BRACK: Gwinnettians enjoy trip to Super Bowl, but also disappointed

By Elliott Brack, editor and publisher |  Among the Georgians trekking to Houston to see the Atlanta Falcons play in the Super Bowl were Carla and Tommy Carraway of Snellville. Carla is president of Precision Planning in Lawrenceville and he’s a banker in Winder. Learning last week that this was their plan, we made arrangements to contact Carla Monday morning as they were returning to Atlanta.

We caught up with her as they were in heavy Houston traffic heading for an 8:30 a.m. flight back to Atlanta. “That is, if we make the flight,” she said.

About the game: “Oh, no! It is so sad and depressing!” Carla lamented. “It slipped through our fingers!”  She added: “The Falcons played so well for three and a half quarters. But you must hand it to the Patriots. They were pretty cool in the comeback. You could sorta see it going to happen, the sack, and holding calls, as things were not going the Falcons’ way toward the end. It was so disappointing.”

The Carraways were traveling with friends, Kim Mauldin, her brother, Dr. Gregory Mauldin of the Georgia Pulmonary Group of Snellville, and his wife, Shelley. Kim and Gregory had been to Miami in 1999 to see the Falcons lose in the Super Bowl before, and now were eventually disappointed again. The Carraways had not been to a Super Bowl before, though they are big Falcon fans.

Carraway

It was a quick trip: the group had left Atlanta Sunday morning, arriving in Houston’s Bush Field a little after noon. “Once we landed, we went directly to our hotel. There were no issues with the traffic when arriving. So we left our bags, staying at the hotel only about 30 minutes, and then departed for the stadium. It was about 20 minutes south of our hotel via their Metro.

“It was surprising to me how easy the trip to the stadium was to navigate. I thought it would be harder. Of course, there were people everywhere. There was a lot going on in the Plaza outside the stadium. You had to show tickets to get into these activities. There were bands on stage, and lots of music playing. There was entertainment everywhere, something like you would see in Las Vegas, such as groups dressed in various uniforms, one of them walking on stilts. One area had about 15-20 food trucks for people to eat. And this was just at the stadium. In downtown Houston, there was the NFL Live Experience, but we didn’t go there.”

The group went into the stadium about an hour before the game began.  Their seats were in the upper level end zone in the Patriot end zone, but toward the Falcon side. “We were high up, but we could see very good. And then there was the Jumbotron which we could easily watch, just like at home.”

The group liked the halftime entertainment.  “It was pretty lively and good. Lady Gaga came out of the ceiling, and dropped to the stage to do the halftime show. There were a lot of pyrotechnics, and we enjoyed it with all its showmanship. We could see her right in front of us on stage, and then the Jumbotron was there for us also.”

Would they go to another Super Bowl?  “Yes,” Carla says, “If the Falcons were playing.”