What to Expect at the Super Bowl Experience
Photo by saje/Fotolia
Of all the events happening in around the Twin Cities for Super Bowl LII, two ongoing ones reign supreme. There's Super Bowl LIVE presented by Verizon, which we saw set up in the days leading up to Super Bowl week, but then there's the Super Bowl Experience driven by Genesis, which got its “NFL interactive theme park” ready under the more secretive wraps of the Minneapolis Convention Center.
Jared Quade, Twin Cities local, football fan and sports history aficionado—he not only knew who the Duluth Eskimos were, but he could wear their jersey to match the Super Bowl Experience's display on the 1920s team—went this past Tuesday right at 3 p.m. open with neutral expectations. He stayed more than three hours exploring all there was to do and left with a smile on his face. Here's his take:
Three (of many) Things to Do
1. Get ready to play hard.
“You can have a head-to-head race. You start and the guy says go, and it'll mark your time when you cross the infrared. Then you run through basically an obstacle course where you're like bouncing off pads and going through the ropes course and diving under the ropes where you have to crawl army style and go around this curve—that’s where I wiped out—and then you have the tackling dummies, and the people at the tackling dummies are trying to stop you, and you have to do a touchdown div. It was a blast. We walked away from that just giggling.”
Other options? A 35-yard field goal, a quarterback throwing accuracy test, and more.
2. Get techy.
“You can see and hear what the refs see and hear when they're double checking a call on the field and they have the Microsoft hood. You go in and you put the headphones on, and you can hear people talking, like, ‘Oh, the knee is definitely down here,’ and they go over the whole play to make sure they do it right.”
Make sure to also try out the quarterback’s helmet to hear the coach’s play over the radio and the virtual reality video where you’re on the field.
3. Get submerged in NFL history.
“The Lombardi Trophy, there's a big line for that. … There's a display where they had, I think it was most if not all of, the past Super Bowl rings, so you can see all the Super Bowl ring designs going back to the ‘60s. Then there's a Hall of Fame section, which is divided up by the era of whoever the NFL commissioner was at the time, so like from 1989 through 2006 was like the Paul Tagliabue era. They just kind of give little blurbs about highlights of who the big dynamic teams were and who the premier players of the time were and rule changes that happened during that stretch that changed the game, or the dynamics of say, teams that moved from Houston to Tennessee—an overall bird's eye view of, ‘What are the big stories that changed the way the game is played?' You got to see old jerseys, old cleats, and game programs and tickets.”
Two Things to Know
1. They’re ready for crowds. Well, as ready as they can be.
“There's nothing but energy in there. Even for that first hour and a half, we kind of had the place to play around in, but it got busier and busier as the night went on and people and families started filling downtown. Some lines for activities got to be 20, 30 people deep, but even so, for most of the things, the lines went fast. It was a pretty well-oiled machine, even for food and drink. Security lines were super quick; the box office was fast; everything was really smooth. I can't vouch for what Saturday's going to look like, but then I assume it's going to be all hands on deck .”
2. There are spots (and seating) for you to take a break.
“Once things get too fast-paced for you and you just want to take a break, there's plenty of room plenty of open space to walk around and not be in a line for a little bit.”
One Key Takeaway
>> Even though we would be remiss to mention that their entire basement is a kids' football haven, the Super Bowl Experience isn’t just for families. It’s for everyone.
“I wasn't sure what to expect—we just went to see what the line was like and kept on getting sucked further and further into it to the point where it was, ‘Oh my god, this is so much fun.’ … You don't have to bring a kid with you; you just have to be open to, ‘Hey, let's try to kick a field goal.’ If you're not open to that, no you won't have fun. If you're just going to wimp out and be like, ‘What if I don't do good at that?” look at everyone else. No one's nailing that field goal so let's just try it, you know?”
So head over to the Minneapolis Convention Center and get your ticket before it closes Saturday, Feb. 3, at 8 p.m. Even if you think the Super Bowl is over-hyped, the Super Bowl Experience is about more the NFL in its entirety.