Are you a football fan?
The kind of rabid fan who would pay to wait hours in line to get your picture taken with the Vince Lombardi Trophy or to be able to closely inspect every single one of the 57 Super Bowl Championship rings?
If you said yes, then you absolutely must spend an afternoon at the NFL Super Bowl Experience in Las Vegas.
Over the course of the last week in Sin City, I have witnessed my fair share of debauchery and wild-eyed tourists possessed with an all-consuming gambling fervor, so it was a nice change of pace to witness the throngs of fans enjoying the wholesome NFL Super Bowl Experience in Las Vegas.
When I read the following description about the event, I knew I must attend.
The NFL takes over Mandalay Bay South Convention Center starting Wednesday, February 7 through Saturday, February 10 with Super Bowl Experience. Experience the NFL's football theme park with interactive games like the 40-yard dash, get star player autographs, take photos with the Super Bowl Rings and Vince Lombardi trophy, and visit NFL Shop presented by Visa. It's the ultimate Super Bowl Week event with fun for all ages.
Tickets were $50 per person (children 12 and under were free), and as we drove and parked at the Mandalay Bay Convention Center, we passed by Allegiant Stadium, which was geared up for The Big Game.
Parking cost an astounding $60 at the Mandalay Bay (normal weekend prices are $23 per day), which would have been free had we been MGM Rewards members.
After carefully making our way through the crowded casino, we were in line by 2:30pm.
Visitors to the special fan extravaganza were dressed in their favorite team's jersey (there were double the amount of 49ers supporters as compared to Chiefs), and the line to enter snaked across the parking lot adjacent to the convention center.
Once inside, the first order of business was to get a glimpse of the Vince Lombardi Trophy.
Even though we arrived right when the doors opened at 3:00pm, the line was over an hour to get your picture taken with the famous piece of hardware.
Thankfully, the NFL was showing video highlights from past Super Bowls on a movie theater-sized screen in the waiting hall, so the time passed by quickly, and we also chatted with other football aficionados in line about their favorite teams.
Finally, we made it up to the stage where the pictures were taken.
You must hand over your phone to an attendant, who will take one picture of the trophy by itself and then one picture of either you individually or your group.
Mom and I ended up getting a picture of the two of us, which you can see below.
Next up was the opportunity to check out the Super Bowl rings, and we also waited an hour in that line.
Replete with a jeweler's loupe (a magnifying glass), the exhibit offered guests the chance to zoom in on the details of each and every treasure.
My personal favorites were the Dallas Cowboys rings from Roger Staubach and Troy Aikman, but obviously I am biased.
From the lone diamond in Green Bay's 1966 Super Bowl I Championship ring to the Kansas's City ostentatious and massively-sized Super Bowl 57 ring, it was fascinating to see how the football bling had evolved.
Many of the rings had engravings on the sides as well, with the final score, date and location of the Super Bowl that had been won.
By this time it was after 5pm, and the convention center was PACKED, reminding me of Tokyo's frenetic Shibuya Crossing.
We weaved our way through the crowd to check out the plethora of other activities.
The Look Like A Pro area allowed attendees to step inside a uniformed body-cast mold bearing the insignia of their favorite NFL team and have a friend snap a photo.
In addition, there were large crowds assembled for player autographs from NFL stars such as Tee Higgins, Bryce Young and Puka Nacua.
Finally, attendees could try their skill in various challenges, including a field goal try and the 40 yard dash.
There was also a Super Bowl shop full of gear for the Big Game's latest iteration.
Visitors could stay until 10pm, and if you wanted to do everything, you would need to stay until then.
As we left via the main exit back into the Mandalay Bay, we were all smiles and pumped up for the Sunday's main event.
If you don't mind crowds and queues, then the official NFL Super Bowl Experience is for you, including next year when the game is in New Orleans.
For more of my sports-related articles, check out the Sporting Events section of my website.