NFL stars give Bosnia troops Bowl insight
By IVANA AVRAMOVIC | STARS AND STRIPES Published: February 3, 2004
EAGLE BASE, Bosnia and Herzegovina — Sgt. Justin Hogges of the 494th Postal Company did not turn in early so he could get up at 4 a.m. and take care of the mail. In fact, he did not turn in at all Sunday night.
After all, it was Super Bowl Sunday, and he wasn’t going to miss the big game.
“Yeah, it’s gonna be a long day, but you only have one Super Bowl,” he said.
He and other troops deployed to the Balkans could not have their beer, chicken wings and commercials on home TVs. But they got what they certainly would not have in their home living rooms — NFL stars to watch the game with them and to comment and give greater insight into the big game.
Morale, Welfare and Recreation, along with Pro Sports MVP, brought one current and four former NFL players to five camps in the Balkans.
Mark Moseley, who played from 1970 to 1986 with the Philadelphia Eagles and Washington Redskins, and who played in the the Super Bowl twice, spent the night with Eagle Base troops.
Guy McIntyre, formerly of the San Francisco 49ers, Green Bay Packers, and Philadelphia Eagles, went to Camp McGovern. John Hannah, formerly of the New England Patriots, went to Camp Butmir.
Jason Elam, the kicker for the Denver Broncos, along with Ken Harvey, who started his career with the Phoenix Cardinals and ended it with the Washington Redskins in 1999, visited the troops in Kosovo.
“It’s kinda obvious to just come here and show our appreciation,” said Moseley when asked why he came to Bosnia. “We’re proud of our guys and what they do. It’s the least we can do.”
Troops started the Super Bowl night winning T-shirts for correctly answering football trivia questions. Hogges, from Fairfield, Ill., and Spc. William Downing, from Dayton, Ohio, of the same unit, won several of them.
“Last couple of months would’ve gone slow without football. So slow. Football’s made the rotation go by pretty quickly,” said Downing, who says he is “absolutely obsessed” with football.
He and Hogges have stayed up many nights to follow the games.
“But it was definitely worth it. It’s been a great season,” Downing said.
“It makes you feel like you’re at home a little bit,” Hogges added.
The troops were aware of an element missing from the good atmosphere at Triggers club, where some 80 troops gathered to watch the game.
“It really is different without the football commercials,” said Capt. Chuck Traxler of 135th Mobile Public Affairs Detachment. “Commercials are such a big part of it back home.”
But then again, there was the pro’s input.
“I kinda know what it feels like,” Moseley said. “It’s one game that, no matter how many times you play it, you can’t help but feel some butterflies.”
Moseley, who visited the troops deployed to Bosnia two years before, did not mind doing it again.
“The thing that I’ve really enjoyed is that people really remember me. I feel honored that I’m still requested, because I’ve played 17 years ago,” he said. “I’m just honored to be asked to do things like this.”