EL PASO, Texas — The frigid cold from the worst winter blizzard to hit the Sun City in a decade didn’t stop Super Bowl fans here from overheating.
Record low temperatures in El Paso that caused citywide blackouts and water restrictions didn’t stop fans from celebrating one last Sunday of football.
While over 100,000 spectators watched the Green Bay Packers drub the Pittsburgh Steelers in the NFL’s 45th Super Bowl game February 6 at Dallas Stadium in Arlington, Texas, millions celebrated at home and bars across the country. El Paso predominantly a Dallas Cowboys fan-base, voiced a share of cheers for both teams.
Local sporting goods stores took advantage of the popularity of the teams, Sports Xplosion manager Oscar Moreno noticed an increase in sales this year compared to last year’s Super Bowl, which featured the Indianapolis Colts and New Orleans Saints, “It’s been real busy. We’re up about 30 percent compared to last year at this time,” Moreno said in the days leading up to the game.
The Steelers had a slight advantage in merchandise sales over the Packers, “Right now the Steelers would be up not too much I would say probably about six percent more than the Packers,” said Moreno.
Eric Lucero, UTEP student and Packer fan celebrated with his family. “Just have a family party, celebrate at home. My cousin is a Steeler fan. We’ll probably get into one of those fun family arguments.”
“Pizza, wings, maybe barbecue and lots of beer,” said Lucero about the party food.
“Oh no gambling, I’m just happy we made it after 13 years, especially after the Brett Favre fiasco,” said Lucero.
“It was kind of inevitable, Rodgers was drafted in the first round and was considered one of the best coming out of college that year, so he had to get his chance”, when asked about former quarterback, Brett Favre leaving the Packers.
Tony Lucero, no relation to Eric Lucero, a life long Steeler fan, born and raised in El Paso, now lives in San Antonio showed his colors by painting a Steeler logo on his front yard, the logo was so big the city issued a fine. “ A $200 fine. Some of my neighbors liked it and some didn’t, but I don’t care,” said Lucero.
Lucero spent $60 on the paint alone, for the decorations he set up in his front yard. “I’m the only Steeler fan out here, so we gotta celebrate it with a bunch of Cowboy fans. It’s pretty obvious who they’re rooting for on this one. They’re cheering on the Packers just to go against me,” said Lucero.
UTEP student Chris Cortez a long time Packer fan, attended his first game at Lambeau Field in Green Bay back in October 24, 2010 where the Packers beat the Minnesota Vikings led by former Packer, Brett Favre.
Cortez also attended a game in Pittsburgh with his cousin, Steve Vasquez, a Steeler fan, where the Steelers faced the New York Jets in December 19, 2010.
Cortez and Vasquez celebrated with their respective families, one family cheering for Green Bay, while the other cheering on Pittsburgh.
“It just feels awkward that my cousin’s favorite team and my team are now facing each other for the Super Bowl, I haven’t spoke to him in over a week,” said Packer fan Cortez. Vasquez was the first to give Cortez a call congratulating him after the game.
The NFL is the most popular sports league in the United States and the Super Bowl is its most important game. Super Bowl Sunday has become a national holiday, unofficially.
Food and alcohol have become as much of a pre-game ritual as the coin flip. T-Bone steaks, beer, baked potatoes, hot wings, hot dogs and pizza are all part of the festivities.
El Paso is a town that loves football as much as it loves food. Super Bowl Sunday is always another excuse to make both a pair, with a plethora of beer, chips, salsa and more beer in households and bars across town.
Fans raised team flags to show their support and displayed team jerseys. Some have superstitions that go beyond rational understanding like wearing a certain shirt, socks, jersey hoping that helps their team win the game.
It is the busiest day for pizza delivery across the country and crowds fill bars and restaurants. Papa John’s Pizza is in a multi-year sponsorship deal with the NFL to spice sales up they offered $10 pizzas over the weekend and had an offer to give a free pizza to all customers that registered online if the Super Bowl had gone to overtime.
Now, 45 Super Bowl games have gone by and none have been played into overtime.