Terry Tornabene and his son, Sam, are within two yards of scoring the touchdown of a lifetime.
When the father-son duo visit National Football League stadiums in Miami and Atlanta this autumn, they will have completed a quest that began more than five years ago to visit every NFL stadium throughout the United States.
“It all started, basically, because I wanted to do something with Sam that he would never forget,” said Terry Tornabene, a Bolivar-area resident. “My wife, Teri, helped come up with the idea.”
“It’s been a great experience,” said Sam Tornabene, who was a fourth-grader when the NFL tour began. “Not just the games, but being able to spend time with my dad and visit the cities where the stadiums are located.”
Sam now is a high school junior enrolled at Quaker Digital Academy in New Philadelphia.
Terry Tornabene said his wife and daughter have gone on several of the trips, but said only he and Sam attend the actual football games.
Highlights include attending four games that were played on Thanksgiving Day, including the traditional Thanksgiving games in Detroit and Dallas.
“If you’re going to see them (the stadiums in Detroit and Dallas), you may as well see them and be part of the tradition,” said Terry.
The farthest trip was to Seattle for a Seahawks game.
“Actually, we hit both Denver and Seattle on the same weekend,” said Terry. “Denver and Seattle are so far away from anyone else, we did both cities on the same trip. Denver played on Sunday, and Seattle was playing a Monday night game, so it worked out for us.”
Both Terry and Sam agree that Seattle was their favorite stadium. “It was an experience,” said Terry. “They claim to have the loudest stadium in the NFL, and they really do,” said Terry. “They have a 12th man flag, and when they raise that flag in the end zone before the game starts, the fans go crazy. It is deafening.”
Terry and Sam attended five nationally televised Monday night games, and on their trip to Chicago were able to fit in a Notre Dame game, thanks to a friend who got them tickets.
Although they’ve been to a game in Pittsburgh, Terry said he and Sam will be making a return trip because the day they were there, the temperature was 10 degrees below zero and his camera froze.
Along the way, Terry and Sam made all sorts of discoveries, among them the fact that the field the Arizona Cardinals play on rolls out from under the stadium. In Philadelphia, wind power is used to light Lincoln Financial Field where the Eagle play.
As for stadium food, both Terry and Sam agree that the best hot dogs can be found at Bank of America Stadium, where the Carolina Panthers play. However, when it comes to the best overall food, both say the Superdome, home of the New Orleans Saints, can’t be beat. “They have everything from alligator sausage sandwiches to jambalaya,” said Terry.
“If I had it to do all over again, I would in a heartbeat,” said Terry. “I feel like one of the luckiest dads in the world.”
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