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Never Say Never – Super Bowl XLIX

by Tannen Maury

“It never rains like this in Phoenix!” This is what the epa team heard over and over during the week leading up to The Big Game, aka Super Bowl XLIX, in normally dry Phoenix, Arizona. Unfortunately for those of us who traveled from areas in the midst of winter’s grip looking forward to some bright sunshine and warm temperatures, this was not the case as it was cloudy, cool, and raining most of the week.

A pedestrian makes his way through the snow covered streets in Boston, Massachusetts, USA, 27 January 2015. A blizzard that could bring up to 36 inches (92 cm) of snow is blanketing the region. Boston's transportation services will be suspended, officials say. Regional train service between New York and Boston has also been cancelled. Travel bans were also put in place. epa/CJ Gunter

A pedestrian makes his way through the snow covered streets in Boston, Massachusetts, USA, 27 January 2015. A blizzard that could bring up to 36 inches (92 cm) of snow is blanketing the region. Boston’s transportation services will be suspended, officials say. Regional train service between New York and Boston has also been cancelled. Travel bans were also put in place. epa/CJ Gunter

The early arrival team of Andrew Gombert, Larry Smith, and Tannen Maury landed on Sunday, 25 January to begin preparations for what has become much more than an American football game. There were credentials to be retrieved, communications networks to be checked, editing spaces to be arranged, logistics meetings and news conferences to attend. The remainder of the epa team, photographer Erik Lesser and editors Shawn Thew and C.J. Gunther arrived on Friday, 30 January. They were joined by Phoenix stringer Roy Dabner.

The Tuesday before the game is traditionally the day held for media to get close and personal with players and an opportunity for fans to see and hear their heroes. This year’s Media Day event was held in the downtown Phoenix US Airways Center where the NBA Phoenix Suns hold their basketball games. Holding a football sized event in a basketball arena meant compression…. squeezing into tight spaces thousands of reporters, photographers, television personalities elbowing for positions and access, not to mention members of the teams who faced hefty fines if they failed to appear. One player in particular noted for his testy relationship with the media went so far as to state 29 times that the only reason he was in attendance was to avoid the fine.

A young New England Patriots fan makes an appeal for help meeting New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady during the Patriots Media Day appearance at US Airways Center in Phoenix, Arizona, USA, 27 January 2015. The Patriots will face the Seattle Seahawks in the Super Bowl XLIX game on 01 February 2015. epa/Tannen Maury

A young New England Patriots fan makes an appeal for help meeting New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady during the Patriots Media Day appearance at US Airways Center in Phoenix, Arizona, USA, 27 January 2015. The Patriots will face the Seattle Seahawks in the Super Bowl XLIX game on 01 February 2015. epa/Tannen Maury

The other highly anticipated pre-week activity was the Super Bowl XLIX Half-time news conference featuring US singer Katy Perry. She arrived on stage wearing a football outfit complete with football earrings. She made remarks, answered questions and tossed a football into the crowd of journalists.

US musician Katy Perry performs during the halftime show of Super Bowl XLIX between the Seattle Seahawks and the New England Patriots at the University of Phoenix Stadium in Glendale, Arizona, USA, 01 February 2015. epa/Tannen Maury

US musician Katy Perry performs during the halftime show of Super Bowl XLIX between the Seattle Seahawks and the New England Patriots at the University of Phoenix Stadium in Glendale, Arizona, USA, 01 February 2015. epa/Tannen Maury

The teams who made it through the playoffs, the Seattle Seahawks and the New England Patriots, each finished their regular seasons with records of 12 wins and four losses so we knew the game would be exciting….. And it was, ending on a last minute pass thrown by Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson that was intercepted near the goal line by Patriots Malcolm Butler to stop the Seahawks scoring drive and give the Patriots as 28 – 24 win. epa staff photographer Larry Smith captured the moment and has been rewarded with many large displays of his image on newspaper front pages.

New England Patriots strong safety Malcolm Butler (L) makes an interception as he collides with Seattle Seahawks wide receiver Ricardo Lockette (R) during the final seconds of Super Bowl XLIX between the New England Patriots and the Seattle Seahawks at the University of Phoenix Stadium in Glendale, Arizona, USA 01 February 2015. epa/Larry W. Smith

New England Patriots strong safety Malcolm Butler (L) makes an interception as he collides with Seattle Seahawks wide receiver Ricardo Lockette (R) during the final seconds of Super Bowl XLIX between the New England Patriots and the Seattle Seahawks at the University of Phoenix Stadium in Glendale, Arizona, USA 01 February 2015. epa/Larry W. Smith

New England Patriots strong safety Malcolm Butler (R) makes an interception as he collides with Seattle Seahawks wide receiver Ricardo Lockette (L) in the final seconds of Super Bowl XLIX between the New England Patriots and the Seattle Seahawks at the University of Phoenix Stadium in Glendale, Arizona, USA 01 February 2015. epa/Tannen Maury

New England Patriots strong safety Malcolm Butler (R) makes an interception as he collides with Seattle Seahawks wide receiver Ricardo Lockette (L) in the final seconds of Super Bowl XLIX between the New England Patriots and the Seattle Seahawks at the University of Phoenix Stadium in Glendale, Arizona, USA 01 February 2015. epa/Tannen Maury

New England Patriots strong safety Malcolm Butler (C) celebrates an interception in the final seconds of Super Bowl XLIX between the Seattle Seahawks and the New England Patriots at the University of Phoenix Stadium in Glendale, Arizona, USA 01 February 2015. epa/Erik S. Lesser

New England Patriots strong safety Malcolm Butler (C) celebrates an interception in the final seconds of Super Bowl XLIX between the Seattle Seahawks and the New England Patriots at the University of Phoenix Stadium in Glendale, Arizona, USA 01 February 2015. epa/Erik S. Lesser

Equally rewarding for the epa team is the number of hits in publications from the spectacular half-time show. Katy Perry arrived riding on a huge mechanical tiger complete with glowing eyes. She made several wardrobe changes as she sang her way through her routine.

Super Bowl XLIX Seattle Seahawks against the New England Patriots

All in all it was a great effort by a dedicated team who met the challenge.

New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady holds the Vince Lombardi Trophy after the New England Patriots defeated the Seattle Seahawks to win Super Bowl XLIX at the University of Phoenix Stadium in Glendale, Arizona, USA 01 February 2015. epa/Tannen Maury

New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady holds the Vince Lombardi Trophy after the New England Patriots defeated the Seattle Seahawks to win Super Bowl XLIX at the University of Phoenix Stadium in Glendale, Arizona, USA 01 February 2015. epa/Tannen Maury

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