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Super Bowl: Big Sunday on the Tube

It’s almost like a new national holiday, the last football game of the season

Posted: January 30, 2009 11:54 a.m.
Updated: January 30, 2009 1:01 p.m.

NBC's Super Bowl announcing team gathers for a team photo.

 
Whether you are a fan of football or not, it's hard to avoid getting caught up in the hoopla surrounding the Super Bowl. This thing has grown over the decades until it is a social event that crosses gender and cultural boundaries. A record 97.5 million people watched last year's game!

But if you are a hard- core football fan, the Super Bowl represents your last true gorging on pigskin-glory before you go into hibernation. Sometimes the games are lopsided disappointments, sometimes they are good and sometimes they are great. But you always have to watch.

How will it play out this year? Well, we have the many-timers against the first-timers. Do you go for tradition or new blood? Do you go for defense or offense? Do you like symbols for steel on the helmet or paintings of little birdies? It may come down to the intangibles, but here's what we know:

Super Bowl XLIII (that's 43 for you non-Romans) will be played this Sunday in Tampa, at Raymond James Stadium. This is the home of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and the field is a good one, consistently rated by the NFL Players Association as the best in the league.

Combining that with the weather forecast, the field should be in great shape and the game totally in the hands of the players. (You know, unless the officials get in the way.)

As of this writing, the AccuWeather Web site has winds decreasing from 6 mph (NE) in the first quarter to 4 mph (NE) in the fourth quarter. Temperatures should be about 62°F in the first quarter, dropping to 56°F in the fourth quarter.

Things in the sky will go from mostly clear to partly cloudy, but after dark this isn't going to matter, anyway.

As long as they let the smoke from the fireworks move out before play starts, things should be clear and perfect for football.

The Pittsburgh Steelers have a record of 14-4; the Arizona Cardinals 12-7. In this game the Steelers have the opportunity to win their sixth Super Bowl and the Cardinals are in a Super Bowl for the first time.

The Steelers are noted for their defense and the Cardinals for their offense.

At this writing, according to Vegas-Insider.com, most "books" have the Cardinals as seven point underdogs.

My daughter loves the Steelers, but she owes me money and I love an underdog. Go Cardinals!

The game will be televised live on NBC (KNBC locally). Al Michaels, as announcer, and John Madden, as color commentator, will be in the booth.

Jennifer Hudson will sing the national anthem and Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band will perform live during the halftime show.

While no one really ever sounds good in a stadium, Bruce is reason enough to watch this event. Everyone at your party should be forced to stand and sing along. "You ain't a beauty but, hey, you're all right..."

Polls indicate some of the greatest Super Bowl moments include: 

* Eli Manning escapes three linemen and throws a desperate pass that David Tyree catches by holding it against his helmet as the Giants shocked the then-undefeated Patriots in Super Bowl XLII. 

* Lynn Swann's deep-ball catches help the Steelers beat the Cowboys in Super Bowl X. 

* Joe Namath delivers on his guarantee that the Jets will beat the Colts in Super Bowl III.

I always hated Joe Namath after that Super Bowl. And when he wore panty hose, my opinions were justified before the world.

As of this Monday, NBC Universal had sold 85 percent of the commercial time available for the 2009 Super Bowl, with a dozen spots selling for $3 million each. On Tuesday an NBC official revealed they were down to the last four commercial spots left to fill for the game.

So, you might not want to wander too far away from your television at any time because the commercials can sometimes be even better than the action on the field. Favorites I remember are pigeons dive-bombing, cats being herded and the baby doing online trading (especially when he threw up).

Record the whole show. That way, even if the action on the field is dull, you can replay the commercials for your party guests afterward.

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