My Super Bowl memories: The solemn 9/11 tribute and the introduction to Tom Brady

Willard Scott, naked people, Paul McCartney, The Weather Channel, an obscure long-snapper, the Make-A-Wish Foundation and all-night typing.

You have your Super Bowl memories.

I have mine.

I went to six Super Bowls, enough to have nice memories and to remind me that the circus can get old.

These VI days, I’ll recall each of them:

Super Bowl XXXVI, New Orleans, 2002:

This was the first post-9/11 Super Bowl, one of the first major sporting events. The World Series the previous October had been such an emotional event, with three games played at Yankee Stadium, and it was as much a time of reverence as relief.

By the time New Orleans opened its arms for the Super Bowl, it seemed OK to celebrate a little. But it also brought one of the most touching 9/11 tributes I saw. At halftime, gauzy screens fell from the stadium ceiling, and the names of all the victims from the World Trade Center, the Pentagon and the Pennsylvania airline crash were projected onto them.

There was a massive security presence at the game. Simply entering the Superdome was a 20-minute ordeal, even arriving three hours before kickoff.

The Rams were in their second Super Bowl in three years, with that fast-paced offense they called “The Greatest Show on Turf,” an offense that was a precursor to a lot of what is now commonplace in the NFL.

Image result for super bowl xxxvi logo

This was the game where the Tom Brady Legend began. Then in his second season, Brady started the year as the back-up to Drew Bledsoe, but was forced into action when Bledsoe got hurt.

The Rams erased a 17-3 New England lead to tie the game at 17-all with 1:30 to play, and the first overtime in Super Bowl history seemed likely.

But Brady completed five quick, short-yardage passes, got Adam Vinatieri in field goal range for the game-winner, and the Patriots won at the final horn.

I wish I had more memories of that Super Bowl. That’s a combination of covering too many sporting events in New Orleans and they’ve blurred together. And, yes, too many evenings in New Orleans that become a blur.

I do remember, though, sitting down at one Bourbon Street bar and only a few seats away, enjoying a cocktail with a friend, was Paul Hornung, the Packers’ great.

Jerry Kramer, Max McGee and Paul Hornung

I couldn’t help but think of the terrific early Super Bowl lore, how Hornung and Max McGee stayed out all night before the first Super Bowl, neither of them figuring to play. Then McGee was forced into the game because a Packers’ teammate was injured. McGee forever has a spot in history as the man who scored the first touchdown in Super Bowl history.

Meanwhile, the day after I spotted Hornung on Bourbon Street, that guy named Brady had his first touchdown pass in Super Bowl history. Don’t know about you, but I’ll be fine if he never throws another one.

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