Ten minutes into the first big event of Super Bowl 50 week, Opening Night, I realized what stands out about this sporting event.
It wasn’t just that the Panthers and the Broncos players were all introduced on an elaborate replica of the Golden Gate Bridge. It wasn’t just that they descended into the surge of reporters for interviews.
Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning made me see it: the Super Bowl is a lot about reflecting on moments that matter to people.
Manning answered a question about god knows what related to the Super Bowl because it was too loud in there to hear people on the floor. Still, his answer came clearly through the microphone: “It’s fun for me, it’s exciting for our first-year players. … Seeing other people enjoying the moment reminds me that I need to enjoy it as well.”
Isn’t everyone here to enjoy a moment? Whether they are playing on a football field, watching people playing on a football field, or writing about the whole spectacle?
For Panthers linebacker Luke Kuechly, this night illuminated a moment of compassion. A reporter asked him if the tough guy had a soft side — what movie last brought him closest to tears? A movie about a military mission, it turns out.
“‘Lone Survivor,’ have you seen that one?” Kuechly said. “It hits you and you realize that that stuff’s real, everything those guys do is for us and we appreciate what they do.”
For Broncos linebacker Brandon Marshall, his favorite moment of the season happened before opening night: “Just beating the Patriots last week, for the second time this season. And that’s hard to do. To beat the Patriots twice and especially to beat them and go to the Super Bowl, I think that’s so hard.” (Added bonus: “the confetti coming down.”)
For these guys in the fan section, it was unraveling their Mexican flag in front of a couple of cameras:
For Kyle Reid, a self-described “huge Broncos fan,” his moment was rooted in seeing his team so close-up. His favorite moment of tonight: “Probably just seeing all of the players live. This is my very first media day that I’ve been to. This is a great experience.”
For Bao Tran, a Panthers fan whose wife bought him a Super Bowl ticket, his favorite moment came with proximity to the players at opening night: “I like the intros, like having all the players up there so that we see them all. At least we get to see that.”
For me, tonight’s great moment passed when I first heard the crowd cheering, making a ruckus. I loved the rumble it sent through the floor, the weirdness of a ton of people wearing different team allegiances, or none at all, screaming together in the spirit of the opening night event.
They didn’t hesitate to make noise.
Photos: Katie Toussaint