Elijah Akhtarzad ’15 and Noah Gains ’15 were two out of 70,000 fans attendance at the Superdome on Feb. 3 in New Orleans to see linebacker Ray Lewis and the Baltimore Ravens win Super Bowl XLVII.
“It was more than just a football game,” Akhtarzad said. “It was about the atmosphere of the entire city.”
Akhtarzad flew into New Orleans with his father on Friday night before the game to participate in pregame festivities. He felt the bustling atmosphere of the game before even landing in New Orleans.
“The plane to New Orleans was completely packed with people going to the game,” Akhtarzad said. “Everyone on the plane was either wearing purple or red. The plane was so packed that the airline was announcing that they would pay people $600 to give their ticket back because they were so overbooked.”
Both Akhtarzad and Gains went to The NFL Experience, an event for fans in New Orleans to meet NFL players and take part in football-related games and activities.
Gains was able to meet NFL MVP Adrian Peterson the day after he won the award.
“I got to shake the hand of the man who ran for over 2000 yards,” Gains said.
“The streets were packed with people,” Akhtarzad said. “Even a line to buy t-shirts seemed like it went for a mile. The streets near the Super Dome were closed before the game, and the only cars that were allowed to drive by had the players and coaches. We saw both teams wave to us going to the stadium.”
Both Gains and Akhtarzad arrived at the Stadium an hour before the game.
“It was packed before the game,” Gains said. “The atmosphere was amazing It was on a whole other level than anything I have ever been to.”
Gains and Akhtarzad both called the 34-minute blackout in the stadium during the third quarter a weird experience.
“They easily could have played during the blackout,” Akhtarzad said. “It wasn’t dark at all in the stadium, and everyone could see. But the water in the stadium wasn’t working. We didn’t really know what was going on for 20 minutes until a PA announcer said that there was a small power outage. We were pretty upset that we had to wait 34 minutes until the lights came back on.”
“Fans started booing once the lights went out, but because we were on the Ravens’ side, Terrell Sugs and Ed Reid were hyping up the fans in our area,” Gains said.
Both Akhtarzad and Gains are not fans of either team, but they both called the game a “once in a lifetime experience.”
“It was more than just two teams going at it in a football game,” Akhtarzad said. “The entire weekend revolves around the game.”
“It was my first Super Bowl,” Gains said. “I would say that it’s probably up there with the greatest sporting event that I have ever been to.”