8:50 a.m. Lone Star Park in Grand Prairie – Thousands of excited people are lined up outside of Lone Star Park in Grand Prairie, waiting to get their game day credentials.
Anyone working in the stadium or at the NFL Tailgate Party before the Super Bowl – caterers, volunteers, entertainers – must first get a game day pass at the NFL Accreditation Center at Lone Star Park.
The scene was nuts - but in a good way, according to Steven Foster, vice chair of the Super Bowl Host Committee's volunteer action team, who got his credential and is now helping process others.
“It’s just crazy,” Foster said. “It’s mad and crazy loud."
Although the weather didn't impact too many Super Bowl XLV volunteers on Tuesday, it already has on Wednesday.
A private, mid-morning event for children at the NFL Experience - the NFL Play 60 Kids Day - was cancelled Tuesday night, prompting officials to send emails to first-shift volunteers telling them they weren't needed Wednesday morning.
But only during that time.
The email strongly urged the volunteers - who had previously been assigned to the 10 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. shift on Wednesday - to show up for the 2 to 7 p.m. shifts or the 5:30 to 10:30 p.m. shifts, when the NFL Experience is scheduled to be open to the public.
Earlier in the day on Tuesday, Amanda Whitelaw, the host committee official coordinating the 10,000-plus Super Bowl volunteers, said they are prepared for the worst, but hoping for the best.
"The weather is just something you have no control over," Whitelaw said. "We control what we can and react to things we can't."
The NFL Experience drew over 75,000 fans in the first four days of opening.
And since 4,500 Super Bowl XLV volunteers are largely the ones staffing the interactive theme park at the Dallas Convention Center, officials said it's imperative that they show up for their shifts.
"The one thing you will always struggle with is going to be an attrition rate," said Amanda Whitelaw, volunteers service manager for the North Texas Super Bowl XLV Host Committee. "We've had a great turnout at everything, but at the NFL Experience, there have been a few no-shows. We're trying to get our volunteers who are registered to get out there and help us. "
In fact, Whitelaw emphasized that any XLV volunteers who want to work more shifts are more than welcome.
"This weekend, right before Super Bowl, the NFL Experience is going to be slammed with guests locally and also guests from all over the world," Whitelaw said. "...We need to put our best foot forward.' "
"Without our volunteers, these events don’t run," she added. "... Our volunteers are representing North Texas and, without them, the show stops. ... Their role is so integral.’"
It doesn’t matter if you’ve been previously assigned to greet visitors at the airports and hotels, work in the office operations, direct event traffic, or work the NFL Experience, if you’ve got some extra time, they’ve got a place for you at the NFL Experience.
Being a Super Bowl volunteer is fun. I know, because I am one.
And I'll be doing my part at the NFL Experience on Wednesday.
Being a Super Bowl XLV volunteer doesn't get you into the Big Game, but membership has its privileges.
On Friday, I received my official XLV volunteer uniform (photo gallery), which I have to admit, is pretty cool. The navy blue get-up includes a collared shirt, windbreaker and ball cap - all made by Reebok, paid for by Allstate, and sporting the North Texas XLV Super Bowl logo.
I also received my credentials, which took a long time - and I don't love my photo - but it'll be a souvenir I'll definitley hold on to.
When I went to Lone Star Park - the official volunteer headquarters - on Friday morning to get geared up for Super Bowl week, I also got a nice surprise: Two free tickets to the NFL Experience.
Like I said, membership has its privileges.
More than 10,000 people are volunteering during Super Bowl week, directing traffic at events, greeting visitors at hotels and airports, or working at the NFL Experience, the interactive football theme park at the Dallas Convention Center.
I'm one of the 4500 volunteers signed up to work the NFL Experience, and while I don't know yet what I'll be doing there, I know this: I'll be wearing my uniform proudly.
- Melody McDonald (photo by Rodger Mallison/Star-Telegram)
North Texas students are finding out first-hand that Super Bowl XLV really is more than a game.
It's also about giving back.
Hundreds of students from public and private schools delivered more than 20,000 books, board games, sports equipment and school supplies to the Salvation Army Community Center in Arlington on Thursday morning.
The Salvation Army will distribute the items to less-fortunate schools later today.
Afterward, they boarded buses and headed to Cowboys Stadium in Arlington, where they were to get a grand tour.
The event, called Super Kids Super Sharing, is part of the NFL's Enviromental Program and has been happening in Super Bowl host cities for more than a decade.
But organizers said this year's event was the biggest and best ever, setting records for the number of schools that participated and the amount of items donated.
"We do things big here in Texas; we do things right here in Texas," Bill Lively, president of the Super Bowl Host Committee, told the students. "We try to help other people -- and you guys have made a great big difference."
DALLAS -– Super Bowl XLV volunteers learn a lot of interesting facts.
Like where the two championship football teams will practice while in North Texas (NFC at SMU; AFC at TCU).
Like where the media center will be (Sheraton Dallas Hotel).
And how many viewers will tune in for the big game (1 billion).
On Sunday, during a training session at the Dallas Convention Center attended by about 2,000 Super Bowl volunteers, we also learned how many of us actually had a ticket for the game (One).
Despite what some think, volunteering for the Super Bowl does not get you a ticket into Arlington’s Cowboys Stadium. But it does make you feel special, like you are part of something big, part of history.
Of the 10,000 Super Bowl XLV volunteers, about 4,000 will work the NFL Experience, handing out wristbands, working information booths, shagging balls, whatever.
The NFL Experience is basically a huge, interactive football-themed park that will be held at the Dallas Convention Center from Jan. 27 to Feb. 6.
The event is filled with football-related games (think football tosses or play-by-play calling of your favorite game), merchandise, and autograph opportunities.
It’s the perfect place for average fans who don’t have a ticket to the Super Bowl, but who want to be part of something big, part of history.
In addition to expressing their thanks, they gave the soldiers a gold, custom coin with the Super Bowl logo on one side and "Thank you for your service" on the other.
As the Big Game gets closer, these volunteers will be doing other things, too -- like greeting people at hotels, working in the Super Bowl offices, or helping out with transportation.
Amanda Whitelaw (pictured at right), who is coordinating the 10,000 or so Super Bowl volunteers, said it just made sense for the volunteers to also be a part of the airport's Welcome Home A Hero program.
"We wanted to do some different outreach projects througout the region," she said. "We said, 'What makes sense?, because there are so many amazing causes and great philanthropic organizations in North Texas.' We heard about Welcome Home a Hero and we said, 'We have to be part of it.' "
Super Bowl volunteers will be welcoming home troops every day during the month of December. Here's a quick video to show you how it went Wednesday night: