It is that time of year again. The time when manly men do manly things in a manly way so they get through their manly day until they sit down in their manly style and squeal like pre-teen girls at a Justin Bieber concert. Super Bowl Sunday has been doing that to men for 47 years and it shows no sign of relenting. This year’s epic battle features two brothers coaching against each other for the very first time. So why did I call it Bro Bowl II? Because the 2007 Super Bowl featured the first two African-American coaches, Tony Dungy and Lovie Smith. Yeah, I know it’s wrong on a lot of levels but I also know you laughed. To be fair both men would recoil in horror if you called either of them “Bro.” Unless you were genetically linked to them, that is. Given the incestuous nature of the NFL the only surprising thing is that this hasn’t happened sooner.
Well, now that it has we can settle back and enjoy the game which will be decided by the skill of the players and the guile of the coaches. Unless you live in the South. Then the odds are heavy that you think that God decides the outcome.
More than half of all Americans believe that God rewards athletes who have faith in Him, according to a recent poll by the Public Religion Research Institute, and isn’t that what Tim Tebow has been telling us all along?
That number is 53 percent, and isn’t really that shocking. But this one is, at least to me: according to the poll, 27 percent of Americans believe that God actually plays a role in determining which team wins a sporting event. Yes, God is waving that ball fair or foul, like an omnipotent Carlton Fisk. Or to put it another way, God spends all day playing Madden NFL 12 with real players.
Which means that David Akers must have really done something wrong in his life recently. God seems to be steamed at him.
The poll, conducted on Jan. 16, consisted of random telephone interviews with 1,033 subjects.
The percentage jumps even higher if you’re a white evangelical Protestant from the South.
Roughly 4-in-10 minority Christians (40%) and white evangelical Protestants (38%) agree that God does play a role in the outcome of a sporting event, compared to less than 3-in-10 (29%) Catholics, less than 1-in-5 (19%) white mainline Protestants, and approximately 1-in-10 (12%) religiously unaffiliated Americans.
More than one-third (36%) of Americans who live in the South agree that God plays a role in determining which team wins a sporting event, compared to nearly 3-in-10 (28%) Americans who live in the Midwest, 1-in-5 (20%) Americans who live in the Northeast, and 15% of Americans who live in the West.
That low percentage for the West is not surprising: that’s where Chargers and Raiders fans live.
But Democrats (28 percent) are slightly more likely to think that God is manipulating box scores than Republicans (25 percent) or independents (26 percent).
And try this on for size:
More than three-quarters (76%) of Americans agree that public high schools should be allowed to sponsor prayer before football games.
Wow. May God have mercy on us all.
UPDATE: Best reader comment so far:
Goodell needs to ban prayer before games. That’s a performance enhancer.
I’m not sure how to convey how scary that line of thinking is. That means that 25% of Americans believe that God really, truly, hates Bud Grant and Marv Levy. Two devout men who have combined to lose 8 Super Bowls. Or, to be more accurate, 25% of Americans shouldn’t be allowed near sharp objects.
Marc Bona, a writer for the Cleveland Plain Dealer, had too much time on his hands so he took a look at all the useful trivia that surrounds the Super Bowl that 75% of Americans will find entertaining.
At least we’re still the majority.
Our annual amalgamation of Super Bowl XLVII tidbits is here. It’s everything you want to know about the trivia surrounding the game.
For those living under a proverbial rock, the game pits the San Francisco 49ers (13-4-1) against the Baltimore Ravens (13-6). It kicks off at 6:30 p.m. Sunday in New Orleans’ Mercedes-Benz Superdome. It airs on CBS — locally on WOIO Channel 19.
Even if you have been living under a rock, you probably have heard this year’s big story line: The game pits brother against brother. Jim Harbaugh coaches San Francisco; John Harbaugh coaches Baltimore. Almost immediately, the game was dubbed the “Har-Bowl.”
In honor of the 47th installment — XLVII for you purists who love formality — here are 47 items:
Big games, Big Easy: It is the 10th time New Orleans has hosted the Super Bowl — six times previously in the Superdome, three times in Tulane Stadium. The Superdome was home to two blowouts: the 1990 game (San Francisco 55, Denver 10) and 1986 (Chicago 46, New England 10).
Undefeated: The 49ers (five times) and the Ravens (once) have won every Super Bowl they have played.
