By Desirée Taylor
Fans usually head to Newark’s Prudential Center for hockey and basketball. Today they came from near and far to see football greats like Peyton Manning and other marque players who are gearing up for the Super Bowl.
“To get here this time was almost 1,900 miles,” said Broncos fan Lonnie Moreno. When asked if he drove, he said, “Yes, in my Bronco mobile, my Honda Odyssey.”
“I like to be here because I get to meet some of the players and look at them,” said young fan Nicholos Sanchez of Closter.
“I never thought that we would get this experience. The odds of our team being from the West Coast and playing so close to home. We live 10 minutes from the stadium so it’s unbelievable to be here and have it be our team,” said Seahawks fan Jessica Farrell of Clifton.
Seahawks Cornerback Richard Sherman seemed to enjoy all the attention. Other players stopped for autographs and pictures with fans. Even though these teams aren’t from New Jersey, several of the Broncos players have Jersey roots.
“I know all the Patersonians are proud of me. And I know the local team and the local group are proud of me. And I am proud of what I’ve done,” said Mike Adams of the Broncos.
“It’s awesome to be back. To see the old faces, family, friends,” said Knowshon Moreno of the Broncos.
“For it to be in my home town is kinda setting history. It shines a great light on my state where I was born and raised — New Jersey. So for people to see all of that New Jersey has to offer is just great,” said Broncos player Robert Ayers.
The frenzy of reporters and fans that came out for Media Day could have posed a security challenge. But Newark’s police director said his force was well prepared to handle the influx of people.
“The planning and prep that went into this started a year ago and we feel comfortable we planned for anything that could happen,” said Newark Police Director Sam DeMaio.
Newark Mayor Luis Quintana was on hand to welcome the players. He hopes all that talk about the potential economic impact of Super Bowl related events like this one will prove true for his city.
“We want people to come, shop, go to restaurants and spend a lot,” said Quintana.
There are a host of other pre-game events scheduled in New Jersey this week. Secaucus has created a winter village. That’s where fans can go to enjoy performances, food and family fun activities. And a massive tailgating party will be held in East Rutherford on game day.