Forgive me for going off-course for a second, but I want to share a story with all of you. Thanks for indulging my desire to share my first-hand account of this game and that weekend in particular.
Super Bowl XXV holds a special place for me, as it was the first Super Bowl I attended in person. It had a short turnaround, as the game was played one week after the Championship round, without the customary one-week break between the games. As a lifelong fan of the Buffalo Bills, I had vowed that I would attend their first Super Bowl game, wherever it was played.
In the AFC Championship game, the Bills put up 41 points in the first half on the Oakland Raiders and cruised to a 51-3 win. I had made a little wager in Las Vegas, and flew back on Monday to collect on it. That money was enough to pay for my round trip air fare from Los Angeles to Tampa with hopefully enough left to buy my Super Bowl ticket.
Without a ticket in hand, or knowing where I would secure one, I took a red-eye flight on Friday night and landed in Tampa Saturday morning. I was on a mission.
By Saturday afternoon I was still searching, and worked my way over to the Tampa Stadium. There was a big tent set up for a party for the media and corporate sponsors. Somebody outside the tent was offering to sell his ticket to the event, and I paid him the $25.00 face value to enter, in hopes that I could get a lead on a ticket. I saw ex-Bills quarterback Jack Kemp, but he didn't offer any help.
I approached maybe 10 people in the tent and the results were the same, so I figured this wasn't the right place to look. I made my way over to the big bar in the tent and shared a drink with Bubby Brister. This was Super Bowl XXV, and the Silver Anniversary All-Time Super Bowl team then paraded by in their matching coats, and I got a few pictures of the Silver Anniversary team.
The day of the game, I was getting a little more frantic. I approached anybody and everybody outside of the stadium, and nobody had a ticket for sale. I don't know where the scalpers were, because they were nowhere around the stadium. With roughly 10 minutes left for kickoff, I dejectedly sat down across from the will-call window, resigned to the fact that I wasn't going to get in to the game. I watched a man pick up his envelope of tickets from will-call, and then he walked over directly to me.
He asked if I needed a ticket. I said I did. He asked me how much I was willing to pay. Without missing a beat I said, "Whatever is in my wallet," which was $400.00. He said, "Done deal." I then proceeded to follow him into the stadium. It turns out he was a boyhood friend of a legendary NFL quarterback that appeared in one of the first five Super Bowl games, who shall remain nameless. The tickets were at midfield, behind the Bills bench and 25 rows up from the field. Talk about perfection.
I noticed the ticket had a cool hologram, the first Super Bowl tickets to incorporate the hologram design to fight forgery. The man saw the look on my face when I realized where we were sitting and said that he should have charged me more, and then started laughing. From then until the end of the game, which the New York Giants won 20-19, I was on the edge of my seat, especially waiting for Scott Norwood to attempt his fatal 47-yard field goal attempt, the famous "Wide Right" kick.
The crowd for that game was 73,813. The television audience was only 79.5 million viewers, even with a close game.The average face value of tickets by the way had jumped by an additional $25.00 for the second straight year, up to $150.00.
I was happy to have attended the game, and thankful that things worked out in the end. It would have been great to have witnessed a Bills win, but it wasn't meant to be. How unique is my story compared to what other people have done to see their team play in the Super Bowl? Not sure, but hopefully we painted a picture that other people can relate to. By the way, I still have that hologram ticket stub to this day, and the hologram is still as clear as it was on the day I bought it.