Kirt Klingermann has worked Valley event security for two decades and was at his post Monday for the BCS title game. But there was no way he could top the previous Monday night, when he found himself in the spotlight at the end of the wild Boise State-Oklahoma Fiesta Bowl.
Klingermann was working the northwest end zone where Boise running back Ian Johnson ran with the winning two-point conversion. When the Bronco players began jumping into the crowd, the stands began to give way and Klingermann rushed in to help. He wound up next to Fox reporter Chris Meyers and Johnson — just as the player proposed to his cheerleader/girlfriend.
“I can’t tell you how many people I’ve heard from. Maybe 50 or 100,” Klingermann said. “I was trying to keep people away, and then he drops to one knee. I thought he fell. I’m just glad I didn’t try to pick him up, I could have ruined the whole thing.”
Colors do matter
As usual, the team wearing red got hammered at University of Phoenix Stadium.
If you’re from Arizona, Oklahoma or Ohio, the story is the same. Big Red winds up dead.
After watching Boise State and Florida, the Cardinals must be considering a change to light blue and orange. It seems to work in Glendale.
Bob Hallman from Tampa, Fla., walked through the gate about an hour before
kickoff with a box containing “The Official National Championship Crown,” which he fully expected to present to a Gator at the end of the game.
“It’s a tradition,” said Hallman. “We do it every 10 years.”
And to prove it, Hallman’s party carried a full-page picture from Sports Illustrated showing Florida cornerback Lawrence Wright wearing the crown after beating Florida State in the 1996 Sugar Bowl and earning their first title.
Two days earlier, Arizona State’s undefeated season and championship hopes ended in the final second of the Rose Bowl against — Ohio State.
If the suit fits…
Justin Hill had no trouble picking out his attire for the game. The Canton, Ohio, native has a Buckeye leisure suit — sport coat, slacks and tie – that he bought from an old OSU fan at a garage sale in the 1980s. It’s seen better days, so he only wears it for Michigan games and bowl games.
“I had to interview for the suit,” Hill said. “I had to prove I was a true Buckeyes fan and I had to prove the suit fit me. I’m glad the guy was very short and very wide, so I was perfect.”
That’s a punter for you
The Cardinals received 2,000 suite tickets for Monday’s game, but Arizona punter and Florida State alum Scott Player didn’t bother asking for seats.
So when Player showed up for the game, decked out in Gator garb, he was out of luck until a Cardinal official took pity on the punter and found him a way inside.
Maybe it’s time to start wearing two bars on that helmet, Scott.
Going Gonzo in Glendale
Former Diamondbacks outfielder Luis Gonzalez had a clear-cut favorite Monday.
“I’m a Florida guy,” said Gonzalez, who was raised in Tampa, Fla., after his parents emigrated from Cuba.
Gonzalez watched the game in the suite he purchased as a Cardinals season-ticket holder.
“I’m with a box full of friends. Come on down.”
- How long has it been since Ohio State played a football game? The same day the Buckeyes beat Michigan to punch their ticket to Glendale, the Suns lost in overtime to Utah and fell to 3-6 on the season.
- Ohio State quarterback Troy Smith went into the game with history against him. The last five Heisman winners involved in a national title game went 1-4 – with USC’s Matt Leinart the only one to walk away with both trophies. On the losing end: Chris Weinke, Eric Crouch, Jason White and Reggie Bush.
- One hour before kickoff, the lines to the men’s bathrooms on the 100 level were more than 150 deep — most of them die-hard fans looking for relief from a long afternoon of foamy tailgating.
- “I’m thinking about shaving my beard and trying to get into the women’s room. There’s no waiting,” Ohio State fan Alex Hubble said. “That’s the worst thing about domed stadiums – no trees.”