The New York/New Jersey Super Bowl Host Committee’s “Join the Huddle” mobile tour, a first for the big game, descended on the P.C. Richard & Son Superstore on Route 440 on Jan. 15.
Fans participated in the stations outside the structure, where they performed a variety of basic football drills.
Among the activities were Practice Field, in which participants traversed a course including mini-hurdles and tackle dummies; Field Goal Kick, at which attendees tested their football elevation at a mini-field goal post; and the Snowflake Toss, where pigskin-throwing accuracy was measured. At the adjacent Vince Lombardi Trophy Case, attendees had their photographs taken next to the symbol of gridiron excellence.
Rhoneil Gagalac, 38, of Bayonne, was there with son, Sean, 4. Sean tested his field gold kick skills, his passing acumen, and navigated the practice field with ease.
“Sean had a great time at the event,” said his father. “He got to show off his football skills on different areas like passing, agility, kicking, and touchdown celebrating.”
“The Super Bowl being in New Jersey is going to be great, and we hope we get to go to more events leading up to the big game,” Gagalac said.
Edna Brown of Bloomfield, formerly of 45th Street and Broadway in Bayonne, brought her grandson, two-year-old Bryce Stone, after seeing the exhibit while on her way to the nearby Toys R Us store.
Bryce had his picture taken with the Lombardi trophy, but had to warm up to the process.
“He was a little camera shy, but he was happy with the sweatband they gave him, and also the little rubber bracelet,” Brown said.
For Bryce, the exhibit was quite special because of his spectator interest in the sport.
“He watches all the time with his grandpa,” Brown said. “When he sees the players score, he throws his hands up in the air and shouts, ‘Touchdown!’”
Greg Melin, 42, of Jersey City and formerly of Bayonne, took his son Connor, 3 1/2, after seeing the event advertised in the newspaper. Melin grew up in the city, attending Horace Mann and Bayonne High schools.
Conner enjoyed the practice field, darting around the obstacles.
“He’s pretty athletic for his age,” said his dad. “He’s a good football player.”
The Melins had visited the Liberty Science Center Super Bowl exhibit a month ago and enjoyed it, so they decided to check this one out.
“We watched the video inside and had our picture taken,” the elder Melin said.
So who will win the Super Bowl?
“We are Giants fans all the way, but if we had to choose in the Super Bowl, we will root for Eli's big brother (Peyton Manning) and the Denver Broncos on February 2nd,” Gagalac said.
Fans attending also visited the Huddle Shuttle’s replica stadium locker room and saw memorabilia from the N.Y. Jets, N.Y. Giants, various Super Bowls, and of former Green Bay Packers coach Vince Lombardi.
The locker room included several items from Super Bowl I: low-cut shoes worn by Fred Williamson of the Kansas City Chiefs, a jersey worn by Norm Schachter, and an official pass for the game.
Other items housed there were Lombardi’s work binder, an original drawing of the famous coach, shoulder pads worn by Mike Webster of the Pittsburgh Steelers, a football autographed by former Giants quarterback Phil Simms, and a plastic helmet worn by Ron Dixon, Giants wide receiver, in Super Bowl XXXV.
The “Join the Huddle” tour is presented by P.C. Richard & Son. Other sponsors associated with the tour include Hertz and Hertz Equipment Rental, Hess, Pfizer Get Old.com, Snickers brand, and Weatherproof.
The tour will make two more stops, the next in Journal Square in Jersey City on Jan. 23, and then the windup in New York City, right before the NFL championship game.
Joseph Passantino may be reached at JoePass@hudsonreporter.com.