Randy Scheel of Garrison was one of many Iowans who traveled to Minnesota to work security for the game with Whelan Security.
Scheel was assigned a post inside the stadium, near the Eagles’ locker room, where he was thrilled to see in person many celebrities, including one of his favorite football coaches, ever.
“So many things happened throughout the day it’s hard to say one thing was best,” he says. “Being a Viking fan, seeing Bud Grant go by made my day.”
Scheel shared several memories from that day.
“I was next to the Patriots locker room when the team arrived to get dressed. The intensity on the player’s faces (including Tom Brady) was evident,” he said. “The entire walkway was silent. About 15 minutes later Coach Belicheck walked by my area with several players and coaches, including Gronk. He is a big guy. And being there when the Eagles walked out was amazing.”
Along with the players, Scheel saw many other famous performers, broadcasters and former NFL stars.
“After she sang the National Anthem, Pink walked by giving her daughter a piggy back ride, surrounded by security,” Scheel recalls. “Justin Timberlake came by on his way to get ready for the halftime show. During the pre-game show, they introduced the NFL Man of the Year. All the former and current players who were on the field for this presentation passed by: Dan Marino, Franco Harris, Payton and Eli Manning, Joe Theismann, Hines Ward, Roger Staubach, Drew Brees, Chris Carter, Larry Fitzgerald, Lynn Swan, Curt Warner, and a number of others. That was pretty special. And when Joe Theismann came back by after the ceremony, he swung by to shake hands with each of the police officers and security team’s hands in front of the Eagles locker room thanking them for all they do. That was a class act.”
Scheel was on break during half time and had the chance to step inside the stadium to get a glimpse of Timberlake’s halftime show.
“Seeing it live was amazing,” he says.
Throughout the rest of the evening, Scheel found himself among countless celebrities making their way to and from the field or their seats.
“As the game drew to a close, the activity in our area increased. The reporters and cameras started to get ready. Watching some of the players come off the field after the trophy presentation was exciting. At one point a large group of reporters and cameras came towards us with Nick Foles in the middle as he was escorted to the press area. Many players came out to meet family or friends. There was lots of hugging, crying and whooping it up. At one point, Robert Kraft, the Patriots owner, had just walked by. Jeffrey Lurie (Eagles owner) was being interviewed across the way, and NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell showed up.,” says Scheel.
A lady working with him commented, “I should know who these people are but I don’t. Who are they?”
Scheel explained to her that they were three of the most powerful people in the NFL and pointed out who each was.
“Of special note, J-Lo and A-Rod came by in a golf cart,” Scheel said. “That drew a lot of conversation. Floyd Mayweather walked, by surrounded by a large group of people. A reporter standing next to me hollered out, ‘Looking good, Floyd!’ He stopped to acknowledge the reporter, gave him a hug, and thanked him. That was pretty cool, being just a few feet away. I also watched Tony Dungy and Michelle Tofoya do interviews in front of the locker room earlier in the afternoon. Sal Palantonio was around quite a bit. Adam Schefter stood nearby after the game. Chris Collinsworth and Al Michaels were nearby as well.
There were some strict rules for the security workers to follow, says Scheel.
“We were told we couldn’t take photos, ask for autographs, or speak with the celebrities unless they spoke with us first. After the game, however, Scheel realized that he was in one brief TV scene on the NBC pre-game coverage. As the Eagles headed from their locker room to the field, they walked past Scheel and others. Schell saw himself, in his red jacket, on the left side of the screen.
“I didn’t know at the time that part would be on TV,” he says. “So I figured it was OK to share a photo of this, since I didn’t take the photo and was doing my job.”
Scheel first became acquainted with Whelan Security within the past year. Local residents first became familiar with the company a few years ago, when the VSHS Post-Prom Committee participated in a fund-raiser in which VS volunteers helped with security at U of Iowa football games. Last fall, Scheel worked security for a Viking-Lions game, after taking 10 hours of training.
While he had been hoping to be offered a spot on the Super Bowl security team, Scheel was not expecting such an opportunity.
“I did not work any other games and wasn’t sure I qualified for the Super Bowl,” he says.
But an email and a call on the Friday before the game asking if he could work changed his thinking. He was able join other security workers on charter bus coming from the CR/Iowa City area.
“I met the bus in Urbana at 1:30 a.m. on game day, was screened and checked in near the stadium, and started working around 8 a.m. We worked until 11pm or so. By the time we got checked out and were shuttled to our bus, it was past midnight. I got home at 6:10 a.m. Monday,” he recalls.
Scheel says he was “truly lucky” to be placed where he was that day.
“Hundreds of other security men and women were scattered throughout the stadium, field and outside the stadium. The wind chills were -10 to -20 all day. The security company treated us all very well. We were all issued a parka, long-sleeved polo, beanie/stocking cap, and neck gaiter, which we got to keep since all have the SBLII logo and can’t be re-used. They also gave us two food vouchers and snack bags when we arrived and when we left. We get paid an hourly rate but I’m not sure what the rate is for the Super Bowl.
The security guards did get a look at how much it would have cost to attend the game as fans.
“At one point, a lady stopped to ask for directions. She held out her game ticket while another security worker standing next to me pointed where she needed to go. The printed price on the ticket was $3500. You hear about the price of the SB tickets but seeing it really hit home. I was speaking to a couple guys before the game and one mentioned he saw a parking sign for $115. The other mentioned he saw a sign for $235. Knowing I would never pay much that to see a game makes being there once so much more special. Scheel says he believes the lowest price for one ticket that he saw was $1,200.
Scheel saw a few people who ended up with first-hand experiences with police or security team members.
“About 45 minutes before the game started, I watched two police officers escort a man in handcuffs wearing a Philadelphia jersey walk by. I’m assuming he caused some sort of disturbance or fight. Our thought as he went by was how much money he spent to be at the game (ticket, hotel, parking, flight, food, etc.) only to get arrested before the game even started. I heard reports of Philly fans throwing beer on others during the game but did not see it first hand,” Scheel says.
His experience was so good, that Scheel suggests that others try it.
“I would definitely recommend people do this. It is a great way to fund-raise for groups or earn extra money. There are other opportunities in Iowa moving forward for concerts and events for people who are interested. The normal pay is around $11 per hour. I’m not sure what the Super Bowl paid; it might have been the same. A few people I worked with thought we were being paid $2-$4 more per hour for the game. I think I clocked in around 7 am and clocked out at midnight. I will be paid for roughly 16-17 hours. It was a LONG day!”
As a Vikings fan, Scheel got his second look at US Bank Stadium during Super Bowl LII.
“The stadium is awesome. I was able to see more of it in October when I worked the Viking game. It is definitely a place to visit. During the Super Bowl, I spent all of my time in the same area so, aside from the few minutes watching Justin Timberlake perform, I did not see much of the stadium,” he says.