Tampa, FL-Last Sunday evening the NFL honored the crew of US Air flight 1549 at the Super Bowl just prior to kickoff. The heroes responsible for landing the Airbus A320 jetliner on the icy Hudson River without one casualty were given a loud ovation from the crowd and were delighted to be in attendance.
"This is really special. I want to thank the NFL for inviting me and my crew," said pilot Chesley Sullenberger after the game. "It was secretly even more special."
At the time the pilot did not expand on his "more special" comment and was not asked by reporters to go into further detail. Reports have now surfaced that the pilot and crew wanted a bigger part in the Super Bowl pregame.
Yesterday, it was reported that Sullenberger and the crew first requested an appearance fee to show up before the championship game. Then, when NFL commissioner Roger Goodell refused to pay, they demanded to sing the national anthem.
"I was completely shocked when they asked for an appearance fee. Then they demanded the anthem for which we had Ms Hudson slated to sing. Co-pilot Jeffrey Skiles said, 'either we sing the song or we fly outta here.' I told them we can work something out," said Goodell.
The national anthem was sung by the popular Oscar winner and former American Idol contestant Jennifer Hudson. The Chicago native brought the house down with a beautiful rendition of the song. Her own version?
Goodell, Sullenberger and Hudson met several hours before the game to work on a compromise. Hudson expressed that she was starstruck to be in the presence of such great American heroes and would do whatever it took to get something worked out.
After two hours of often heated negotiations it was finally agreed that the flight 1549 crew would record the anthem in a studio prior to the game and Hudson would lip sync the recording. It was also determined that both the stadium and television audiences would not be informed of the change.
"It was difficult for one person to lip sync to a recording of five people singing, but I think I was able to pull it off. I think everyone thought that it was my voice," said Hudson.
Notes: The flight crew said they had mild flashbacks of the January 15th emergency landing when Hudson(spelled like the river) was introduced to the crowd.
The crew will sing the national anthem(on the field) at this weekend's Pro Bowl and will also co-host the 2009 Oscar's on February 22nd with Hugh Jackman. "I have a couple zingers already written," said Sullenberger.