I covered seven Super Bowls for the Star Tribune, visiting some of the best cities in the country for one of the biggest sporting events in the world. And if I have any regrets — sorry, former bosses — it is that I spent far too much time doing my job and made almost no effort to soak up and experience the world around me.

There was one occasion, however, when I had no choice.

On Feb. 3, 2002, in New Orleans, I was sitting next to colleague Kent Youngblood in the Superdome press box. The New England Patriots led the St. Louis Rams 14-3 at halftime, and I started writing what was then known as a "running" game story for early editions.

I paid no attention as the halftime band set up and started playing. I didn't realize the show was underway, in fact, until I heard my guy Youngblood tapping the press table to the beat (or close to it). I looked up, and there was U2 belting out "Beautiful Day."

I was about to go back to writing when a banner unfurled behind the band. It read, "September 11, 2001," and as U2 continued its set, the names of every single person killed in the 9/11 attacks were projected onto it.

It was the simplest but most moving memorial to the victims that I had seen. For six minutes, name after name appeared on the banner. Something about the way the names kept flowing down the banner that night took my breath away. It imposed a true sense of loss in the way that a simple number never could.

The opportunity to watch that halftime show in person remains one of the most evocative moments I've experienced. It was a reminder the Super Bowl is about much more than a game, and it was a true life lesson: Look up every once in a while.

Kevin Seifert covers the NFL for ESPN.com.