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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