(Editor’s Note: This article was provided by Mark Davison, podcaster for BTSC, and I am just providing this avenue for him to share his tale.)
G’day Behind The Steel Curtain, my name is Mark Davison and I’m a podcaster here at BTSC. Many of you might recognize me from the show Steelers Touchdown Under show with my co-host Matty Peverell. We go live every Saturday night on YouTube and I’m very thankful for my opportunity, as it’s loads of fun. However I wanted to reach out to the BTSC audience and explain my Super Bowl experiences.
I have been very fortunate to attend two Super Bowl weeks in their designated host cities. While I am very thankful and appreciative for my experiences, a lot of personal drive and will power made my dreams come true. Super Bowl Sunday, or Super Bowl Monday for other Australians like myself down under, is the best day of the year. While It can be argued that Christmas day might be the most important day of the calendar year, I will argue until the cows come home that the Super Bowl is the best day, no matter who is playing.
Move over Santa Claus it’s time to acknowledge the brilliant day and week that is Super Bowl week. Two football teams out of 32 franchises have a chance to win it all and put their name in football history forever.
My first Super Bowl experience was Super Bowl 50 in San Francisco. The actual football game was played In Santa Clara, about one hour from San Fran. However the real party took place in the host city which features the Golden Gate Bridge. My dream as a football fan, and a Pittsburgh Steelers fan growing up, was to be a part of a Super Bowl. The Steelers lost that year to the Denver Broncos, so that part of the story loomed; however, it didn’t stop me from having the best time of my life.
My first few days in San Francisco I walked around the embarcadero down near the waterfront. The city turned into NFL football heaven as skyscrapers were covered In Super Bowl 50 logos. NFL fans walking around town wore their favorite jerseys from Bo Jackson to starting Denver quarterback Peyton Manning. Wherever you looked, walked or talked to someone, it was football related. For myself, that is football heaven, as I could talk about the game non-stop. Walking around town carrying my Terrible Towel asking people to take photos of me in front of the huge Super Bowl logo was an unforgettable experience. One of those moments where you look to the skies and silently mumble under your breathe “holy French toast I’m here.”
My second Super Bowl experience was the year after Super Bowl 50, located in Houston Texas. While I won’t go into detail why the Steelers didn’t make Super Bowl 51, but let’s just say that loss was hard to stomach. While working in Canada I met friends, and one Bloke in particular, who was a Patriots fan. You are most likely thinking, “no way Mark, a Pats fan?! What the blooming heck are you doing?” In all honesty, my friend was a good guy and we planned to visit Houston for Super Bowl 51.
The theme around Super Bowl week in the host cities are very familiar with lots of fans coming from all around the world to enjoy the game. Houston was no different as you would expect NFL players and celebrities taking part in a huge week. My experience was very cool, to say the least, as for NFL player sighting goes we spotted about 14 players.
Players like Tyrann Mathieu to Ray Lewis, but we shall get to that story in just a moment. I still remember the day, time and location where I yelled out to Adam Schefter. “Hey Schefty your awesome mate” and Schefty replied with a simple nod of approval. These are types of occurrences while enjoying the host city and the NFL Super Bowl week. Walking to grab lunch one day, in one of the numerous hotels that surround the NFL festivities we were lucky enough to walk past the great Chris Berman, aka “Boomer”, and to this day I still imagine him saying “Wooooop!” as we crossed paths.
Super Bowl 51 was an unbelievable comeback story for the Patriots and a complete fumble for the Falcons. While this made news all over the globe, and will be talked about forever and a day. The bigger story the day before was the tackle never seen or heard by anyone but Mark Davison and Ray Lewis.
One day before Super Bowl 51 my friend and I were walking around the NFL experience. Huge tents filled with NFL players and NFL analysts were all over the shop. Lucky us, as we both were walking past one of these tents I yelled “I wanna be on TV!” As soon as I bombastically exhaled these words to the world a television assistant working with the NFL said “Okay, finish your drink. Let’s go.”
Shocked, we downed our drinks and walked onto the set of a live tapping covering the Super Bowl. While standing in the Studio wearing my custom made “Davison” No. 21 Pittsburgh Steeler jersey, behind me stood one of the greatest linebackers to ever play the game.
That man was Pro Football Hall Of Famer Ray Lewis from the Baltimore Ravens.
While I understand the huge rivalry between the Steelers and Ravens, maybe that day I shouldn’t have got excited and kept my cool. But I tell you what, Ray Lewis did not forget about the heated AFC North Rivalry either.
As I’m standing watching and listening to the NFL Broadcast, Ray Lewis roams past me and gives me a shoulder barge. Nothing too cheap or solid enough to forcefully push me to the ground. Just a slight nudge to say yep the rivalry was still there. No words spoken by Ray as everyone had to be quiet on set; however, the message was clear by wearing my Pittsburgh Steeler gear Lewis wanted to tackle the Black and Gold like old times. Thinking back, that might have been Ray Lewis’s last tackle vs. the Steelers Lewis No. 52 vs Davison No. 21.
If I can drive the point home a little more and describe how it felt to be there. My feeling while walking around the NFL makeshift city scattered with fans everywhere is the same feeling you get when you find your car keys after searching for what seems like hours! The overly whelming joy and happiness of finding your keys is exactly how it felt to be a part of Super Bowl 50 in San Francisco, and Super Bowl 51 in Houston.
I encourage every Behind The Steel Curtain podcast listener and reader to attend a Super Bowl One year with or without the Steelers participating in the big game. Truly one of the most unforgettable times of your life and there is no way you’ll have a bad time.