Super Bowl LIV: Dream comes true for Merrill student

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Super Bowl LIV: Dream comes true for Merrill student
Mar 3, 2020

Whenever friends and family ask me about my experience covering the Super Bowl, I tell them it felt like a dream. When I say this, I’m not trying to dodge the question; I’m trying to provide the most accurate answer. Covering the Super Bowl truly felt like a dream.

Growing up as a sports fan, I always wanted to go to the Super Bowl. When I developed an interest in sports writing, I made it my goal to cover the event. This year, the Povich Center gave me that opportunity.

Merrill College graduate student Ryan McFadden covered Super Bowl LIV in Miami for the Povich Center and Capital News Service.

In the months, weeks and days leading up to the trip, I kept my mind focused on the logistics of planning, packing and preparation. But when I got off the plane in Miami, the reality hit me.

The week leading up to the game provided a lifetime of thrills. Even waking up at 4 a.m. to attend the Kansas City Chiefs press conference felt like an adventure.

I’m not going to lie, I was a little nervous at first. Who wouldn’t be, especially sitting next to ESPN’s Adam Schefter and other reporters who have been covering the NFL for their entire careers? But once I started talking to those reporters and observing their interactions with coaches and players, I started to feel like I belonged.

I crossed paths with current and former NFL players and other celebrities on a daily basis. By the end of the week, though, walking past Donovan McNabb and DeAndre Hopkins felt like passing coworkers in the hallway at the office. We were all professionals with jobs to do.

When I walked through the Hard Rock Stadium gates for game day, though, I felt like a little kid going to Disney World for the first time. The atmosphere was unlike any sporting event I’ve ever attended. Five hours before kick off, the stadium already was buzzing and filled with life.

The electricity only grew as Kansas City fans filled out the stands, making it feel like a Chiefs home game, and as their young quarterback Patrick Mahomes led his team to a double-digit fourth-quarter comeback win against the San Francisco 49ers.

Before this year, I had watched so many teams hoist the precious Lombardi Trophy from the comfort of my home or college dorm. But it was completely different to witness that moment in person, as I could fully understand what players feel when they’ve reached the pinnacle of football.

I wished the moment could have lasted forever, but I knew I had a deadline to meet. Still, when I woke up the next day, I knew my Super Bowl experience was no longer a dream — it was a reality. And I hope I can turn many more dreams like this into reality as I continue my sports journalism career.

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