A Week Like No Other: Super Bowl LV

By: Giovanni Diaz

Left to Right (Aguilar, Anthony; Cassidy, Lindsey; Cribbs, Adam; Long, Bailey; Ledesema, Jose; Horsfield, Rob; Diaz, Giovanni)

Leading up to Super Bowl LV, a group of SF Dons had the opportunity of a lifetime when they were able to intern for the NFL as Super Bowl Community Ambassadors. With help from Dr. Sloper, Dr. Agha, and the University of San Francisco, the group achieved something that seemed improbable back when we started the Sport Management MA program amidst a pandemic. We worked a Super Bowl! The Community Ambassador Team supported the host committee throughout the Tampa Bay area at various events during Super Bowl LV. The NFL shut down Tampa Bay’s Downtown corridor along the Riverwalk, the same river where the Tampa Bay Buccaneers held their victory parade and where Tom Brady threw his best pass ever. 

The Ambassador internship had many different roles and locations to choose from, like Official NFL CITY OF TAMPA WELCOME COMMITTEE at Tampa International Airport, NFL CITY OF TAMPA Tour Guideat local hotels, NFL CREDENTIAL ADMINISTRATION at Ambassador Headquarters, NFL AMBASSADOR CHECK-IN at Tampa Bay Convention Center, NFL ACTIVITIES, TECHNOLOGY, & RECREATION at Tampa’s Children’s Museum, and my position as NFL SUPER BOWL LV Experience Organizer at Julian B. Lane Park. My role was to oversee the Super Bowl Experience, a free two-week interactive football theme park leading up to Super Bowl LV. The experience offered virtual meet and greets with current players & legends, photo ops with the Vince Lombardi trophy, photo ops with the 54 Super Bowl championship rings, daily mock draft/ combine experiences, and so much more. The experience covered Julian B. Lane Park, Curtis Hixon Park, Technology Village, and Armature Works. An unprecedented reservation system was used for every experience admittance that dealt with the many public health protocol modifications. For admission to the park, fans and ambassadors had their temperatures read, registered to NFL OnePass App for an electronic ticket, and were given NFL branded travel hand sanitizers, face masks, and disinfecting wipes when being admitted. 

As an organizer at SB LV, I worked with the Director of Community Ambassadors, and my role was to assist with a football clinic consisting of ten different football drills. We arrived early, and once checked in, we assembled the clinic area, systematized the check-in process, structured our giveaways and pre-arranged spaces, so children could queue up and be socially distant. Keeping a controlled environment was the hardest part of the process. There were many people turned away because we were at capacity. The first day, I lost my voice because I was in a constant battle with the SBX’s P.A. system. Once I was in the groove of things, I noticed the joy these activities brought out in the kids. The pinnacle of the day was when a boy in a motorized wheelchair and his father were out there tossing the football, and the surrounding parents and coaches cheered. The spotlight on that family moved so many parents to tears, and we even gave the dad a youth XL shirt because we didn’t have adult sizes for him. Being amongst the crowd and witnessing the happiness radiating from that family made me realize sporting events and other types of events surrounding sport allow people to experience blissful lifetime memories that are cherished forever. The internship was a learning experience and a realization that my good deed of the day can always be fulfilled working in the sport industry.

During my week there, the Director of Community Ambassadors mentioned that the NFL always has these ambassador positions leading up to the Super Bowl. For those interested in becoming a 2022 Community Ambassador, registrations will become available in the Summer, and applications will be on the future Los Angeles Super Bowl LVI website.

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