MINNEAPOLIS (KMSP) - With week-long festivities organized at multiple locations throughout the Twin Cities metro area, the Super Bowl looks a lot different than the last time Minnesota hosted the event in 1992.
From downtown with Super Bowl LIVE along Nicollet Mall to Radio Row at the Mall of America, the Super Bowl has taken over.
“Everything has to be bigger and I don’t know if that necessarily means that it’s better,” said KFAN sports broadcaster Dan Barriero.
Twenty-six years ago, football teams arrived on a cold tarmac instead of the luxuries of a charter plane hangar. The old Metrodome now pales in comparison to a brand new U.S. Bank Stadium.
“[The Metrodome] served the Vikings’ purposes, but it was pretty much a dump compared to what [U.S. Bank Stadium] is,” said Barriero.
Even how the media cover the NFL title game has evolved over the past 26 years.
Over nearly three decades, NFL Hall of Famer Michael Haynes has watched countless changes unfold.
“Seems like the numbers have increased by five times since 1992,” said Michael Haynes.
Haynes says players now approach the game differently.
“During my era, guys were out doing crazy stuff and enjoying themselves, but now the focus is on winning the Super Bowl not just on getting to the Super Bowl,” said Haynes.
Another big difference? The inflation of ticket prices. A ticket to the championship contest in 1992 was $150. This year it's upwards of $1800.
On the sidelines, Barriero soaks up the nostalgia.
“I was here for the one in ‘92 and at the time it felt big, it felt huge, but there is no way to explain how much larger, and goofier, and really bizarre it’s become,” said Barriero.
While the game may have turned into a greater spectacle, it still creates a unique atmosphere too special to pass up.
“I like to try to encourage players, current players to come to the Super Bowl to get a feeling of what that atmosphere is like,” said Haynes.
Because for many, the Super Bowl is a once-in-a-lifetime experience.
“That’s what they’re playing for, they’re playing for an opportunity to be here, for that event, and that is special,” said Haynes.