Members of Minnesota's Super Bowl Host Committee are preparing to host Super Bowl LII in February 2018 by observing the action this week in the San Francisco Bay Area.
View aerial images updated from both the northeast corner and then the southwest corner, showcasing the progress at U.S. Bank Stadium. Updated from late June of 2016.
Super Bowl 50 will be held in Santa Clara, California, on Sunday, but events have dotted the region from San Francisco to Oakland and San Jose.
Rochelle Olson of the Star Tribune caught up with several committee members this week, including Chief Operations Officer Dave Haselman, who "walked 9 miles one day this week, darting from one event to another."
*Haselman arrived earlier this week, along with several key host committee members, including CEO Maureen Bausch, communications director Andrea Mokros and several others. Vikings marketing and event gurus Tanya Dreesen and Amy Anthony are also scoping things out in their roles as host committee members. *
"It's perspective for what is actually coming into the Twin Cities, the region," Haselman said of his reconnaissance work. He's already been to Levi's Stadium — located in Santa Clara, more than an hour-long ride from San Francisco — three times this week to talk to organizers for the game.
The committee members are speaking with fans who are attending events held in the lead-up to Sunday's game. They'll take that information and use it to continue to develop plans for 10 days of public and private events held before Super Bowl LII.
"We want to be able to execute rather than scramble," Haselman told Olson of his goal for Minnesota's Super Bowl, branded as "Bold North."
'Couldn't write a better story'
Mark Craig of the Star Tribune interviewed Denver tackle Ryan Harris, who was born in Minneapolis and raised in St. Paul, this week. Harris played at Cretin-Derham Hall High School and then Notre Dame. His journey to a starting spot in the sport's biggest game is quite remarkable.
Craig wrote that Harris gave a shout out to St. Paul "while overfilling his No. 68 Broncos jersey with more than 300 pounds of determination to keep Peyton Manning upright and unhurried in what could be the final game the quarterback's 18-year career."
"I look around and this is so far beyond what my dreams were [coming out of Cretin-Derham Hall High School]. Just playing in the NFL was enough for me growing up in St. Paul. To be here, playing in Super Bowl 50? I couldn't write a better story."
*The fact Harris still is playing at age 30, and starting all 18 games this season, is something he probably didn't expect either. The first of his three career back surgeries came at Notre Dame. *
*Drafted in the third round in 2007, he spent his first four years with the Broncos. He went to Philadelphia but didn't play in 2011 because of back surgery. He returned to Denver but was cut. He went to Houston, where he played two years under coach Gary Kubiak, and then Kansas City last season. *
The Broncos suffered injuries to Pro Bowler Ryan Clady in the offseason and rookie Ty Sambrailo earlier this season, prompting Harris' move from right tackle to left tackle in Week 4. It's been a surreal experience to team with Manning, Harris told Craig.
"When I first went out on the field with him and I saw the 'Manning' on the back of the jersey, it's like you've won one of those contests to spend a day with Peyton Manning," Harris said. "But then you see that he's just like the rest of us. A great teammate."