Super Bowl City disappoints day crowd, dazzles after dark

The NFL kicked off the Super Bowl 50 week extravaganza this weekend with two major events, Super Bowl City and NFL Experience in San Francisco, delighting some but disappointing many others.

Caught up in the crowds that resembled the zombies in a “The Walking Dead” episode, Nina (47), accompanied by her husband Tony (40) and their two children, Bella (2) and Aidan (7) told SFBay they were extremely disappointed in Super Bowl City, hoping that there would be more kid-friendly activities:

“We thought there was going to be a lot more stuff, thank god we didn’t pay for parking or to get in.”

The empty stage to be later occupied by famous artists — most of the concerts in the “City” are free — is the vocal point of the entire gig, with other displays such as a “High School Honor Roll” wall, “social media center,” and a giant “50” were awkwardly strewn about the smaller Justin Herman Plaza space.

When asked about her first impression of the event, Kari (52) shook her head in disbelief:

“I’m a little unimpressed, quite honestly. It doesn’t seem very festive, more just curiosity seekers than anything.  I don’t know if I’ll come back, but maybe to only see a good band, especially for the price.”

Kari, a San Francisco native also told SFBay she’s grateful she didn’t have to travel here and that if she did she would skip all the hullabaloo and enjoy the sights of the city:

 “If you’re not used to this, like my $10 beer, or if you’re coming from Denver for example, you might not care about any of this.”

Once the sun set, however, Super Bowl City took on a whole new life with vibrant light displays, a beautiful fireworks show, and a spectacular concert from Stockton artist Chris Issak.

Luckily for the NFL, the “NFL Experience” event bailed out the rather dull Super Bowl City for the daytime crowd.

Located in the Moscone Center, the NFL Experience provided football fanatics the opportunity for a hands-on encounter with some inter-workings of Super Bowl’s past, including an up-close view of all previous championship rings and a picture perfect shot with the Vince Lombardi trophy.

Those wanting the experience have to dip into their pockets though, as costs to get in are $35 for adults and $25 for the kiddos 12 and under.

Despite the prices, however, many people in attendance told SFBay they have “no worries” about handing their money over as this is their only chance to get some Super Bowl action.

Once past security, “The Chronology of Football,” pillars listing stats and facts about the history of football, was the welcome mat to the grid-iron mansion.

Split between the Moscone Center’s enormous halls and outside the building were strips of turf set up with obstacles and cardboard offensive and defensive players for paying fans to try their best at kicking for that extra point, running the 50-yard dash, throwing their hardest as QB, and other scenarios of the sport.

Fans could sit in mock locker-room set ups, autograph sessions with players past and present, and stick their heads over the jerseys of all 32 teams for a photo-op, as well.

The NFL Experience hours of operation are:

  • Monday, February 1:       3PM – 10PM
  • Tuesday, February 2:       3PM – 10PM
  • Wednesday, February 3:  3PM – 10PM
  • Thursday, February 4:      3PM – 10PM
  • Friday, February 5:           3PM – 10PM
  • Saturday, February 6:       10AM – 10PM
  • Super Bowl Sunday (February 7):     10AM – 2PM

And hours for Super Bowl City are:

  • Monday, February 1: 11AM – 9PM
  • Tuesday, February 2: 11AM – 9PM
  • Wednesday, February 3: 11AM – 9PM
  • Thursday, February 4: 11AM – 9PM
  • Friday, February 5: 11AM – 10PM
  • Saturday, February 6: 11AM – 10PM
  • Super Bowl Sunday (February 7): 11AM – 3PM

So if you’re headed to the city for a taste of the NFL, SFBay suggests dishing out the cash to attend NFL Experience during the day and top the night with the flashy Super Bowl City parties for a delicious football treat.