By Mark Ambrogi
The Wright siblings had long talked of wanting their father, Sheridan High School football coach Bud Wright, to see his first Super Bowl.
So Lebanon High School coach Kent Wright learned of a contest for Super Bowl tickets he wrote an essay on what football means to his family just minutes before the contest deadline. Wright’s two other sons Kevin (Carmel head coach) and Travis (Frankfort assistant) also coach football. Bud Wright has captured nine state titles in his 49 seasons at Sheridan and Kevin has won four (three with Warren Central and one with Carmel). Their story detailed how football kept the family together after the family matriarch Jayne, who committed suicide in 2003 after battling depression for years.
The Wrights’ story was eventually selected as one of three group finalists for the Together We Make Football grand prize, which would earned the entire family Super Bowl tickets. Unfortunately for the Wrights, they didn’t win the national vote.
Indianapolis Colts owner Jim Irsay decided Bud Wright needed to go anyway.
As Wright and his wife headed to Florida, he received a cell phone call from Colts personnel that Irsay wanted to give him two tickets and send him out as part of the Colts’ contingent.
“It was a complete surprise,” Wright said. “I didn’t know what to say. I’m really thankful he gave us the opportunity. From what I understand it was his daughters who mentioned that he should send us.”
So Wright and his wife Ellen were on their way to their condo in Astor, Fla.
“My wife had her iPad on her and we got a flight back to Indianapolis the next day,” Wright said.
Wright, 74, and the rest of the Colts group then took a flight to Phoenix on Jan. 29. There was big reception for the Colts contingent when they got there. There was then a big tailgate party before the Super Bowl.
“There were several past and present players at that party,” said Wright, who has never got the chance to thank Irsay in person.
Wright said he always wanted to see a Super Bowl in person, but the tickets have always been too costly.
“It wasn’t something that I had to do it but I guess it was one of those things on my bucket list that I really wanted to do,” he said. “Ellen was rooting for Seattle and I just wanted to see a good game.”
It was everything he imagined with New England topped Seattle 28-24.
“Our seats were fantastic,” Wright said. “We were in the lower level, row seven. Several of the touchdowns occurred right in front of us. It was an incredible experience.”