Carmel Valley resident’s company kept stars safe at Super Bowl
By Karen Billing
With his security company Johnson and Associates, Carmel Valley resident Aaron Johnson worked the party circuit at Super Bowl XLV in Dallas on Feb. 6. Johnson has worked the past eight Super Bowls and this one had him up until the wee hours of the morning handling party crowds — one night his crew of five didn’t wrap up until 5:30 a.m.
“I’m getting too old for this stuff,” Johnson said with a laugh. “It was a good time, a typical Super Bowl weekend full of parties.”
Johnson arrived in unusually cold Dallas on the Thursday of Super Bowl week to ice-slicked highway and blizzard conditions. It snowed all day Friday and the sun finally came out on Saturday.
Johnson did the security for a couple of parties on Thursday night, including an invitation-only NFL Legends party with former Steeler Franco Harris and running back and one-time San Diego Charger Lydell Mitchell.
He also did the Madden Bowl party at the Gaylord Texan Hotel, with NFL players such as Hall of Fame class of 2011 cornerback Deion Sanders, Saints quarterback Drew Brees, Jaguars tight end Marcedes Lewis, Jaguars running back Maurice Jones Drew, and Colts defensive end Dwight Freeney playing the Madden video game against each other. The party featured a concert with Big Boi and Cee Lo Green.
“There were all kinds of guys at that party,” Johnson said, listing attendees such as Super Bowl champion and FOX football analyst Michael Strahan, Hall of Famer Jerry Rice and Cardinals receiver Larry Fitzgerald. “We didn’t get out until 3 a.m.”
On Friday, Johnson’s crew worked the Leather and Laces party hosted by “Girls Next Door” Holly Madison and Bridget Marquardt, spotting players like Hall of Fame class of 2011 Marshall Faulk, the Bengals’ Terrell Owens, the Eagles’ speedy receiver DeSean Jackson and Cowboys rookie wideout Dez Bryant.
In the Dallas Morning Sun the next day, there was an item about how tight security was at the party.
“That was a big compliment,” Johnson said.
The security gigs aren’t always easy. Johnson said they can run into challenges, like at one party where the planners didn’t want the metal detectors up because they would clash with the vibe of the party. Johnson also has to deal with large entourages and sometimes rude and entitled players.
“Sometimes players try to come off like ‘I’m in the NFL, I’m VIP’ and they can get kind rough with you and treat you like you’re just some security guard,” Johnson said.
One of the highlights of the weekend came at the party he worked on Saturday night hosted by Chad Ochocinco. Johnson had the opportunity to meet and chat with Cam Newton, the Auburn quarterback and Heisman Trophy winner.
“He was very humble,” Johnson said. “We talked about his expectations, about getting into the NFL. He was really down to earth.”
Johnson’s only downtime during the weekend came during the actual game, when his crew and some family and friends watched the game at the ESPN sponsor party.
Johnson will get a few weeks to rest up for his next big events—he will be doing NBA All-Star weekend parties in Los Angeles and some parties for the Academy Awards in late February.
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