Eyes on the screen: The 2012 game averaged more than 111 million viewers in the United States. About 160 million people in 200 countries are expected to watch Sunday.
#superbowl: The 2011 Super Bowl set a record for most Tweets per second for a sporting event — 4,064 — toward the end of the game.
Heads or tails? In 46 Super Bowls, heads and tails have come up 23 times each. Even more amazingly, the NFC had won 15 consecutive tosses until last year.
Dog of a game: The big game before the Super Bowl can be found from 3 to 5 p.m. on Animal Planet. Puppy Bowl IX features more than 60 pups scampering around a field. The network again will employ a kiss cam, water-bowl cam, hamster pilots in a “blimp” and a halftime show involving kittens.
March on: The Southern University marching band, nicknamed the Human Jukebox, will perform during pre-game.
National anthem: Alicia Keys will sing the national anthem. The 32-year-old singer was born the same day as Super Bowl XV, which was in New Orleans’ Superdome.
30 seconds of time: Hold on to your Doritos; some 30-second ad spots hit $4 million. That’s about $133,333 per second.
Onstage: Beyonce will perform at halftime. Whether she will sing with a prerecorded track as she did at the inauguration last month in Washington, D.C., remains to be seen. Or heard.
Happy birthday! Quarterbacks Fran Tarkenton (73) and Bob Griese (68) celebrate today. Both played in Super Bowls.
Game odds: San Francisco is favored by about 3.5 points, with an over/under at 48. (To bet the over/under, choose whether the teams combined will score more than or less than 48 points.)
Political leanings: Crab and other notable hometown cuisine like wine and cheese are at stake over the game’s outcome in a wager between four Democratic Senators. Barbara Boxer and Dianne Feinstein of California are betting against Barbara Mikulski and Ben Cardin.
The LeBron bets: One of the scores of wagers involves Cleveland’s persona non grata LeBron James. The bet is who will have more points: James in the Miami Heat game Sunday at Toronto or the 49ers team? Another: Who will have more, James’ points plus rebounds plus assists or both the 49ers and Ravens’ points combined?
Coast to coast: The home team officially is the 49ers. Even though San Francisco is almost 2,300 miles to New Orleans, while Baltimore sits about 1,100 miles away.
Ohio connection: Jack Harbaugh, the coaches’ father, played at Bowling Green State University and coached at Perrysburg High School. The brothers were born in Toledo.
Lights, camera, action! CBS divisions (television, radio, online) will have 15 different shows share in the sets constructed for coverage in New Orleans.
Great seats, eh buddy? A recent eBay listing had bidding for a suite at the game starting at $125,000. For those who didn’t want to bid, the buy-it-now price was $138,000. It included 32 tickets between the goal line and 5-yard line, food, beverage, program and parking. Free shipping was included.
Comparing cities: The cities have an odd symmetry. San Francisco is wine (Napa, Sonoma counties nearby); Baltimore is beer (Clipper City Brewing Co.). Baseball greats: Joe DiMaggio grew up in the Bay Area; Oriole great Cal Ripken is a Maryland native. San Francisco is known for Fisherman’s Wharf; Baltimore has the Inner Harbor. On the current literary front, Dave Eggers lives in San Francisco while mystery writer Laura Lippman is from Baltimore.
Long distance: Baltimore and San Francisco are more than 2,800 miles apart. Only twice before has a Super Bowl pitted two teams farther apart geographically — Miami-San Francisco in 1985 and Oakland-Tampa Bay in 2003.
Game vs. ads: A regulation game is 60 minutes. The 2012 Super Bowl had more than 47 minutes of commercials.
Ad bucks: From 2003 to 2012, the top-spending advertiser on the game was Anheuser-Busch. The brewing giant spent almost $250 million. This year, get ready for a new product, Budweiser Black Crown, to grace time between plays.
Who can Ohioans cheer for? San Francisco has four former Ohio State University stars on its roster; Baltimore has none. However, the Niners’ coach, Jim Harbaugh, played collegiately at Michigan. (Baltimore head coach John Harbaugh played at Miami University.)
Ticket prices: A seat at the game was running $800 to $1,200. Face value.
Pricey seats: On Jan. 22, Ticketmaster was seeking more than $13,210 for some seats.
