NFL players party with Yokosuka sailors for Super Bowl

Sailors and their families celebrate after yet another touchdown by the Seattle Seahawks during a Super Bowl party at Benny Decker theater on Yokosuka Naval Base Feb. 3. After the game everyone had an opportunity to meet NFL players who had come to visit.


By TREVOR ANDERSEN | STARS AND STRIPES Published: February 3, 2014

YOKOSUKA NAVAL BASE, Japan — Denver Broncos fan Petty Officer Eric Douglas was depressed to see his team beaten so badly in the Super Bowl. But he had a couple of consolation prizes.

First, he got to meet several NFL players who were visiting Yokosuka Naval Base to hang out with sailors during the Super Bowl, which aired live Monday morning in Japan.

“It’s not every day you get to meet NFL players and get autographs,” Douglas said. “And I won a Super Bowl sweater for trivia, so that made it better.”

Former Green Bay Packers fullback William Henderson went from venue to venue during the game, along with Packers players Greg Van Roten and Brad Jones, Cardinals player Justin Bethel and Packers head athletic trainer Pepper Burruss. They signed autographs and had their photos taken with fans along the way.

“This isn’t about sightseeing or tourism. We’re here to meet the enlisted men and women who are actually serving,” Henderson said. “We are privileged to be here today.”

During half-time, the players met with the sailors at the Single Sailor Liberty Center, where Henderson competed in and brutally lost a chicken wing-eating contest. Petty Officer Nathan Zaffke from the USS George Washington was the winner.

Henderson spoke about his defeat in a mock press conference tone afterward.

“I tried to put my best into it. I gave it my all but I will say the better man won. He was willing to put mouth to wing and make it happen. I could do nothing but sit back and marvel at his capacity to chow down, appreciating every facet of the wing,” he said.

Zaffke credited his win to experience.

“I’ve done the ‘Blazin’ Challenge’ at Buffalo Wild Wings,” he said.


NFL players Greg Van Roten, Brad Jones, Justin Bethel and William Henderson take a photo with Petty Officer 2nd Class Eric Douglas from the USS George Washington after the Super Bowl Feb. 3. The players toured Yokosuka Naval Base to interact with sailors during the game.