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NYC hosts top pre-Super Bowl shows

B.L. OLIVER | 2/6/2014, 3:20 a.m.
Queen Latifah singing at Super Bowl XLVIII Photo by Bill Moore

The night before the kickoff of Super Bowl XLVIII, the NFL saluted its best players. The Pro Football Hall of Fame class of 2014 was introduced at Radio City Music Hall.  Our own Michael Strahan of the New York Giants was among the honorees. 

“I’m excited to have made it and to join the other members of the Hall of Fame and to be inducted with the class I’m inducted in with—guys that I admire when I played against them, guys I admired when I watched them, even though they’re from a different era.  They’re guys of high character. That’s all you can ask for—to be with a group like that, and I’m honored to be with this group,” said Strahan.

Friday night, the Greater Harlem Chamber of Commerce hosted a salute to Black History Month at the Apollo Theater, honoring Hall of Fame athletes from our nation’s Black college and universities. The highlights of the evening were the performances of the numerous legendary artists, including Valerie Simpson, Regina Bell, Lalah Hathaway and the Mass Choir of First Corinthian Baptist.

The pre-game show began with the Rutgers University Marching Band, followed by Queen Latifah, who sang her rendition of “America the Beautiful” along with the New Jersey Youth Chorus. The national anthem was performed by Renée Fleming. This was the first time the national anthem was sung by an opera singer at the Super Bowl.

Bruno Mars performed in front of the biggest audience of his career at the Super Bowl XLVIII halftime show. Mars was joined by the Red Hot Chili Peppers while he performed his big number “When I was Your Man.” 

Mars said he was honored when he received the phone call from the NFL to perform at halftime. “The NFL is such a prestigious stage, that they give the new guy a shot—I’m so grateful for that,” Mars said.

Fifth-graders from New York and New Jersey learned about the differences that make them unique and the similarities that bring them together as part of the NFL’s diversity program, “One World: Connecting Communities, Cultures and Classrooms.” Ten classes of varying ethnic and racial backgrounds who had been communicating with each other through letters met for the first time. Together, they participated in a series of workshops that incorporated both scientific and cultural themes. Students were given the opportunity to learn more about their pen pals and interacted with New York Giants tight end Bear Pascoe.