MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Time is quickly ticking down to Super Bowl 52 in Minneapolis.
With just five days to go until the big game, the NFL opened up U.S. Bank Stadium to the media Tuesday afternoon.
It was a chance to showcase the changes that have been made inside, and preview what’s left to do before Sunday.
“Where you normally have the Vikings logos and branding everywhere, you know, everything will turn into Super Bowls,” said NFL Field Director Ed Mangan. “So, it’ll be a neutral site.”
The home-field advantage that almost led the Vikings to a hometown Super Bowl is on hiatus. Gone are the Viking end zones, replaced by Eagles on one end and Patriots on the other. And the Norseman at the 50-yard-line has been covered by the NFL shield.
There will be no shortage of foot traffic leading right up to kick-off. From pregame and halftime rehearsals, parts of the field need to be preserved. And they will get a fresh coat of paint before game time.
“All the painting, all the artwork, everything will come up on Saturday after team walk-throughs, and then we re-do everything,” Mangan said.
George Toma is no stranger to that. The grounds crew member will turn 89 on Friday, and will work his 52nd Super Bowl on Sunday.
“It never gets old,” Toma said. “It’s always interesting.”
He teaches his crew the “and then some” lesson, meaning work hard “and then some.”
“And that distinguishes the mediocre from the great. And that’s why this crew is great,” Toma said.
In addition to the field, they are also hoping the food is great. Two new menu items were introduced for the Super Bowl.
“We’ve brought in Legal Sea Foods clam chowder for New England from Boston, and we’ve brought in Chickie and Pete’s crab fries from Philadelphia to add to the rivalry,” said Executive Chief James Mehne.