Super Bowl XXXVIII
January 28, 2004
When Jim Nantz conceived a unique idea to produce the first-ever Opening Ceremony for Super Bowl XXXVIII in his adopted hometown of Houston, the award-winning CBS Sports anchor turned to longtime friends Chris Begala and Jim McGrath to handle media relations, assist with event scripting and video production, and otherwise help make his vision a reality.
“It took a team of talented professionals to pull this history-making event off, and Jim and Chris were absolutely vital to our success,” Nantz recalled. “I relied on their judgment, creativity and advice throughout, and their fingerprints were all over the final product. Together, we gave the city of Houston — and indeed the sports world — a special night to be remembered.”
In the end, the event, dubbed “A Houston Salute,” generated national and international headlines by featuring the greatest group of sports stars that Houston, or probably any other city, has assembled in one place. Former Oilers’ running back Earl Campbell, pitching legend Nolan Ryan, Olympic gold medalist Mary Lou Retton, basketball great Clyde Drexler — each entered Reliant Arena via the red carpet walkway, went onstage to the applause of a sold-out audience, and passed the game ball that would be used that Sunday for the kickoff between the New England Patriots and Carolina Panthers.
From the conception of the event through the end of that historic evening, Begala and McGrath worked closely with Nantz and the Houston Super Bowl host committee leaders to manage all aspects of the media coverage, produce and edit several key videos, and even assist in scripting the event itself. It was truly a team effort.