By SAIPAN TRIBUNE Staff
A date was set, a meeting was arranged, and leaves of absence were filed.
All these were planned ahead of time so Saipan football fans could tune-in to NFL's biggest event of the season-the Super Bowl.
Tony Kapileo was with his wife Aida at Naked Fish, as they took time out from work to have a lunch date and watch the exciting game between the Baltimore Ravens and San Francisco 49ers.
“We wanted to have quality time together and one of the best ways to do it is watch the Super Bowl together and root for our favorite team,” said Tony, who pointed out to the color (purple) of his wife's blouse when asked which squad did they put their money on.
Seated next to the Kapileo couple was Carl Hocog, president of a local golf club, who decided to gather members and officials of their group on Super Bowl Monday to discuss a fundraising event.
“It's had to get members who have different work schedule. But today, I know majority of our members will be out there in various bars and restaurants to watch Super Bowl, so I decided to bring them in one venue so we can talk about our fundraiser and at the same time watch the game together,” Hocog said.
“We accomplished two things in one day. We get to enjoy watching our favorite teams and have a friendly competition,” added Hocog, a 49ers fan.
Carlos Rivera had no meeting to attend or work to go, as he reserved the day for the Super Bowl.
“I took a leave and filed it way ahead of the Super Bowl. Today was all about football and friends,” said Rivera, who rooted for the Ravens and went home victorious.
Peter Sablan and his 49ers lost, but still enjoyed watching the thrilling game with his friends.
“I've been watching Super Bowl for the past five years, but this one is a bit special because of three factors. For one, there is Ray Lewis, who is retiring and would want to go out with a bang. Then, there is a new breed of quarterback in Colin Kaepernick. Lastly, this year's Super Bowl has two brothers on the opposing sides, trying to lead their respective teams to the championship,” Sablan said.
While most of the Saipan fans looked for matchups and other plots in the San Francisco-Baltimore duel, Marianas Visitors Authority marketing manager Bruce Bateman waited for the halftime show.
“Sometimes the halftime show is better than the game itself,” said Bateman, who filed a leave of absence from work to watch Super Bowl at Godfather's. I like the burritos, too, and enjoy the festive mood here.”
Around 60 mixed Ravens and 49ers fans packed Godfather's and according to co-owner Scott Dotino, the number was lower compared to last year. Naked Fish had the same experience, as between 30 and 50 showed up at the Beach Road watering hole.
A Naked Fish staff said before they used to have around 100 and they initially thought of not hosting Super Bowl this year, but had a change of heart, as they wanted to treat their loyal customers. Dotino also said treating Saipan residents to Super Bowl action and good food is their way of showing customer appreciation.
Meanwhile, a lively mob of about 50 people were packed inside Saipan World Resort's Red Box Bar & Cocktail Lounge where fans enjoyed bottomless rounds of Heineken and other drink specials.
Half of the onlookers cheered for the West Coast San Francisco 49ers, while the latter share enjoyed the Baltimore Ravens' early first half surge in the sports bar's blacked out bar room that had the big game featured on a giant projector screen.
There was a small gathering of about 20 spectators over at Kanoa Resort's Nami Bar who enjoyed a breakfast buffet and some comfy seating with multiple high-definition television sets in all corners of the room.
Like the Red Box crowd, the fans in attendance were also split down the middle.
Meanwhile, the big party was taking place even further down south as easily over 150-strong turned out for Pacific Islands Club's Monday Gridiron Party where a multitude of cash and other prizes were given away.
PIC also had the game featured on a big projector screen in addition to other television sets strategically positioned around the main stage and back room.
There were some 49ers fans sitting front and center, however the Ravens supporters were making the brunt of the noise up to when the untimely power outage caused a lengthy pause in the action.
In the end, the Ravens' 34-31 victory was tough to accept for 49er fans not only at PIC but to the predominantly West Coast-leaning football enthusiasts of the island as well. However, who knows whether or not its offensive linemen was committing some holding at the same time.
Several other bars and restaurants decided not to host Super Bowl due to lack of enough time in planning and economic reasons.