Inside the lines
Student works at NFL autograph stage during Super Bowl week
February 10, 2014
Most people would be
disappointed if they went to the Super Bowl and didn't get to see the game in
person. For Kevin Haglund, the game was almost an afterthought.
Haglund, a senior at
University of Wisconsin-Stout, spent a week in New York before and after the Feb.
2 game but simply watched it on TV like most fans.
The highlight of his
trip took place during the four days prior to the game. Through a staffing
agency, he worked for the National Football League at its interactive fan
extravaganza on Broadway in Times Square. Known as Super Bowl Boulevard, the
event drew tens of thousands of fans daily to the 13-block area.
Haglund had the
equivalent of a sideline pass. For five hours a day, from Wednesday, Jan. 29,
through Saturday, Feb. 1, he worked at the player autograph stage. Fans lined
up to get free signatures from 20 current and former NFL stars, who each signed
for an hour, one player at a time.
A health, wellness
and fitness major and Blue Devils football player, Haglund admittedly was a
little wide-eyed at first as NFL greats such as Jim Brown, Marshall Faulk, Cam
Newton, DeSean Jackson and many others took their turn on stage within feet of
Some players, such
as NFL Defensive Player of the Year Luke Kuechly of the Carolina Panthers,
chatted with Haglund and other workers, posed for photos and signed items for them.
"It was a great experience,
amazing," said Haglund, from Pepin, who also was visiting New York for the
Haglund was a
personal assistant to the players while on stage, and he and other employees
also helped keep the fan line moving. "By the end of the first day, we had 500
people per hour. I didn't know if that was good, but I was told that was
phenomenal," Haglund said.
reached a fever pitch Friday and Saturday when the line for the autograph stage
alone became a winding mass of fans numbering in the thousands, with some fans
waiting up to five hours for a signature.
"It was insane,"
Haglund said. "By 2 p.m. we had to close the line. The fans are crazy."
Haglund was paid for
his work but had to cover his expenses. Luckily, he was able to stay with a
friend in Greenwich Village. He also made arrangements with his professors
before he left.
Haglund heard about
the Super Bowl job through another student, from St. John's University, whom he
met in summer 2013 while at an NCAA Career in Sports Forum in Indianapolis.
Haglund was one of 270 students picked from 900 applicants to attend the forum,
which featured speakers from pro sports teams and major universities.
A linebacker for
four years with the Blue Devils, Haglund is a strength and conditioning intern
for several Blue Devils teams this semester; he graduates in May. In addition,
he officiates high school basketball games in west-central Wisconsin.
Focused on health, wellness and fitness
director of the health, wellness and fitness program, has no doubt Haglund will
be successful in the industry. "Kevin has been an outstanding, motivated
student both in the classroom and through his various field experiences. He is
very organized and well prepared. He asks questions and always wants to
learn more about the classroom subjects," Bird said.
Haglund is the program's student adviser in the College of
Education, Health and Human Sciences.
Haglund chose the fitness professional concentration in the
program; the other concentration is health and wellness promotions for those
interested in the corporate and nonprofit sector.
Haglund said he feels prepared to succeed in the industry.
He points to UW-Stout's applied learning model as one of the keys. "There are a
lot of hands-on aspects to the program," he said.
Haglund will be
among the earliest graduates in the major, which began in 2011. With his degree
and two internships, he's open to whatever career opportunities come his way,
hoping his Super Bowl experience also will make his resumé stand out.
For more information
on the health, wellness and fitness program, go to the program website.