It’s a once in a lifetime opportunity.
That’s the most common phrase used by spectators of football’s biggest game to justify going all out.
For some lucky ones, lightning can strike twice. A few Twin Cities U.S. Bank employees were kind enough to share some memories – and even photos of themselves wearing Zubaz – from Super Bowl XXVI held at the former Metrodome in downtown Minneapolis in 1992.
Dan Endy (above), director of content development for U.S. Bank payment services, landed a job working on the sidelines during Super Bowl XXVI.
He was assigned to sit behind the Washington Redskins bench and answer the dedicated phone line between team’s offensive coordinator in the booth and Redskins quarterback Mark Rypien.
At the end of the third quarter, the Redskins were winning big and the coach called and asked for Rypien. The quarterback, who later would be named game MVP, was dismayed he was still needed on the phone, but followed anyway. After the game, Rypien personally thanked Dan for his service.
“It just showed me he was a pretty cool dude,” Dan said. “It was kind of neat how giddy [the players] were. I felt like I was a part of it, even though I really didn’t have anything to do with the outcome.”
Dan got the plumb sideline assignment because at the time he was working for the Minnesota Vikings, helping with football operations and media relations.
Dan still works part-time as a game-day press box coordinator for Vikings home games. He expects to do something for next month’s Super Bowl XLII too, but said the role depends on the fate of the Vikings.
“The whole thing has become a much bigger deal. A regular-season game now is a bigger spectacle than the championship was in 1992. It’s going to be fun.”
In 1992 Bill Brady (above) spent about $300 for two tickets to see his favorite team, the Buffalo Bills, play against the Redskins.
Bill, who works with Endy in corporate communications supporting payment services, attended the game with his wife Cheryl.
Before the game, they toured the first-ever NFL Experience at the Minneapolis Convention Center to see all the hoopla. He also partied with other Bills fans to a bar in Uptown called Williams Pub (a subtle joke).
Even though his squad lost the game 37-24 (and subsequent championship games in 1993 and 1994), the Upstate New York native has remained a loyal Bills fan.
Buffalo lost in the first round of the playoffs again this year, so Bill said he definitely won’t be shelling out the small fortune (estimated $4,000 per ticket) it would cost for nosebleed seats to this year’s game at U.S. Bank Stadium.
“I think we’ll host a watching party at our house and hope the Vikings win,” Bill said.
Tara Repplier (above), vice president and risk manager of corporate routines in downtown Minneapolis, was involved in the Super Bowl XXVI as president of her Junior Achievement chapter at Anoka High School. Tara volunteered at the NFL Experience.
“It was a big deal. There was TV news and it was exciting. I worked at a bunch of different booths. The best one was when kids got to throw balls through hoops to win prizes.”
She got to meet players and famous people walking around. On the day of the game, Tara sold programs in the Metrodome.
“I snuck out onto the main floor so I could see everything. It was ridiculous. All these seats were decorated with little foam seat cushions. There were fliers and balloons. It was just overly decorated. It was crazy.”
Tara said when the players came out, it was deafening.
“It was so loud. I don’t think I’ve ever heard so many people get so excited about anything in my life.”
Tara stuck around that day staffing her post until the game concluded, when the Redskins won.
After the game, some fans offered her $50 for her Zubaz volunteer pants and $25 for her big oversized trucker hat. But she didn’t sell.
“I kept all my stuff,” she said. “I have it at home somewhere. The light blue Zubaz – they were so ugly.”
Tara remains a big football fan and attends two or three Vikings games per season. She decided not to volunteer again for this year’s game, recalling how much chaos there was surrounding the game.
“I’d rather just sit on the sidelines and watch what happens,” she said.
David Lunde (not pictured), strategic design and capacity planner in St. Paul, attended the 1992 game with a buddy from his cycling club who received two lower-level, 45-yeard-line, visitor side tickets for free from a business partner. (Similar seats are running about $10,000 each this year.)
Lunde recalls seeing Donald Trump and Muhammad Ali and other celebrities milling about the Metrodome, where the suite level opened right into the concourse. Gloria Estefan’s winter-themed half-time show was strange, but was still neat even though it focused on the home sideline.
Lunde said the game that year fell on his father’s 50th birthday, causing him a stressful dilemma over skipping his dad’s party.
Lunde said his dad made him sweat about the decision – but eventually gave his blessing.
“It seemed like a once in a lifetime event so it was too unique to pass up. I’m glad I went.”