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Millions of eyes were glued to the TV last night for the Super Bowl.

But inside the stadium, some weren’t watching.  Big Game Bound Reporter and Atlanta Bureau Chief Ashley Bridges has the story.

It’s not just the biggest game in town, it’s the biggest  in the world.  Getting into the game didn’t come cheap:  the cheapest ticket we found was $3,000. Earlier in the week stub hub told us the AVERAGE seat was running around $7,000.  And yet, people left those $7,000 seats to stand around us.  We were broadcasting from the one of the most popular spots in the stadium:  THE PHONE CHARGING STATION.  What?  Why?

“To get everything on Instagram,” said Gabe, who explained he just wanted to share his experience.

There was absolute despair and disbelief when the built in charging cords weren’t working: a stranger tried to pay me 50 bucks for my charger, others showed up unsolicited with adult beverages begging to get a quick battery bump.  Many missed entire quarters, one girl missed all of the third and half of the fourth.  Hundreds of people approached us at that one charging station alone, so we had to ask:  why do you care so much about charging your phone if you’re at the Super Bowl?

“You’re taking pictures, corresponding with your friends that want to be here and they’re not,” one woman said.

The irony – are you really there, if you’re standing here?

“That’s why I’m charging my phone because I’ve taken so many pictures, sent so many text messages,” one fan explained.  “I ran out of juice and I need more.”

And the ultimate irony…watching the super bowl on your phone…while AT THE SUPER BOWL.  Perfectly nice phone fanatic fans denying it’s part of the experience.

“No, I try to not make it part of the experience because it’s taking away from the moment,” a fan said.

All part of this story…shot, of course, on an iphone..during the game.  Reporting in Atlanta, I’m Ashley Bridges.


Can you imagine being in middle school and shooting a professional music video about this place, the city you love — at the stunning stadium behind me with one of the world’s biggest rappers? Pretty cool, right? But that’s far from the most amazing part of this story.

From Luda to Keisha, the biggest names in the ATL wanted to help these kids showcase the city they love.

“Which was ah-mazing,” said Jordan Barber, a student at Ron Clark Academy.  “At first I had to keep my cool, but I was so excited.”

If you need a Big Game Super Bowl visitors’ guide to Atlanta, they’ve got it: from the sites to the eats.  But, get this:  they did this as part of their school.

“I don’t think I’d find this kind of love anywhere else,” Jordan said.  “It’s a family, from my teachers to my peers.”

So what kind of school has all that?  Ron Clark Academy..  It has an arctic blast, trap doors, a slide, and…

“There’s a big red mystery button when we get a challenge,” Richard Washington said.  “I can’t tell you what it does, but it’s amazing!”

So, of course, we had to find out.

What it does? Cues an epic dance party where the kids dance on their desks to a disco ball.

“It all makes more sense when you meet the school’s founder, Ron Clark.

“Our school is so hard, it’s rigorous,” Clark said.  “It’s probably the most rigorous middle school in the country, it’s rough.  But then what we do is bring it to life through hands on lessons, it’s fun, we rap our lessons.  Now let’s get down to some presidential learnin’,” he said then rapped.

If you recognize that beat it’s because it’s from the school’s viral hit in 2008, “You Can Vote However You Like.”

A different generation of Ron Clark kids, but the same concept and it is still working.  The school has a 100 percent high school graduation rate for its alumni, a 95 percent college graduation rate, and has won national accolades for robotics, Model UN, and step.  More than 50,000 educators from all 50 states and 26 countries have trained at Ron Clark Academy.

The students are remarkable poised and talented whether rapping, talking, or debating.  So, how?

“Well ,they tell you you are amazing and can do great things, and eventually you believe it,” Jordan said.

THAT, to use Jordan’s favorite word, is the most amazing part.  Well, Richard has one more thing about the ATL he thinks might be almost as good. 

“The Varsity,” Richard said.  

Clark said he’s just trying to help his kids learn and isn’t trying go viral, that they just do:  As of Super Bowl Saturday, the video had more than 87,000 views on its original post alone.  You can watch it here.


The now infamous missed call in the NFC championship has had pretty much everyone–other than Rams fans–reeling.  Nexstar Big Game Bound Digital Reporter Ashley Bridges sat down with former Saints running back Reggie Bush to break down how he says the NFL should fix play, and what it’s important for the leagues battle against head trauma.

Bush told Bridges that two things need to happen.

“One, refs are held accountable,” he said.  “And, you allow the challenge flag to be used on any play as you choose.  You get two challenges per half and you use those as you like, you challenge a non-call, you challenge a pass interference call, you challenge holding, anything should be fair game to be challenged.  Too often we’re seeing games decided by refs, that’s becoming more consistent day in and day out and it shouldn’t be that way.  The game should be decided by plays and not by a ref who’s throwing a penalty flag on a phantom holding call or a non-call which we saw against the Saints, two refs were looking at it, they missed a pass interference and a helmet to helmet.  When the League has put out this narrative, ‘we’re going to be safer, we’re going to protect the players more, we’re going to protect the head more,’ when they’re saying that you shouldn’t see players like this on the biggest stage, that shouldn’t happen.”


Tom Brady has not been sacked in the post-season.  Nexstar Nation Big Game Bound Digital Reporter Ashley Bridges talked with NFL Hall of Famer Aeneas Williams about what that could mean for Sunday’s big game.

