Super Bowl 50: A golden moment for Park City High School
As part of the celebration leading up to Super Bowl 50 in February, the NFL came up with a way to honor and thank high schools across the country for producing the players who have made the first 49 Super Bowls so successful.
Since 50 is the "golden anniversary," the NFL gave players who have appeared in a Super Bowl golden footballs to present to their high schools.
Thanks to Barry Sims, who started at left tackle for the Oakland Raiders in Super Bowl XXXVII in 2003, Park City is among the high schools credited with producing a Super Bowl player.
Sims returned to PCHS Friday night and presented the school with his golden football at halftime of the evening’s boys’ basketball game.
"It’s really great that the NFL is doing this," Sims said. "As a player goes to college and then moves on to the NFL, sometimes the high schools get left behind a little bit.
"I was always proud to be from Park City. They were good to me."
Sims said that during his playing days in Park City he never imagined he’d one day suit up for a Super Bowl.
"It wasn’t even on the radar," he said. "Obviously when you’re a kid, you dream about being a pro athlete or whatever, but you don’t necessarily know what it takes and how many people you have to have supporting you. You can’t do it by yourself."
But, after starting his collegiate career at Dixie Junior College, Sims transferred to the University of Utah, where he began to consider a professional career. He was drafted by the Scottish Claymores in the 17th round of the NFL Europe Draft in 1999 and was soon signed as a free agent by the Oakland Raiders.
Four years later, the Raiders defeated the Tennessee Titans 41-24 to earn a spot in Super Bowl XXXVII.
"Winning the AFC Championship and knowing that you were going to the Super Bowl was a great feeling," Sims said. "It was just amazing. I went around and talked to all the guys on my team and coaches and everybody who had played in a Super Bowl to try to pick their brains about how fast it was going to be and how nervous I was going to be before the game."
Though the Raiders lost to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers 48-21, Sims said there were plenty of exciting moments for his team.
"Early on, Charles Woodson intercepted a pass on [the Buccaneers’] opening drive and it was like, ‘OK, here we go!’" he said. "We were the No. 1 offense and we were a good team, so it was sort of like how things were supposed to go. Obviously it didn’t turn out the way we expected it to."
As Sims’ professional career was winding down as a member of the San Francisco 49ers in 2009, he returned to Dozier Field at PCHS for a ceremony to retire his jersey number. His jersey is still the only PCHS jersey to be retired.
"It’s pretty cool," Sims said. "I wish there was some company up there with me, but it was a really great honor. We did a whole weekend out of it. It was a lot of fun. I have a picture in my living room of the press box [at Dozier Field] with my jersey above it. I see it all the time and it brings back good memories."
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The Miners ended up on the wrong side of a close game on senior night but are still fighting for playoff seeding.