Free Super Bowl tickets come with butterflies

Tyler McIntosh

Unlike last year when Kent State alumnus James Harrison played in the Super Bowl for Pittsburgh, no former Flashes will take the field this Sunday.

However, that doesn’t mean Kent State is without a tie to this year’s game. Bobby Babich, a graduate assistant with Kent State football, has the kind of ties that produce free Super Bowl tickets. His father, Bob Babich Sr., is the assistant head coach for the Chicago Bears.

Despite being a Steelers fan, Babich is pulling for his father’s Bears, he said in a phone interview shortly after his plane arrived in Miami on Thursday. Babich is dealing with a mixture of nervousness and confidence, he said, and expects to be antsy come kick off time on Sunday.

“I’m nervous for my dad but, I’m also happy for him,” Babich said. “He is a wonderful coach and I know he will do well.”

The craziness of the week before the biggest sporting event in the country has left little time for many father/son conversations, he said.

“I usually talk to my dad a lot. But this week, he has been focused on the game so it has been more like him calling, asking me how I’m doing and saying ‘see you later,'” Babich said. “He’s a guy who is very focused on just the game right now.”

What kind of tickets do family members receive for the Super Bowl? According to Babich, a former All-GreatWest Football Conference cornerback at North Dakota State, he and his family will be sitting on the 20 yard line, 30 rows up, where tickets sell for $5,450 apiece.

Babich Sr. has been coaching in the NFL for four years. After being the head coach at North Dakota State from 1997-2002, Babich Sr. joined the St. Louis Rams for a season before going to Chicago to coach under Lovie Smith.

At the end of last season, the Buffalo Bills asked the Bears for permission to interview Babich Sr. for their vacant defensive coordinator position. But a promotion from linebackers coach to assistant head coach kept him in Chicago.

If the Bears win on Sunday, Babich said all bets are off on whether his father would return to Chicago.

“I think that’s always a possibility (of leaving). A Super Bowl win would definitely look good on his resume,” Babich said. “I know he has aspirations to move up, but right now he is focused on the game.”

As far as predictions go, Babich likes the Bears, 21-10. He said too much is being made about the Bears having to stop the Colts. Aside from the Bears’ strong rushing attack, Babich singled out two more keys to victory.

“The Bears (need) to be good at what they do, and hopefully stop Peyton Manning,” he said.

Contact sports reporter Tyler McIntosh at [email protected].