By Army Sgt. 1st Class Michael J. Carden
WASHINGTON, Feb. 2, 2011 - From Air Force fighter jet flyovers to Army parachutists dropping in at halftime, the U.S. military and the National Football League have shared more than 40 years of Super Bowl history.
That tradition continues this week during the Super Bowl XLV festivities in North Texas. The Pittsburgh Steelers are playing for their second Super Bowl win in three years as they face the Green Bay Packers at Cowboys Stadium on Feb. 6.
NFL players in the area were scheduled to spend yesterday afternoon greeting troops returning from combat tours in Iraq and Afghanistan at Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport. Tonight at 8, NFL players and hall-of-famers in Texas for the game will connect with deployed troops for the annual NFL Charities Super Bowl Celebrity Bowling Classic. The interactive broadcast will connect the celebrities with wounded servicemembers recovering at a military hospital in Afghanistan.
Ten wounded warriors recovering in San Diego and Washington, D.C., will travel to North Texas courtesy of NFL Experience. The troops will participate in the Rehabbing with the Troops program and work out with NFL players Feb. 4. The troops were selected for finishing in the top 10 of the season-long program, which used EA Active NFL training camps to help wounded troops with their rehabilitation.
Also on Feb. 4, several sevice members will participate in NFL commissioner Roger Goodell's news conference. About 150 children from Fort Hood, Texas, will participate in an NFL youth football clinic hosted by the I'm Not a Hero Foundation.
Fort Hood servicemembers will attend several other Super Bowl events as special guests of the NFL throughout the week, including the NFL Experience and the Tazon Latino Flag Football game today, VH1's Pepsi Fan Jam tomorrow, Univision Pepsi Fan Jam Feb. 4 and a special concert Feb. 5 hosted by Country Music Television.
The NFL will cap off the week with a Super Bowl party throughout the game at Joint Base Meyer-Henderson Hall, Va., for wounded warriors recovering at Walter Reed Army Medical Center here.
Throughout the years, the Super Bowl has become one of the most highly rated televised events of the year. This year, Super Bowl XLV will be broadcast to more than 230 countries to a potential worldwide audience of more than 1 billion viewers, including servicemembers serving in Iraq and Afghanistan.