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New York passes Super Bowl shovel to Arizona

The Super Bowl Shovel changes hands. (KTAR Photo/Bob McClay)

PHOENIX -- Arizona is hosting Super Bowl XLIX‎ in 2015. On Tuesday, there was a "passing of the torch" of sorts from the hosts of 2014's championship game.

Students were on hand at Kennilworth Elementary School in Phoenix as the Super Bowl's Golden Shovel was passed from last year's host, New York/New Jersey, to Arizona.

National Football League Environmental Director Jack Groh said the shovel passing has become a tradition.

"Each Super Bowl has put their logo on it as the years have gone by before they pass it along to the next city," he said.

Groh held the shovel as a read the logos from the top down.

"Up here we have New York/New Jersey. We've got New Orleans, Indianapolis, north Texas, Miami Dolphins."

Groh presented the shovel to Arizona Super Bowl Host Committee CEO Jay Parry.

The students then used other shovels to plant a Lacebark Elm Tree at their school. It was donated by the New York/New Jersey Host committee, which planted a similar tree in Bloomfield, N.J., on Friday. Part of the tradition is that the previous host community donates one tree to the next host committee and that tree is one that grows in both climates.

Groh said that it's all a part of the NFL's environmental program.

"We are going to be green," he said. "We are going to look at all of the environmental impacts that our events have. We are going to do what we can, first of all, to mitigate the environmental impacts, but second of all, to leave some kind of a permanent positive legacy behind. That's what this represents."

This is the first of several plantings that the NFL is planning in Arizona in the months leading up to the Super Bowl. Groh said that the rest of the plantings will take place this fall, though he could not say where. Seven trees were planted in various locations around the valley when it last hosted the Super Bowl in 2008.

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About the Author


Years with the company: I started on January 2, 2006.

Education: I was born in San Antonio, Texas, but we moved to Phoenix when I was one-year-old in 1957. I grew up here and graduated from Alhambra High School and attended Phoenix College.

Family: I am married to my wife Rene', who is a librarian in the Washington school district. During free time, I may be found playing basketball in the driveway with my son, Devin. He's also keeping me busy with school, Little League, and playing in chess tournaments around the Valley.

Favorite food: Lots of favorite food, but our favorite restaurant is Fajitas.

Favorite spot in Arizona: The Little America Hotel in Flagstaff.

Favorite news memory: We have to go back to October 15, 1979. I was a country music air personality at KROP Radio in Brawley, California, when we had a 6.7 earthquake. Thankfully, there were no deaths and only minor injuries, but the entire community was pretty freaked out and listening to the station on their transistor radios. I would not want to go through an earthquake again, but it sure was a great night to work in radio and see how it can make a difference in people's lives.

First job: Working as a stringer for 'The Arizona Republic' at high school football games. My first real job was flipping burgers at the old Sandy's Hamburgers at 51st Avenue and Indian School Road. My first radio job was as announcer at KALJ radio in Yuma in 1977.

First concert: Doug Oldham gospel concert in the 1970s at the old East High School in Phoenix.

Favorite sports team: Phoenix Roadrunners minor league hockey. My dad took me to a game when I was in grade school, and I was hooked. I wanted to be a radio hockey play-by-play man. I used to take my cassette recorder and sit up in the rafters of the Coliseum and do play-by-play. It was great later in life to also take my son to Roadrunners games. Too bad the team just folded, I'll miss them. (Going to the Coyotes is fun, but they're not "my" team.)

Outside interests: My family and I are active in our church - Northern Hills Community Church in Phoenix. We enjoy going to movies, sporting events, and like to vacation at the Beach Cottages in the Pacific Beach area of San Diego. And I love to play catch, basketball, football with my son.

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