Troops Worldwide Watch Super Bowl XXXVIII

By Gerry J. Gilmore

U.S. troops serving worldwide tuned in to watch Super Bowl XXXVIII – and depending on where they were, the game took place Feb. 1 or today.

Troops in Iraq and Afghanistan watched the game in the wee hours this morning Troops west of the continental United States celebrated or mourned the game’s result over their Feb. 1 dinner. And forces stationed in Guam saw Adam Vinatieri’s game-winning field goal after lunch today.

The American Forces Radio and Television Service beamed the New England Patriots’ 32-29 victory over the Carolina Panthers for the National Football League championship to its outlets around the world.

President Bush saluted American service members fighting the war on terror from the White House during a live, pre-game interview with CBS’s Jim Nantz in Houston, where the game was played at Reliant Stadium.

Bush extended his best wishes "to our troops who are watching this game today," noting he and the nation support them and "are staying with them."

Regarding the game, Bush demurred on picking a winner, but he accurately predicted it would "be a very close contest."

AFRTS also played taped messages from senior service representatives, thanking the troops supporting the war on terror, during its airing of the game. Joint Chiefs Chairman Air Force Gen. Richard Myers, Sgt. Maj. of the Army Kenneth Preston, Master Chief Petty Officer of the Navy Terry Scott and Sgt. Maj. of the Marine Corps John Estrada took part.

Marine Gen. Peter Pace, Joint Chiefs vice chairman, escorted singer Beyonce onto the field for her rendition of the "Star Spangled Banner" before the start of the game.

The hard-fought contest likely will be remembered as a classic. The game got off to a slow start, remaining scoreless and defense-intensive throughout most of the first half. Yet, the second half was an offensive showcase, with Patriots quarterback Tom Brady and Panthers passer Jake Delhomme completing passes left and right, each eventually amassing more than 300 passing yards. The Patriots’ winning field goal came in the closing seconds.

The Patriots now reign as Super Bowl champions for the second time in three years, as Brady joined hall-of-famers Bart Starr, Terry Bradshaw and Joe Montana as the only quarterbacks to be named most valuable player in the championship game more than once.