Published: February 9th, 2011 | Tags: 2011 Pro Bowl, Aaron Rodgers, Clay Matthews, Deion Sanders, Devin Hester, Larry Fitzgerald, Marshall Faulk, Mike Smith, Shannon Sharpe, Super Bowl XLV, Tony Gonzalez
Hey NFL fan! It’s Ralph Lanier Jr., your NFL Director of Fandemonium here to tell you all about my phenomenal experiences at the 2011 Pro Bowl and Super Bowl XLV. It’s been a busy and exciting couple of weeks and, sadly, these are my final two entries:
2011 Pro Bowl
My latest experience took place in the beautiful Aloha State of Hawaii, at the 2011 Pro Bowl. My wife and I arrived in Honolulu on Thursday afternoon, and we were welcomed with sunny skies and a wonderful tropical breeze. We saw some of the Pro Bowl cheerleaders in uniform poolside for a photo shoot. Then it was time to sample some of the local cuisine, which has been my favorite non-football part of being NFL Director of Fandemonium.
Friday started with breakfast and a relaxing morning on the famous Waikiki Beach. After lunch, we took a sailing trip off Honolulu looking for whales. Our voyage on the Spirit of Aloha was very exciting. The captain allowed me to take the wheel for a short time, which was another dream come true.
Our Saturday began with the Pro Bowl practice at Aloha Stadium. The local kids were having a blast seeing all their favorite players. The mascots and cheerleaders also put on a show for the fans. Later that evening, we attended the All-Star Block Party near Waikiki, which included some great music and food. The crowds were large, and we saw fans wearing jerseys from all the NFL teams. Some of the local restaurants had booths with chefs preparing dishes to order. We had a great time!
Sunday, game day, finally arrived, and I was very excited to be in Hawaii to enjoy my experience the NFL had planned for me. My NFL Director of Fandemonium experience for the Pro Bowl was to call a play for the NFC Squad.
Coach Mike Smith of the Atlanta Falcons and his staff gave me a list of three different plays. The play I called was 0-Weak – Fake 34 Gut X DBL Reverse Rt. The play would start with QB Matt Ryan faking the run to the fullback and pitching the ball back to WR Larry Fitzgerald going left and then Fitzgerald handing off to WR Devin Hester coming back to the right. The NFC players executed it perfectly for a 20-yard gain. My play set up the NFC’s third TD of the game — a pass from Ryan to TE Tony Gonzalez for a 21-0 lead. My one and only time to be an offensive coordinator in the NFL was a success.
All of the coaches and some of the players told me it was a great call for the situation. Afterward, Coach Smith and Hester signed autographs for me on a Pro Bowl mini-helmet. My Pro Bowl experience sent me to NFL heaven, and even after several hours, the effects have lingered.
Now it’s off to North Texas for the Super Bowl! This season has flown by so fast and has been an amazing journey so far. Thanks to the NFL and Monster.com for all the amazing experiences. Until next week, Aloha NFL fans!
Super Bowl XLV
My son, Jake, joined me on this trip to North Texas. It was his first Super Bowl and also the first time he has seen snow!
On Friday, our first stop was the NFL Experience at the Dallas Convention Center in downtown Dallas. We had an amazing time playing all the games and seeing the NFL players present who were talking with fans from all around the globe. They had tons of movies and videos from past Super Bowls and playoff games that brought back great memories for me! Jake participated in all the skills challenges and games. He had an awesome time. I would recommend the NFL Experience to all fans, young and old!
On Saturday, we attended a Green Bay Packers fan rally in Arlington near the Cowboys Stadium. It was great to see all the Fandemonium running rampant through all the cheeseheads. It’s obvious how much the Packers mean to them. We met several fans, the governor of Wisconsin and the mayors of Green Bay and Arlington. They were very hyped up about the game and hoping for a Packers victory.
There is only one word to describe the experience at the stadium — incredible. Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones sure made a masterpiece with Cowboys Stadium. It is the Colosseum of its time. The massive HD screen that hangs over mid-field changes the way the game is watched.
My experience for this trip was to be able to go on the field for the coin-toss ceremony. Being in a crowd that included newly elected Pro Football Hall of Fame members Deion Sanders, Shannon Sharpe and Marshall Faulk was an experience I will remember for the rest of my life. I was even able to meet NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell, who was so gracious to all of the NFL fans this year. He did a great job orchestrating this year’s Super Bowl.
The Bridgestone Halftime Show was also a huge success. The Black Eyed Peas put on a great performance, and we were surprised to see Usher and Slash!
The game itself was fairly indescribable. Aaron Rodgers led the Packers to victory, and the Pittsburgh offense had no answer for Clay Matthews. All of the Pittsburgh fans were showing full support until the final seconds, and the Green Bay fans were simply ecstatic when the Packers prevented a fourth-down conversion in the final seconds.
I thank the NFL and Monster.com for giving me these great experiences this past year. It has been the highlight of my life, and I know there is no way anything can come close to being as great. The Super Bowl was a fantastic time and I will never forget it.
- Ralph Lanier Jr.