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02/06/2011

For the Super Bowl, even standing outside the stadium worth it to die-hard fans

IMG_1080  5:25 p.m.: Hundreds of football fans stood in solemn silence as Christina Aguilera’s voice boomed throughout a Game Day Plaza set up just outside the stadium. Just about everyone there had paid at least $200 to be near the big game but not inside it. As a gust of wind blew through, people pulled jackets and blankets tighter around them. They all knew the temperature was going to keep dropping.

If there were any regrets among the fans for paying to watch the game in a makeshift plaza on a cold night instead of in the comfort of their own homes, they fell away when Aguilera reached the last line of The Star-Spangled Banner. Fighter jets flew over the stadium and subsequently over the plaza attendees.

Everyone in the plaza cheered at the sight of the jets. Maybe they couldn’t make more noise than the multitude of people inside the closed-roof stadium but that wasn’t going to stop them from trying.

Hermano Cardenas came all the way from Saltillo, Mexico, to stand outside the Cowboys Stadium and watch the game on large flat high-definition screens. He said he’s never lived in Pennsylvania or had any real connection to Pittsburgh.

Members of his family have backed the Steelers for years. That’s why he did.

He’s made trips to Pittsburgh in the past to see games in person and making the trip to Arlington, even if it was just to be outside of the stadium where the game was taking place, seemed like a great opportunity.

“It’s a family thing. They’re our team,” Cardenas said.

IMG_1079 Sisters Linda and Mary Hartwig came to the plaza from Milwaukee with two other friends to support their Packers. The foursome were munching on nachos as they watched the screen for the next play to start.

“We wanted to come and experience it even if we couldn’t be inside, just to be in the atmosphere of this beautiful stadium,” Linda Hartwig said.

There was no question in their minds that coming to watch the game in the plaza was worth the long trip.

“We go to all the games back home and we couldn’t imagine not being here for this,” said Kari Ziegler, also of Milwaukee.

-Aman Batheja

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