On the surface, football’s biggest game in Phoenix was about what you’d expect: deafening crowds, dazzling plays, and drama that can only be scripted by sports. But beneath the spectacle, another narrative was unfolding—one where the stakes were not counted in touchdowns but human safety. Scott Berkowitz, President of RAINN (Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network), recognized an opportunity amid the chaos to champion the work his organization does daily, but on a grand stage.

In an environment traditionally soaked in testosterone and bravado, RAINN turned the tables by focusing on the vulnerability we all share as part of the human experience. Large public gatherings are always fraught with risks: unruly behavior, potential for violence, and in the worst cases, instances of sexual abuse. The fact that RAINN used football’s largest stage to stress the importance of these issues is both innovative and essential.

While the crowds cheered for their favorite teams, a different kind of team was ensuring everyone went home safe. It’s a difficult endeavor to juggle the concerns of public safety while not dimming the enjoyment that comes from a game as revered as this. Scott Berkowitz publicly lauded his team’s efforts, reminding us that this occasion was more than a game; it was a paradigm-shifting moment for how we consider safety in public spaces.

But let’s take a moment to reflect on how novel and vital this is. In a country where sexual abuse and violence are often shoved under the rug, the spotlight that Berkowitz and his team shined was long overdue. This was not just a commendable action but a call to arms for future events of similar scale. Berkowitz used his platform not only to recognize the extraordinary efforts of his team but to set a new standard of care, concern, and safety that should resonate far beyond Phoenix.

RAINN’s proactive initiatives included survivor support stations, educational materials, and the orchestration of security protocols. This integrated approach signals a paradigm shift in how public safety can be managed effectively without dampening the event’s core spirit. It also serves as a template for how other organizations and large-scale events should approach the issue.

It is not an exaggeration to say that the bar has been raised. As we relish the plays and the scores, we should also take a moment to appreciate the silent heroes. Because of them, countless people enjoyed the game with a layer of safety that, while not immediately visible, was palpable to anyone aware of the potential risks involved. This is a win bigger than any championship trophy; it’s a win for humanity.