LAS VEGAS – Terry Killens soaked up every moment of Super Bowl XXXIV.
A linebacker with the Titans, Killens said the entire week, and the game, left a lasting impression.
“That experience was great for me,” Killens said. “I got to enjoy it with my family. Many people came down to Atlanta, and just all the sounds and parties and celebrities that were in Atlanta for Super Bowl Sunday was tremendous.
“Steve McNair and Eddie George showed why they were All-Pros, the defense came out, was outstanding. It just so happened we ran out of time, and we came up a yard short.”
Killens, a third-round draft pick of the Houston Oilers in the 1996 NFL Draft who played linebacker/special teams with the Oilers/Titans for five seasons (1996-2001), will be back at the Super Bowl this Sunday.
Killens, 49, will make history in Super Bowl LVIII when he becomes first person to play in and officiate a Super Bowl.
Killens will be the umpire for Sunday’s Chiefs vs 49ers game. He’ll be one of four first-time Super Bowl officials.
“It’s a huge accomplishment,” Killens said. “It’s basically a culmination of all the hard work and dedication I have put in. … It is a reward, not only to me, but to my crew. And a big thank you to all the people who have helped me along the way, and given me opportunities.
“I am going to enjoy every little bit of it.”
Killens, drafted by late General Manager Floyd Reese and coached by Jeff Fisher, played linebacker and on special teams for the franchise. Killens played in 91 career games, most with the Oilers/Titans, before finishing his career with the 49ers and Seahawks. Killens was credited with 83 career tackles, including 32 during the team’s Super Bowl season in 1999, which ended with the 23-16 loss to the Rams.
“When the confetti came down, and it was the color of the St. Louis Rams,” Killens recalled, “that was pretty much the moment that I realized we lost the Super Bowl, and we came up a yard short.”
Killens said he didn’t have aspirations of being an NFL official as a player.
His path to officiating started innocently enough after he tried coaching, and admittedly was an “utter failure.”
Killens said a friend told him about basketball officials making $40 a game, and he thought he’d give it a shot.
He then tried officiating football, and he caught the bug.
Killens recalled his late wife Rhonda getting the couple’s 7-year-old son ready for his games, while he got ready to officiate JV games on Saturday mornings. He moved to high school games, then did Division III, Division I, and SWAC games. Killens was also an official in the Alliance of American Football.
“When I was retired,” Killens said, “I was looking for that feeling I got when I was a player, that camaraderie, that locker room feel. When I got into it, I began to love the game of football all over again.”
In 2019, he got his “Welcome to the NFL” call.
On Sunday, he’ll be back at the Super Bowl.
“It’s an achievement, an accomplishment,” Killens said. “And it means a big thank you to a lot of people who helped me get to this moment. I think about my late wife Rhonda, who when I was working JV games, she was getting our son ready. … A big thank you to all the people who have helped me along the way.”