By Julian Linden
NEW YORK (Reuters) – “The Star-Spangled Banner” has always been a powerful anthem that stirs emotions and can reduce even the toughest to tears.
One of the best examples of this is before the Super Bowl, when tens of thousands of people rise to their feet and join in the singing of the U.S. national anthem.
For some players, it can be an overwhelming moment as they try to stop tears from welling up in their eyes and their lips from quivering in front of a worldwide television audience.
But on Sunday, when the Denver Broncos and Seattle Seahawks clash in the National Football League’s championship game, the cameras are sure to focus in on one player when American soprano Renee Fleming starts hitting the high notes.
Denver running back Knowshon Moreno may be one of the most rugged players in the NFL but he’s also a self-confessed cry baby and if he starts sobbing on Sunday his tears could get more attention than any snowflakes.
Footage of Moreno bawling before a recent game became an internet hit in the United States because of the heavy flow of tears that stream down his cheeks.
“I’m always an emotional guy,” Moreno told reporters on Monday. “I play with my emotions on my sleeve and just go out and try to play as hard as I can.
“I don’t know how many games I’ve played in, but it’s never any different … It is what it is. I would never change.”
When the footage of his giant crocodile tears was broadcast on television, Moreno was ribbed by some his teammates.
But the 26-year-old admitted he will struggle to bottle up his emotions on the biggest day in American professional sports.
“It will be through the roof. Listening to other guys who have been in this position before playing in the Super Bowl, it’s a lot going on,” he said.
“They say you have to hold your emotions down, you’re going to be fired up, but there is so much going on that sometimes you’ve got to calm down.
“I think that will be my toughest battle, just being able to stay composed until the fires start burning down.”
Adding to the emotion for Moreno on Sunday is that the game will be played in New Jersey, close to where he grew up.
He still holds the New Jersey high school state record for scoring and continued his form in College and was selected by the Broncos as the 12th overall pick in the 2009 NFL Draft.
After a solid start, he lost his starting position in 2011, then again the following season, but has regained his spot and is playing better than ever this season.
“The thing with Knowshon, the thing he’s really improved, is his accountability and dependability,” said Denver head coach John Fox.
“He’s done a tremendous job, and he is maybe one of our most improved players this past season. I hope he continues that on Sunday.”
(Editing by Frank Pingue)