“I think that’s a key factor,” Williams replied.  “His offensive line has done a phenomenal job.  They’ve got take on Brady with a four man rush instead of a Blitz and the Rams are able to do that. To get him on the ground that’s key.:

Bridges pointed out that Brady has only been blitzed two percent of the time.  Williams had a quick response.

“You don’t blitz him,” he said matter of factly.  “I remember them asking him ‘why do you want to play until you’re 45,’ and I remember a great answer:  ‘why would I quit when I know all the answers to the test?’  Any blitz you come up with he’s going to read it which then puts the opposing backs on one-on-one coverage.”

As far as his pick for Sunday goes, Williams says that’s easy:  He played for the Rams.

Look at these faces.  Share them.  Remember them.  Help them.

Nexstar Nation Big Game Digital reporter Ashley Bridges spent time this week with Deborah Richardson of the International Human Trafficking Institute:  that was before an Atlanta sex trafficking sting, just days before the Super Bowl, which resulted in the rescue of four victims and the arrest of 33 alleged traffickers.  Richardson helped train the 10,000 Super Bowl volunteers to identify signs of trafficking.

But, Richardson said it’s important to know that the Super Bowl doesn’t cause trafficking:  while the FBI reports upticks in numbers, Richardson emphasized it is a year-round problem.  She also insisted that because trafficking is a function of supply and demand, it is critical to shine a light on the people exploiting the victims, not the victims themselves.

One exception:  identifying victims to get them out.  For the past ten years, Richardson has partnered with the organization “In Our Backyard” using targeted analytics to distribute booklets with photographs of children who were believed to possibly be trafficked around the Super Bowl.  Last year in Minneapolis, the group distributed booklets with images of 34 children.  While not all of those children were necessarily being trafficked, the good news is 15 of them were recovered within two weeks.  Research shows that within 48 hours of going missing or running away a child or teen will be approached by a trafficker.  

Richardson identified the following resources and signs:

-If you see someone you believe to be from this booklet, you can call The National Center on Missing & Exploited Children at 1-800-843-5678

-If you suspect human trafficking, you can call the National Human Trafficking Hotline at 1-888-3737-888; you can also text “help” or “info” to 233733 (BeFree)

-To help a runaway, you can call the Runaway Safeline at 1-800-Runaway

Signs of trafficking include:

-Someone not dressed appropriately:  for example having no coat in the cold or young girls wearing party clothes in the early morning, a mismatch between time, place, person, and dress

-Someone traveling between locations without a phone or belongings, or with a handler

-Someone not engaging in conversation as victims are taught to stay with a strict script

Following the Super Bowl, we will have an in-depth special about trafficking and ways authorities and activists are targeting traffickers and buyers–for both sex and labor.  


One of the most iconic, chill inducing moments of every Super Bowl is the whoosh and wonder that comes with the Thunderbirds flying over the stadium after the last note of the national anthem.

Nexstar Nation Big Game Bound Digital Reporter Ashley Bridges caught up with Thunderbird Major Glen Goncharow, call sign “Swap,” about how it feels to be flying razor close to the roof of the Super Bowl at more than 400 miles per hour.


Nexstar Nation Big Game Bound digital reporter Ashley Bridges sat down with Indianapolis Colts’ great Reggie Wayne to talk about why it matters if you’ve been to the big game before and which way he thinks that will tip the game.


One of the most incredible things covering the Super Bowl — particularly in Atlanta on such a tight campus — is all the amazing talent you can talk with in just a short walk.  Nexstar Nation’s Big Game Bound Digital Reporter Ashley Bridges broke down what difference the location can make with a few greats who have been there before.

Michael Irvin played the Super Bowl with those Cowboys in 1994; that’s Super Bowl XXVIII.  Let’s just say he had a really, REALLY good time.

“We walked in at half time and E said, ‘awww, s**t, do you think we had too good of a time in here?’ And I said, ‘yeah, we better get back out there and win this game, or the answer is definitely ‘YES.'”

Times have changed and The Dome is now The Benz, but Atlanta still has it going on:  just ask Reggie Bush.

“I think about the culture, the food, Lenox Mall,” he laughed.

Irvin did come out on top back in 1994, with a win for the Cowboys 30-13.  But, Irvin says what he learned actually inspired his entire system for how he picks the Big Game winner between two great teams.

“I start on Friday,” he explained.  “I make my calls and I ask ‘hey guys, what’s going on, what’s the week like?’ If they say, ‘we’re at the Super Bowl, it’s dope’ or ‘this city is poppin’,’ if they say that, I put an X for ‘this city poppin’.  But if I call them up and they say, ‘man, I’m focused on the game,’ I put a check by their name.  I add up all the Xs and the checks, and that’s how I choose my winner.”

The legends we talked with who had been there before say those factors rely upon discipline which they believe leans toward the Patriots as they’ve been there over, over, over, over, over, and now over again.

There are a lot of words being tossed around to describe Tom Brady.

We asked people on the streets of Atlanta for only one word to describe the Patriots super star.  Watch to the end for a few funnies to see if you can guess the most popular, among Pats, Rams, and Falcons fans alike, with a surprise weigh-in at the end.