Rams fan gets job of lifetime
For The Madera Tribune
John Valle, left, stands with his team while securing the Cincinnati Bengals’ post game party at Pauley Pavilion on the campus of UCLA on Super Bowl Sunday. A lifelong Rams fan, Valle had the opportunity to meet many of the players while doing security for the NFL.
Madera’s John Valle has been rooting for the Los Angeles Rams for quite a while, but when a job opportunity gave him the chance of a lifetime, he couldn’t pass it up.
Then, when his Rams advanced to the Super Bowl, it was like a dream come true.
“It was a dream come true when the Rams beat the 49ers,” Valle said. “My wife said I was going to be there. A kid like me gets an opportunity of a lifetime. If it wasn’t for corrections and the education I received in law enforcement, I would not be in that position. It’s incredible.”
Valle, who has been a supporter of Madera South athletics since his kids were standouts there, worked for Landmark Security this year, and they are the private security company of the San Francisco 49ers.
“This was my first year,” he said. “A friend of mine has been chasing me for years to work for the 49ers. I am retired law enforcement. Everyone who is on the roam team is all retired law enforcement. I did that this year.”
On Nov. 30, Valle got a call to have the opportunity to work the Super bowl.
“My supervisor said I was recommended by somebody,” Valle said. “He said there was an opening to work the Super Bowl. I said yes.”
Valle flew in to Los Angeles on Feb. 4, nine days before the Super Bowl.
“The next day, my team of four had to report to NFL headquarters at the J.W. Marriot,” he said. “When we got there, we reported in. They said they were going to post us up. They asked who wants the trophy room. I said I’ll take that. All night, the trophy was behind this computer-locked door. They gave me a list of five names of the only people in the world, including myself, that were allowed anywhere near that trophy. I kept asking if anybody was going to come and they said they might or might not. They said to make sure it’s secure. It was quite an honor.”
When that assignment was over, Valle and his team were assigned to watch over the Cincinnati Bengals’ practice facility at UCLA.
“At that time, our first night, it was property of the NFL. No UCLA members were allowed there. I had the physical therapy room. It was really neat. Players in the morning came in to get taped up or get therapy. It was quite an experience. The players were really polite and the training staff were very professional. They were loving Southern California. It was pretty cool.”
After the Bengals left the facility to get ready for the Super Bowl, Valle and his team were moved to another facility.
“They told us the training facility was closed and they told us to report to this hotel,” Valley said. “We asked what hotel was it not knowing that was where the Rams were staying. We got there and reported in. Two of my guys got assigned to one side and me and the other partner were assigned to the fifth floor, and that’s where the Rams were staying. I took the service elevator. I was told to watch for anything. No friends, families or ladies allowed onto the floor”
During that time, Valle had the fan experience of a lifetime and got to interact with some of the Rams players.
“Time went by and I looked down the hall and said, ‘Oh my gosh!’ and Aaron Donald was coming right to me,” Valle said. “He asked how I was doing. I said ‘Rams for life’ and he gave me a fist bump. He was very open. I saw Odell Beckham. He was a very fun guy. Cooper Kupp came by that evening. He asked how I was doing. I said I was great and congratulated him. He gave me a fist bump. All of these players came by. It was really exiting for me. How lucky I was to get that assignment. I could have gotten the lobby or a door. Me and my partner got lucky to be on that floor all night. Andrew Whitworth came though the door. Holey Moley, what a guy. His shoulders hit both sides of the hallway. It was really exciting. It was a dream job come true that night.”
When Valle’s shift was over at the hotel, his team was moved to the Cincinnati Bengals after party at UCLA’s Pauley Pavilian.
“They had giant screens everywhere at Pauley Pavilian. I saw the game on the big screens. It was really neat,” he said.
Valle’s security team was just one of the many security personnel at the Super Bowl.
“There was so much security,” he said. “There was every agency in government at the Super Bowl. They said there was only one security event higher than this — the presidential inauguration.
“When we got to the Rams’ hotel that night, ATF was out there. Our credentials were the key to even go to the bathroom. You had to show it everywhere. The agent told us to shut off the car and the dogs sniffed our car. It’s a production of logistics that I can’t even imagine.”
While in Los Angeles, Valle and his team stayed at the Beverly Hills Marriot and he couldn’t have had a better time.
“When it was all said and done, my accommodations were great,” he said. “It was a beautiful, gorgeous hotel. When we had time, we went grocery shopping to have something to eat while at work. I did feel a little guilty my wife wasn’t with me. I promised her a nice little vacation. I felt guilty being in that glamour. They did me well. There was zero expense out of my pocket.”
In the end, it was a perfect experience for a lifelong Rams fan.
“Who am I to say I could wish for more,” he said.