When Michael Hancock went to the Super Bowl in 1987 he went as the team mascot, then known as "Huddles." When he attends the Super Bowl on Sunday, he'll be going as "Hizzoner," Denver's mayor.
Hancock and Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper will both be present for the big game, as have previous mayors and governors before them.
The Denver Broncos play the Seattle Seahawks Sunday in New Jersey.
"The mayor has been a lifelong Broncos fan, and, like the rest of Broncos nation, is super excited about the game," spokeswoman Rowena Alegria said. "This is such a unique opportunity for Denver. The mayor is going to New York and while there will promote the city as a great place to build a business or a career, and potentially even to host a future Super Bowl."
Private funds are paying for the trip for Hancock and his immediate family, including his mother, Charlene, "who rivals her son for Broncos fervor," Alegria said. Alegria and Hancock's scheduler, Monica Lang, also are going, and their expenses are being paid through private funds.
Hickenlooper is paying the airfare, tickets and lodging for him and his son Teddy, gubernatorial spokesman Eric Brown said. Hickenlooper will be accompanied by his chief of staff, Roxanne White, and his senior media adviser, Max Potter. They are paying for their own game tickets, and the state is paying for their lodging and airfare, Hickenlooper spokesman Eric Brown said.
Hancock is making several appearances with Seattle Mayor Ed Murray, including The Colbert Report on Thursday and The Today Show on Friday, Alegria said.
Hickenlooper also has TV shows scheduled, including "This Week with George Stephanopoulos" on Sunday with Washington's governor, Jay Inslee, Brown said.
Former Gov. Roy Romer brought along his deputy press secretary, Matt Sugar, when the Broncos won their first Super Bowl, in 1998, against the Green Bay Packers in San Diego. Sugar said he bought his own ticket to the game, but is pretty sure the governor's office paid his airfare and hotel.
But Andrew Hudson, spokesman for then Denver Mayor Wellington Webb, recalled that he and Sugar paid all of their own expenses. They shared a hotel room.
Webb said he attended both of the winning Super Bowl games with his wife, Wilma Webb. He doesn't remember who paid for their tickets or their airfare, but said he definitely paid for their lodging for the Packers game. The only room they could find was across the border in Mexico.
The Broncos returned to the Super Bowl in 1999, playing the Atlanta Falcons in Miami. Bill Owens had just taken office that month as governor, and said at the time that he used his personal credit card to pay the Broncos $400 for his ticket. He traveled alone.