LADDONIA – While Super Bowl XLVII is over and celebrations have ceased, the sweet taste of victory will forever live for Baltimore Raven fans everywhere – especially Ono and Nancy Monachino of rural Audrain County.
The Monachinos and several members of their family were among the special guests invited to attend the Feb. 4 World Championship game in New Orleans, compliments of their youngest son – Ted Monachino, the linebacker coach for the Baltimore Ravens.
Ted Monachino, 46, graduated from Bethany High School with a football scholarship to the University of Missouri-Columbia, where he attended and was roommates and fellow football player with Mexico native and local State Farm Insurance agent Kirk Ekern.
After college, Monachino worked several years as a professional coach with various colleges throughout the U.S. In 2010, he joined the Ravens as the team's outside linebackers coach for two seasons and was promoted to linebackers coach in February 2012. He and his wife Amy have three children, Samuel, Mikalee and Michael.
This was Ono and Nancy Monachino's first trip to New Orleans, and their first NFL Super Bowl experience – which included reserved seating on the 50 yard line about 40 rows up from the field, and a 34-31 win against the San Francisco 49ers.
"This was my first time going to New Orleans. The weather was wonderful, and the win was incredible," Nancy Monachino told The Mexico Ledger. She, her husband, their five adult children and grandchildren were among the entourage attending the game – in grand style.
About a week before the game, Nancy Monachino said her son called saying that he was getting the tickets or them, and that he had reserved a room at the Embassy Suites that she said is about five to six blocks from the hotel where the team would be staying.
Monachino, 77, said she and her husband, 79, both have health concerns, and worried if they would be able to make the trip. But, their son had even considered that in his planning. In addition to the hotel accommodations, he arranged for his parents to be transported to the game in a bus that picked them both up before the game and took them to a parking lot near the stadium, where wheelchairs were waiting to take them to their seats.
"With that, we were able to say yes, we can do this," Nancy Monachino said.
The Friday night before the game Ted Monachino invited the whole family for dinner at the Hilton. Besides being a table full of relatives and a few friends, they were sitting in a high traffic area where some of the coaches and players entered or exited from the dining room. Stopping by to say hello was a favorite of Nancy's – Michael Oher – the outstanding tackle for the Ravens from Mississippi who was the subject of "The Blind Side" book and movie.
Page 2 of 2 - "Our son-in-law Paul snapped a photo just as Michael was telling me I looked pretty in purple. There was purple everywhere," Nancy Monachino said. Other sports favorites that stopped by their table included, Joe Flacco with his new baby, Courtney Upshaw OLB from Alabama, Paul Kruger OLB from Utah. While they were in the lobby, Ravens General Manager Ozzie Newsome walked by and Ted hailed him over and introduced him.
Game day they were transported to the stadium just in time to spot Ted and their grandson Sammy on the field. Sammy had the distinct honor of working beside his dad.
"Not a huge difference in the score but a W (win) regardless and a remarkable effort by the coaches and team members to fulfill a dream by Ravens fans forever," Nancy Monachino said. "The winners by a huge margin however was the entire Monachino family and our extended family. It was by God's grace and mercy that we were all together for what is now and will become a memory that will live in our hearts forever."