Behind the scenes: Making the cover of the official Super Bowl game book

National Sports

HOLYOKE, Mass. (WWLP) – There’s only one team that has made more Super Bowl appearances than the New England Patriots over the last decade and a half, and that’s western Massachusetts’ Hazen Paper Company.

Since 2004, Hazen Paper Company has produced the holographic cover for the Super Bowl stadium edition game book in Holyoke, Massachusetts, which is also known as the “Paper City.”

It’ll only be available to fans who attend the Big Game this Sunday at Mercedes Benz Stadium in Atlanta.

“This project is really, you know, our pride and joy,” John Hazen said. “We’re honored to be a part of the Super Bowl program. In particular we’re honored to be distantly associated with the great success of the Patriots.”


Hazen Paper Company was founded in 1925. John and Bob Hazen, the president and vice president of the company today, are the grandsons of the company’s two founders.

“One of my grandfather’s early products was a special embossing, and this was the 1920s, it was the year of ‘Art Deco,'” John said. “That product was very much in step with its times– it had a lot of light play, a lot of motion. Our holography today is a very logical evolution of that product that the company started with back in the 1920s and 1930s.”

John said the company continued to grow in the 1950s when his and Bob’s fathers took over, taking it to a 24-day operation. By 2000, John said the industry started to change, with a big move toward outsourcing.

“We chose a different path, we bet the farm so to speak, on this new technology, a whole bunch of new technology to produce holographic papers that ultimately would lead us to the stadium edition Super Bowl program cover.”

The Process

  • Hazen receives artwork from the NFL (usually in November)
  • Hazen creates holographic proofs that compliments the graphics for the Super Bowl program
  • Hazen submits to customer for critique, make any changes
  • Proofs submitted to NFL
  • NFL circulates proof to group of designers for approval (usually around Christmas)
  • Three week turnaround time for Hazen Paper Company to take the proof and step it up to a manufacturable width for the program
  • Hazen Paper Company transfer holographic imagery to paper, imagery is placed on sheets
  • Ship it to the printer in a controlled, heated truck so the sheets 
  • Printer receives sheets & are ready to go to press the Monday after the AFC/NFC championship teams have been determined

Being a part of the Big Game

Bob Hazen said there are a number of things that make the Super Bowl project special. Not only does the project utilize all of Hazen Paper Company’s technology, it also brings about a sense of pride to Hazen and its employees.

“The real satisfaction that we have in it, is the pleasure that our employees take in being part of this project that basically involves the greatest show on Earth, and that is Super Bowl Sunday.”

Not to mention, the home team New England Patriots are NO stranger to the program’s cover.

“It seems that the Patriots have donned the cover for more years than not since we’ve developed this technology,” Bob said. “There’s this certain level of excitement that comes with that.”

You might say the team at Hazen is somewhat of a good luck charm….

“I wouldn’t argue with you about that,” John laughed. “There is some magic involved in holography, and there’s a lot of magic involved in the Patriots.”

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