All football fans know Ray Lewis and Colin Kaepernick, the stars for the Baltimore Ravens and San Francisco 49ers leading their teams in Sunday's Super Bowl. But behind the scenes there are a number of people you've never heard of making sure everything is ready to go. Our Brian Dwyer spoke with one, the San Francisco's equipment manager, about a Super Bowl dream that started in the North Country.
LOWVILLE, N.Y. -- There's a saying that goes, dreams are like stars, you may never touch them, but if you follow them, they will lead you to your destiny.
Meet Steve Urbaniak. The Lowville Academy graduate with visions of playing football. But an injury during his sophomore year at East Carolina forced him to follow a new path. Refusing to give up on football, he began his future in team management.
"I got to still be involved with my teammates on a daily basis," Urbaniak said. "Just that camaraderie and everything. It's just something I fell in love with and have done ever since."
He got an internship with the Miami Dolphins after college. A year later, an assistant's job in San Francisco with the equipment staff. And now, Urbaniak is the equipment manager of the NFC Champion San Francisco 49ers, on his way to New Orleans for Super Bowl 47.
"We're behind the scenes people no one ever really sees what we do unless we mess up. So now people are seeing us as we're putting on patches or special balls," he said. "There's special logos that have to be all over the place."
That's just the smallest part of a demanding job. The uniforms have to be right and laundry must get done, but also, they take care of all the equipment, helmets, gloves, cleats. They also do practices, setting up drills, keeping them on time, helping prepare extra work for the players. That's all Urbaniak and his six man staff. Doing it during Super Bowl week is the pinnacle.
"Right now it's exciting," Urbaniak said. "It's top level right now. You can't get any higher than this unless we win and then it'll be even higher. There's a lot of excitement. We've had some lean years for the last ten years, so winning has brought back a lot more excitement."
Excitement that Urbaniak will bring back home this off season. He'll be visiting friends and family in the North Country, but also paying it all forward. He's able to take some of the equipment the Niners no longer need and give it to local schools.
"Growing up back there, the opportunities are few and far between. Sometimes it can be a decision on if you play or not on whether you have a pair of cleats," He said. "For me to be able to send cleats home so kids can play sports means a lot."
Who knows, maybe this year he can also bring back a ring. A good way to inspire a bunch more dreams.
Urbaniak says he loved living in the North Country so much, he one day hopes to move back.