The not-so-Super Bowl


Ryan Allen

The empty field and stadium six hours before the Super Bowl mayhem began. Attending the Super Bowl was a great experience, but pretty underwhelming for me as it was just another Sunday of work.

Ryan Allen, Staff Writer

Going to the Super Bowl is something people cross off their bucket list and dream to attend. For me, it was just another day in my life.

I have been working at the Mercedes-Benz Stadium for the past eight months climbing my way up to a great position. I started out running the condiment stand, one of the worst job experiences of my life. Handling three-gallon ketchup bags, potent pickled jalapeños, and warm relish for twelve hours a day is a lot harder than it sounds.

I thought to myself: Why hasn’t the Super Bowl excited me like I thought it would?”

— Staff Writer Ryan Allen

One workday when the Falcons were playing, I tried to put a ketchup bag in the pump and closed the lid, accidentally popping the thin bag. There are three main ingredients in ketchup: high fructose corn syrup, sugar, and tomato concentrate. Imagine three gallons of that exploding all over a condiment stand with no way to clean it up except the napkins on the cart. All of this happening while people are trying to doctor up a hot dog and rush to their seats. After that day, I mastered the cart and worked my way up to the top of the totem pole to be a vendor.

Being at the Mercedes-Benz stadium as a vendor is the best weekend gig I’ve ever worked. You have access to walk around the whole entire stadium and experience the live events hosted there and actually get paid for it. With that being said, I’ve worked many Falcons’ games and I know the stadium inside and out. So when the Super Bowl was hosted by the Benz, nothing really changed for me. I’m still going to work, I’m still doing my job, and I’m still getting paid. It was just another workday.

I showed up to the stadium like any other day on a Sunday morning, checked in, and went to my station. The stadium changed certain things for the Super Bowl, but the majority was still the same. Since Pepsi sponsored the game, they put Pepsi stickers over every single Coca-Cola machine and added new graphics to the megatron, but nothing else changed.

I filled up my vending pole, the gates opened, people started to enter, and I started working. I watched a few celebrities walk in, but since I was in the middle of a transaction, I didn’t approach them. Three hours passed and the game started just like any other day, except there were thousands more people. It didn’t bother me, because that means more people bought popcorn and cotton candy, but it still felt like a regular day.

Ryan Allen
The window side of the Mercedes Benz Stadium with the megatron in the background. I surprisingly didn’t get the thrill of going to the Super Bowl, because it was just another work day.

As the first quarter started, I began walking the seats and the tips were amazing. First, because people were in a great mood to be at the Super Bowl. Second, because they wanted me to move out of the way. People were either really nice with me or rude — there was no in-between. By the end of the first quarter, I had almost vended the whole 100 level.

The second quarter flew by fast because the game was running smooth. I restocked my pole and turned in my big bills, and everyone was having a good time. I moved out by the concession stands when half-time approached and people started to leave their seats. Sales were going up and I was enjoying the business. I heard the halftime show start, and felt like I had deserved a break so I went and watched it. The show was pretty underwhelming and it wasn’t really anything special.

The game continued and sales went down as usual because people had either already bought concessions or they had had a few too many drinks. All of the vendors went back to concession closet, cashed out, and watched the rest of the game. It was a back and forth, low scoring game so it wasn’t all that entertaining.

The Patriots ended up winning once again, and I clocked out of work like any other day. I thought to myself: Why hasn’t the Super Bowl excited me like I thought it would?

I realized that the stadium is my workplace, so I’m familiar with everything. Plus, I didn’t travel or pay thousands for a seat. There was no thrill factor for me, and it didn’t help either that it was a boring game.

On the bright side of it all, I got paid to go to the Super Bowl, met a few celebrities once I clocked out, and experienced seeing a quarterback earn his sixth ring.

It was a fun experience overall and I’m fortunate to have been given the opportunity to attend a Super Bowl, even if it wasn’t so “super” after all.