• Image about Super Bowl Xlv
photographs by Manny Rodriguez

With Super Bowl XLV in North Texas, Dallas Cowboys legend Troy Aikman revisits the event that turned his star into a supernova.

When the Super Bowl circus pulls in to Cowboys Stadium in Arlington, Texas, during the first week of February, one of its legendary figures will arrive with it: Dallas Cowboys great and Pro Football Hall of Famer Troy Aikman. As the lead analyst for Fox’s broadcast of the game, Aikman returns for his third Super Bowl as a commentator. Coupled with his three Super Bowls as a player, Aikman joins an exclusive club of Super Bowl perennials, right alongside multigame participants/pundits John Madden and Phil Simms.

As a player, Aikman holds Super Bowl numbers matched only by Tom Brady’s, Terry Bradshaw’s and Joe Montana’s: three games, three wins, 56 completed passes out of 80 attempts for 689 yards, five touchdowns and only a single interception. And for the trivia-minded, he’s also the only Super Bowl MVP who has ever donned a yellow jacket to work security (at Super Bowl XXII).

Super Bowl XLV in Arlington, then, represents a dual homecoming for Aikman: to the game upon which he left his indelible stamp and to the region he calls home. Here, he weighs in on the five Super Bowls that left an indelible impression on him.

  • Image about Super Bowl Xlv
Minnesota Vikings coach Bud Grant and players during Super Bowl XI, in 1977.
photographs by Manny Rodriguez
(Jan. 9, 1977)
Oakland Raiders 32, Minnesota Vikings 14
Troy Kenneth Aikman was born on Nov. 21, 1966, in West Covina, Calif. He rooted for the Los Angeles Rams before his family relocated to Henryetta, Okla., when he was 12.

The first Super Bowl I attended was in Pasadena — New York Giants vs. Denver Broncos — in 1987. Then I worked, technically speaking, the next Super Bowl, which was the Broncos against the Washington Redskins. I knew the owner of the company that was providing the event staff, so I worked as one of the yellow-jacket guys. After a little while, I found a good spot to watch the game and didn’t pay much attention to what was happening in the stands. I didn’t provide [very] much security.

But the first Super Bowl that really made an impression on me was Minnesota vs. Oakland, way back in the mid-’70s. I was living out in California and was 10 years old. Chuck Foreman and Fran Tarkenton on the Vikings, Kenny Stabler and Cliff Branch on the Raiders, with Bud Grant and John Madden coaching — I was into it even before I attended a professional football game. I remember the national anthem really clearly, standing up in the living room of my parents’ house and making my parents do the same, paying respect to the flag. The game itself I don’t remember as clearly.

What interested me then is the same thing that kept me interested throughout my career: the idea that whoever won was the champion and whoever lost wasn’t. That’s what I got excited about as a player; I always enjoyed playing in the playoffs. To this day, I don’t follow most other sports during the regular season, but I follow all of them once the playoffs start. I like the drama of it, the finality of it. The first time I really felt that was watching [my] first Super Bowl with the Vikings and Raiders.