JP's Super Bowl Weekend Recap
Posted 5:01 PM February 3, 2015 by Jarrett Payton
Since 1999, I’ve attended every Super Bowl. That year was especially memorable because the NFL decided to name the NFL Man of the Year Award in my father’s honor, now known as the Walter Payton Man of the Year Award. Besides the usual buzz that comes with the Super Bowl, there was something truly electric about Super Bowl 49. We were blessed with one of the finest sites, great weather (depending on where you live) and a game that will be talked about for years to come.
All the fun started Friday with the commissioner’s press conference where we first met the Walter Payton Finalists in the green room before the WP MOTY award press conference. Anquan Boldin was accompanied by his wife, Dion, and Thomas Davis was accompanied by his wife, Kelly. My family had a great time enjoying a small breakfast while we chatted with both families. I’ve known Anquan since 1999 when we were both RBK All-Americans. It was great sitting with him talking about old memories and how life has evolved. Thomas Davis was up for the WP MOTY award last year, so over the last year I’ve gotten a chance to know him better. From the green room we headed out to the stage for the press conference where my sister Brittney gave the Family’s remarks on the three finalists. She did a wonderful job as always. Standing onstage taking pictures with the finalists is always a good time and a great honor.
After the press conference we went to FireSky Resort for the Walter Payton MOTY luncheon presented by Nationwide. The room was packed with family, friends, NFL officials and the great people from Nationwide. Former recipients Charles Tillman and Peyton Manning were also in attendance. I even had a chance to get a selfie with the commissioner, Roger Goodell!
The luncheon finished a little ahead of schedule, giving the family and me a chance to take in the sites of downtown Phoenix. We stopped by the Roman Numerals for a picture and upon returning to the hotel I ran into Sway! He was taken aback when I told him who I was, but I was in awe because I grew up watching him on MTV. We didn’t talk football, but we did chat about Lil Wayne’s new mixtape, Sorry For The Wait 2. We were both in agreement it’s good, but not his best work. Super cool guy!
Saturday the family and I made our way to the NFL Honors. The red carpet is always fun, you have to come dressed to impress. My wife and I got a chance to chat with one her favorite players, Green Bay Packers RB Eddie Lacy, during the cocktail reception. Once the NFL honors starts it always exciting to sit back and watch the recap of the wonderful year of football. My sister and I made it back to the green room in preparation to present the award on stage with Roger Goodell. This year the winner was Thomas Davis from the Carolina Panthers. He gave a compelling speech challenging all the players in the NFL to give back. Backstage my sister and I took a picture with him and the WP Man of the Year Award, I know my dad would be so proud of the work Thomas is doing in his community.
As we were leaving the NFL Honors I stopped and spoke with one of my favorite RB’s in the NFL, from the Pittsburgh Steelers, Le’Veon Bell. I told him his game is special and to keep working hard at his craft. He is a rising star in the NFL.
The big day finally arrived and Super Bowl Sunday was everything and then some! Pulling up to University of Phoenix Stadium, I had this feeling I was in for a classic matchup.
For the past 4 years my wife and I take a photo outside of the Super Bowl as a pre-game ritual. This year we both couldn’t wait to get inside and take in the view from our seats. Once we stepped into the arena I could feel the electricity. I had feelings as if I was going to be playing in the game that day. The walk down to our seats was amazing! So many fans, so many of them snapping pictures with their phones and posting them to social media. I was right there with them, this was our view from our seats…breathtaking!
It was time, the NFL came to get my sister and I to head down to the field. This year as I was walking to the elevator Charles Tillman came up behind me and scared the life out of me. Then, of course, we took a Super Bowl selfie.
Being down on the field for Super Bowl Sunday is something you can’t even explain. The feeling will never get old; my adrenaline is pumping as fireworks are going off and the teams take the field. This year though, the atmosphere was something that I’ve never seen before. Walking around the field I didn’t pass up the opportunity to snap a few pictures. As we made our way around to the Seahawks sideline we ran into Chicago Bears WR Brandon Marshall. Chicago was in the building, we all posed for a photo before Brandon had to get back to work.
Walking out to the podium is always an exhilarating experience. Having Charles up there this year with my sister and I, presenting it to Thomas Davis, made it even more enjoyable. I was in great company out on the field.
Making my way back up to my seats I ran into one of my favorite Rappers, Rick Ross! The crazy thing was he knew who I was. He said he follows what I’m doing. Rick Ross follows what I’m doing? WOW! Kind of upset I didn’t get a picture. Maybe next time. My sister and I are huge Breaking Bad fans and we looked across from our seats and we saw Aaron Paul a/k/a Jesse Pinkman.
The weekend was a huge success! As a family we couldn’t be happier about Thomas Davis winning the Walter Payton Man of the Year award. For me going to the Super Bowl gives me time to connect with my family as we enjoy the game my dad loved so much. Big thank you has to go out to the NFL for elevating and helping my family and I keep my father’s legacy alive. Next I would like to thank the great people from Nationwide Insurance for being such a great sponsor of this award. Every person that was affiliated with the company has the same passion as the Payton family, helping make this world a better place. Now that football is over, like most NFL fans I am looking forward to training camp already. Another great year in the books, See you next year in San Francisco!