A CORK native will be the envy of NFL fans everywhere this Sunday after landing the gig of a lifetime covering the Super Bowl LVII in Glendale, Arizona.
Colum Cronin from Fermoy will be rubbing shoulders with some of the world’s biggest celebrities at the event in State Farm Stadium. Kick-off between the Kansas City Chiefs and Philadelphia Eagles is set to take place at 6.30pm (US time). Sports fans across the world are expected to tune into the spectacle which is airing on Fox. This will be the NFC champions Philadelphia Eagle’s fourth Super Bowl in contrast to the Kansas City Chiefs who are playing for the fifth time.
Colum, who works as a Development Officer with Dublin City University and co-hosts well-known podcast The Irish NFL Show, was among the select few granted accreditation to cover the game. After a lengthy application process, Colum is glad his efforts to realise a lifelong dream are finally paying off.
The Cork man has come a long way since his early days following the sport.
“When they started showing NFL highlights on Monday nights on RTÉ in the late eighties I fell in love with the sport,” he said. “Growing up in Fermoy, there weren’t too many who were into the sport. However, I remember my mum buying me tickets for the Wild Geese Classic. Nowadays, when they bring college football to Ireland they do it in August when it’s nice. In those days, it was mid-November. We went along, and even though it was freezing I got so much more enjoyment watching it live.“
Colum never gave up on his dream of making it to the Super Bowl.
“I worked in international education and ran a study programme abroad which gave me the opportunity to travel to the US. The students were interested so I would be chatting to them about it.” It wasn’t long before The Irish NFL Show was born.
“We started the Irish NFL show to focus on the league rather than one particular team. We’ve been fortunate to get to speak to current players and former players. Now we have been accredited to come and attend the Superbowl and bring an Irish voice to it.”
He acknowledged the lengths people exhaust to secure tickets.
“It’s incredible because we are talking about a game where the cheapest tickets are €5000. It definitely wouldn’t have been possible to buy the tickets ourselves. We have received some sponsorship from the show over the course of the season which helps offset some of the other costs. Some people take out loans. It’s a talking point when you consider that the Superbowl is made up of corporate sponsors and celebrities rather than fans who have been following the game for years. I recognise how fortunate I am to be able to attend in a media capacity.” Colum is also looking forward to the halftime show.
“Figures for the event are obviously huge but they go up significantly during the halftime show. This year will see Rihanna perform but there are a host of other artists. Some of these names will leak and others will come as a surprise. The halftime show is a concert itself.”
Colum is looking forward to flying the flag for the rebel county.
“I have no doubt we will see a Kerry jersey in the crowd but it would also be nice to see the rebel county represented. It would be great to have a Cork jersey somewhere in the crowd.”
He described his reaction on receiving the news.
“You have to apply for accreditation. You don’t know from the subject line if you’ve been successful or not so you’re waiting with bated breath to find out what the outcome might be. There was a huge amount of relief and a great level of joy that came with the news we were going. I was at work at the time and I’m sure they could hear me down the corridor after I opened the email.” The podcaster said he would love to see the sport thrive in Ireland.
Colum said there were disadvantages to being a NFL fan growing up in Fermoy.
“It was a lonely road for a long time. When you’re watching the NFL from Fermoy as a child there is nobody to share your joy with about your team winning. Social media didn’t exist back then so you wouldn’t have had that online community you see today. There are definitely pluses and minuses. On the plus side there weren’t that many voices in that space when it came to covering the league and we were able to do things a little differently.”