Okay, so in the spirit of the off season I was asked to post some of my pics from Super Bowl XL. I know, what the h-e-double toothpicks does this have to do with the 'Niners? Well, actually, nothing. Except for the fact that while I was waiting for my time to present the national colors for the event I actually met Jerry Rice. While I can not find the pictures anymore of him, I thought it would be a good idea to at least show everyone some pics and tell everyone my experiences and what it takes to kick-off the worlds largest sporting event.
In September of 2005 I was serving in a unit that trains Soldiers to go overseas for the wars in Afghanistan, Iraq and the peace keeping mission in Kosovo. We were told that the Air Force Base in Michigan where I was stationed at the time were tasked with presenting the National Colors for the Super Bowl. Being one of the few Soldiers in my unit with any experience with Color Guard, I was tasked to help. In October the Color Guard was Integrated with 2 members of the Marine Corps, 3 members of the Air Force, 1 member of the Navy, 1 member of the Coast Guard, 3 members of the Army and 2 Merchant Marines. The Air Force being in charge of the event as they were the ones originally tasked had the overall Non-Commissioned Officer (NCO) In charge, he was the one taking the pics. The Army traditionally carries the Army Colors and the National Colors (just a bit of trivia for you trivia nuts) in mixed forces events, I had the honor of carrying the National Colors. Usually the Marines will have both rifle guards and Marine Corp Colors (the Marine recruiting station that "loaned us" theirs had 2 to spare off mission). The other services all carry their own Colors and we got the two Merchant Marines for drumming to keep us in step.
We spent months of training get it all down. I missed many games :( that year. But, I kept up on how the 'Niners were doing and figured out pretty early there was no way they were gonna be there, despite my own personal feelings of the matter. We got together quite often to ensure we were in tune with one another, as when doing this event the whole group must appear to move as one. Every step must be perfect, because we are on the biggest stage of our lives. Finally, the days leading up to the event we got to get on the field and practice live. How we come in, where we are coming in from and how we retreat after the "National Anthem". All of this must be coordinated with members of the NFL, NFL Films, ABC affiliates and Ford Field PR personnel. Yes, it literally involves that many people to find out the specifics of where to do your part.
Finally the day of the Super Bowl, we were in the tunnel awaiting our time to go out when all of the previous Super Bowl MVP's walked up next to us. Let me tell you, seeing them in person is an impressive event, especially all of them, regardless of your feelings toward some of the teams they played on, or the person themselves you can't help but to be awestruck. John Elway is every bit as big as he looks. Jerry Rice is lively and humble. Bart Starr is - Bart Starr, hard to describe someone that is that distinguished in the football community. There were many more, but I wont go into every single one we met. We got some pictures of them and some signed autographs. I didn't have anything to write on with me (stupid, I know) at the time, so I couldn't get one from my all-time favorite football player - Mr. Rice. Our NCO in charge was busy getting pictures of the teams coming in through the larger tunnel (the tunnel is split with a concrete wall that separates all of the media groups and the teams).
Anyways, we are introduced and we present the National Colors for the singing of the "National Anthem" by Aretha Franklin, Aaron Neville featuring Dr John's Choir. It is extremely hard to hear as people are cheering, talking, whatnot, the Color Guard Group NCO is trying to maintain the inflection of his voice, the drums are beating and your own heart is POUNDING out of your throat. You must maintain a solid face, no movement and your eyes MUST maintain a gaze straight forward as cameras are moving all about you trying to get close-ups of the Flag you are holding. My wife DVR'd the Super Bowl so I could see it and what you saw at home was about three seconds of the Color Guard. Yes, my wife got the pleasure of staying home for the event with the kids, as we received one ticket each to stay and watch the game. We all know the outcome of the game, and being behind the Pittsburgh Steelers' End Zone; I have no idea if Ben made it in - too many bodies in front of me.
Anyways, that's what it takes to present the National Colors for the Super Bowl. Hope you enjoy the pictures I could find of it.