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'This is something you don't do very often': Tempe man recalls time volunteering for Arizona's first Super Bowl

In 1996, Harvey Gibson went to Super Bowl XXX. It was the first Super Bowl in Arizona and was held at ASU's Sun Devil Stadium.

TEMPE, Ariz. — Picture this: you're in a stadium walking through a tunnel. As you get closer to the field, you begin hearing a deep rumbling. You keep walking and realize the noise is getting louder and louder until, finally, you see sunlight and more than 76,000 people cheering on their team. You then hear the sound of cleats running on the field, the pops of players being tackled, and the whistles blowing. 

"It's still the only time I've walked into a stadium through the tunnel," Harvey Gibson said. "The noise on the field during the game, I can still remember it."

In 1996, Gibson went to Super Bowl XXX. It was the first Super Bowl Arizona hosted and was held at ASU's Sun Devil Stadium. Most people spent thousands to attend, but Gibson never paid for a ticket. He also had the best seat in the house, the field.

"You were seeing people, you were standing behind football players, standing in front of football players," he recalled. "So, it was a lot of fun to volunteer, to be on the field, and that's probably the only way I'll ever be on the field for a Super Bowl."

Gibson was asked to volunteer for the big event. An avid football fan, he thought the idea sounded like fun. He didn't know what he was signing up for but quickly learned it was a gig he'd never forget.

"They said I would be with a photographer," he said. "He happened to tell us we'll be on the Pittsburgh Steelers sideline taking pictures of the quarterback. Back then, digital cameras were brand new, and memory cards were the size of a credit card. They only held about 100 pictures which professional photographers can do quickly. So, every time he'd fill one of those up, he'd take it out, and I would run it down to the tunnel, hand it to another person who ran outside and into the Associated Press trailer."

Gibson remembers running a lot and how much fun it was seeing the players and fans. He tried to soak up every moment, but there is one thing he regrets.

"The one thing I learned not to do was go in the tunnel during halftime to eat," he said. "I missed Diana Ross performing and still have never seen her perform."

With Super Bowl LVII just a few days away, Gibson can't help but think back to where it all began. For him, it was one of the most fun and enjoyable moments that always make for a good story. He said he thought about volunteering again, but with his hometown team facing off against the Eagles, he thought it was best for another front-row seat in front of the TV. 

"I want a great game. I want Mahomes to throw a last-second touchdown and beat the Eagles," he said.


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