Deep Thoughts

Super Blog—Family Plan

When a player earns his dream trip to the Super Bowl, he does not live that dream alone. His family can go along for the ride, and in some cases that can be a huge distraction for players. Tickets, hotel rooms, transportation—it can prove far more stressful than playing the game.

Players receive 2 comp tickets and can buy up to 13 more through the NFL at face value, which this year was $900 / ticket.  Players from the winning team receive an $88,000 bonus and losing players get $44k. Most players simply have that ticket money withdrawn from the bonus money—and they consider it a worthwhile investment. Most players buy every seat they can find, understanding it could be a once-in-a-lifetime event. Players were also able to get a 2nd hotel room through the team, but not much else.

I had to chance to meet up with several players’ families this week, and Saturday and I saw the impact of family first hand.

I had arranged to meet with Megan Blackburn, wife of Giants Linebacker and Marysville native Chase Blackburn, at the team hotel lobby. They have an 18-month old son and a new little guy, just 3 months old. Both will be in the stadium Sunday to watch daddy.

So I met Megan in the lobby—she was the only person pushing a stroller. The lobby was crawling with Giants fans—wall to wall blue jerseys. So as we’re chatting, up walks Chase with their newborn—he was giving the little man a nap in his room but it was feeding time so he came down to meet us.  Instantly, Chase was swarmed by Giants fans for autographs and pictures, and one guy just said “Chase, sir, all I want is to shake your hand.“

All this while he’s holding a newborn—Talk about balancing family and celebrity.  We were shepherded away from the crowd to a spot where we could chat. It was a pleasure to see how a young family was working through the balance of stress vs. excitement in Super Bowl week. They realize their good fortune in being here (it’s actually Chase’s 2nd Super Bowl-his Giants won SB 42 4 years ago) but understand the challenges of making a trip like this work. It’s a welcome headache for a guy who just two months ago was out of football and considering a job as a substitute math teacher at a Dublin middle school.

Perhaps the best news for Chase is that players must stay in their own room the night before the game. So no 3am baby feedings for him. I’d imagine Chase slept like a baby himself last night.

The pride these families show—it’s hard to measure. It’s a reminder of what the Super Bowl has become and what it means to the average American.

Posted by on 02/05 at 08:39 AM
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