to admit that he is an incredible player.
I really really expected at least one great play from either QB. Sadly, that did not happen. What in the world happened with the Panthers? I guess only they know. I was a little disappointed that we didn't see much from Peyton either. However, the Denver defense was stellar in this game. There were so many sacks and fumbles. I can't remember how many times I was like, what just happened??!!??
It wasn't what I expected, but it was still a great game.
A note about prices at the stadium and other places in town: expensive! We ate at our hotel the first night and they had definitely increased their prices. The prices in the stadium were crazy too! $14 for a BBQ pork sandwich. $17 for our Pepsi in our commemorative cup and a water! They were getting their profit on for sure!
The first half was brutally hot. It was only about 72 degrees, but the sun was blasting us with no relief! Don't get me wrong, it was super nice for the beginning of February, but we were burning!

The Halftime Show

What did y'all think about the halftime show? When we first heard that Coldplay was doing the show, we were SO disappointed! We don't know any other there songs (I recognize a few and Yellow is the only one that I really like well).
This is definitely a made for television production. The sound in the stadium was so great, but during the show, they only used speakers that were on the field making it difficult to hear very well in the stadium. I thought that Coldplay did okay, but Bruno Mars really amped the energy when he came out. Apparently, Beyonce had some controversial stuff going on, but I did not know about that until later when reading about the show. I typically love her songs, but the one she did was new, so it was hard to get into. 
The crowd helped participate in two stunts, so while we held our placards up, it was difficult to see what we were creating! I did borrow a picture from (below) to see what it looked like during the show!
The reminder to get ready for the stunt!

The Second Half

The sun went down (so pretty!) and we were so much more comfortable! The stadium is just as beautiful with the lights on, if not more!
I learned to use pano on my phone! (I'm ashamed to admit that because it has been around a long time!)
The second half was pretty much like the first half. I think there was anticipation during the entire game waiting for one offense or the other to do something great. Instead, more sacks and fumbles!

The moment the clock went to 0:00! Denver Broncos, 2016 Super Bowl 50 champions!
The people sitting beside us were Broncos fans who had gotten tickets through the lottery as well. I thought they were going to cry when their team won!
 Fireworks and gold confetti!!!
 So cool to experience this moment!
 I loved the "5-0" stage!
 Von Miller being awarded the Super Bowl MVP!
Peyton Manning holding the Lombardi trophy!
We didn't want to leave! It was incredible being there and we tried to soak every bit in! 
It was fun leaving and seeing all of the super excited Broncos fans! Everyone was so gracious too. We never saw any ugliness between fans. That was great to see!

The trip home

We headed back to the train eventually to get back to our hotel. We had a delay because there was an accident on the tracks. We were starving by the time we got to our station. We stopped at a tacqueria by our hotel and the food was great! We had to pack up and get to bed because our wake up call was 3:20 am! At 1 am, people being loud outside woke us up. I was so upset that I went down to the front desk. They had already called the police. When we went down at 3:30 to call a cab, they told us they would shuttle us to the airport because they felt bad about our sleep disruption! We had to be at the airport around 3 hours early because they were expecting a ton of travelers. Our flight to Minneapolis took off at 6:25 am. It was a 4 hour flight and I didn't get to sit by Tim. The flight was completely full and had around 300 people on board! My seatmates were not talkers either! We met back up at the airport and had a 2 hour delay until our last flight. It was bitterly cold outside there! Our flight home was a 2 hour flight. It was uneventful until it was time to land. Our area was under a wind advisory and winds were gusting over 40 mph. Our landing was SUPER scary! I have never been so happy to be landed and on the ground!

It was a very quick trip, but memories to last a lifetime!
 Airport in San Jose
Championship shirt!


  1. That is SO awesome that you got to go. Such a fun weekend I'm sure.

  2. I think it is so awesome that you guys got to go to the Super Bowl! But seriously, you don't know Coldplay? I'll be honest and tell you that I couldn't tell that Beyonce's song was controversial, because we couldn't really understand the words on tv. What a memory to have though. It was cool knowing people at the Super Bowl!

    1. I know a few songs, but only one that I know the words to. I couldn't have told you before that it was Coldplay though! I couldn't hear Bey over the bass and drums! It was still so neat though!

  3. What a great picture of the flyover! You're right - that part always gets the tears going.

  4. What a wonderfully written description of your trip!

  5. I enjoyed living the super bowl vicariously through your great blog! What an amazing trip to give to your husband, who loves football. One for the memory books as well! Love your blog! Keep writing!


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