Students get glimpse of inner workings of Super Bowl


Last fall, when current DePauw senior Michael Rardon prepared for his final year, he had already completed his three required Winter Terms. But then his friend and fellow DePauw student, sophomore Sam Miles, called him and inquired whether he would be interested in interning at the Super Bowl for this year's Winter Term.

"There was no way for me to turn down the offer. It was a great opportunity," Rardon said.

According to Rardon, Sam Miles's father Jack is a chairman for the Super Bowl and created internships for DePauw students with the host committee. Thus, the application process was quite informal for him.

Since Rardon only interned for three weeks, he wasn't in charge of any major projects, but he did enjoy assisting with various assignments prior to the game. The interns were split into eight divisions. Rardon worked in communications and media. He was able to work on the mobile app, the Super Bowl website and other social media outlets.

"It was a once in a lifetime opportunity, to see all the inner workings of one of the biggest sporting events in the world and why everything is done the way it is," Rardon said of working behind the scenes.

Rardon thought it was amazing to see how much organization and planning goes into an event like the Super Bowl. He also commented on how committed everyone involved in the production was. The people that he worked with were very friendly and fostered a positive working environment.

"People have been saying that it's one of the most successful Super Bowl villages," Rardon said, "and Indy is a completely different place this week than I've ever seen it, growing up in Indy."

Junior Austin Miller, who also interned for the Super Bowl during Winter Term, agreed.

"It's something Indianapolis has never seen. For me, and a lot of guys and girls, it was an interesting prospect, to work for an event that's larger than life," he said.

Like Rardon, the application process for Miller was informal. It involved a brief talk on the phone and sending in his resume a few months ago. Miller, who worked primarily in the division of marketing and social media, had the opportunity to help with the Super Bowl's official Twitter page.

"We were kind of the helping hands," he said of himself and his fellow interns.

Alongside assistance with the media, the interns also lent helping hands to the event's 8,000 volunteers. Since the volunteers needed to stand outside for long periods of time, the interns distributed jackets for them. Miller said that the hardest part about interning was figuring out what he could do to help, that wouldn't disrupt the intricate process of preparation.

"There was no shortage of work," said Miller, who sometimes was required to work late in the night and on the weekends.

Despite the hard work, Miller was thankful for the opportunity to take part in such an important sporting and marketing event. Miller particularly enjoyed the opening of the Super Bowl Village's zipline. The day prior to the opening, he had the special opportunity to take a VIP ride and glide over the village about seventy or eighty feet in the air.

"There are so many dimensions to the Super Bowl. It's so much larger than a game," Miller said.

Reid Garlock, junior, said that he was excited to obtain an internship through connections at DePauw at the Super Bowl halfway through the fall semester because it seemed like a once in a lifetime opportunity.

"There was no way I was going to pass it up," Garlock said.

Garlock's assignments during Winter Term mostly revolved around helping with the volunteer setup and running errands. His tasks ranged from picking up and delivering uniforms to distributing posters and promotional materials in downtown Indianapolis restaurants. Garlock doesn't think that interning at the Super Bowl was all that challenging but said that the interns needed to always be on the go, whether their destination was city hall or a chapel.

"You had to be ready at all times to go from one place to another. You had to be flexible," he said.

Garlock said the best part about interning at the Super Bowl was the people that work there. A lot of people with big-time sporting event experience — like the Olympics — worked at the Super Bowl. As an intern, Garlock was able to hear the stories of guest speakers every Friday night. For example, Scott Dorsey, the CEO of Exact Target, made an appearance.

"I learned to take every opportunity to talk to people like CEOs. Even five minutes of their time is valuable," Garlock said.

Alongside seeing prominent personalities and learning how to communicate in a professional manner, Garlock stated that he learned how important it is to stay organized, especially when it comes to planning big events.

There's certainly a lot that goes into preparing for the Super Bowl, especially in the age of social networking, and Garlock is happy that he was able to get a glimpse into the whole operation.

"It's not just a football game. It's an experience."