The ticket pie: The Star Tribune in Minneapolis reports the breakdown this way — 25 percent of the tickets go to the league, 34 percent is split evenly by the competing teams, 5 percent goes to the host team (New Orleans Saints), and 36 percent is split among the remaining 29 teams.
Taking sides: House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi represents San Francisco in Congress, but she was born and raised in Baltimore. Sunday, she will be cheering for the 49ers.
47 games: George Toma has been on the field for every Super Bowl. He is a master groundskeeper.
Players’ shares: Winners each get $88,000. “Losers” each receive $44,000.
International event: Armed Forces Television will broadcast to 175 countries. The game will be broadcast in 30 languages.
Szuper Tal: Sirius 94 / XM 230 / Online 961 will broadcast the game in Hungarian.
Color of victory: The odds on which color Gatorade will be dumped on the winning coach say clear/water (7/4); orange or yellow (5/2); and green, red or blue (13/2).
What’s in a name? A Baltimore Sun fan poll resulted in the name Ravens, derived from Edgar Allan Poe’s poem. The 49ers name is a testament to the “adventurous spirit” of pioneers in the 1849 gold rush east of San Francisco.
Sitcom moment: “Saved by the Bell: The New Class” featured Jim Harbaugh in a 1996 episode called “Little Hero.” He played himself; he did not win any acting awards.
A taxing day: About a third of the fans who attend the game reportedly deduct it as a corporate expense.
Donated winnings: Baltimore Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake won a bet with the mayor of Boston after her hometown Ravens beat the New England Patriots in the AFC Championship Game two weeks ago. She donated the food items to a housing program for the homeless. Rawlings-Blake, by the way, graduated from Oberlin College.
What drives the ads: Vehicles were a big focus in new commercials last year, accounting for 34 percent of all ads.
And the winner is . . . Using 50,000 simulations through a software program, PredictionMachine.com forecast the game, with San Francisco winning 66.9 percent of the time. The likely score, it found, is 28-21.
To the victors: That trophy the winners hoist is the Vince Lombardi Trophy. The Tiffany-made football weighs about 7 pounds and is worth $25,000.
Attendance tally: The first 46 games have drawn a cumulative attendance of 3,581,385. That’s about the population of the city of Los Angeles.
Order to go: Pizza 4 Patriots, a nonprofit group, is sending 21,000 frozen, packed pizzas from Chicago to troops in Afghanistan and Iraq.
Speaking of pizza: Revenue for pizza chains is up 35 percent on Super Bowl Sunday compared with a typical Sunday.
Freedom of the press: More than 5,000 media members were credentialed for Super Bowl Media Day on Tuesday.
Mascot mania: San Francisco’s mascot is Sourdough Sam, while Poe represents Baltimore.
Cheers! The folks at UV Vodka were among the first to name drinks for this game. Choose from a Raven on the Rocks (one part UV grape, one part lemon-lime soda, add a splash of sweet and sour mix) or the Bay Bomb (one part UV cherry, three parts cola.) Serve either over ice in a highball glass.
After the game: CBS will air “Elementary,” the Sherlock Holmes drama, immediately after the game. It stars Jonny Lee Miller and Lucy Liu. Traditionally, the spot right after the final gun sounds is a coveted one for the network. Last year, NBC aired “The Voice,” and in 2011, the spot went to “Glee.”
Get ready: Super Bowl XLVIII will be Feb. 2, 2014, in East Rutherford, N.J., in MetLife Stadium. It will be only the fifth Super Bowl played in a city with a real winter and the first to be played outdoors in the north.
Sources: nfl.com, Los Angeles Times, Animal Planet, www.subr.edu, Associated Press, Hollywood Reporter, CBS, Mapquest.com, Toledo Blade, randmcnally.com, ebay.com, (Minneapolis) Star Tribune, American Profile, Sirius, fbnation.com, profootballhof.com, imdb.com, toknowinfo.hubpages.com, Baltimore Sun, baltimorecity.gov, Ace Metrix, Yahoo! Sports, infoplease.com, WWLP, smartbrief.com, UV Vodka, assorted sources
So there you have it. Everything you could possibly want to know about the Super Bowl.
Oh, before I forget, there never was a chicken wing crisis in the first place. It was just another fun Internet hoax that got life thanks to idiot journalists.
In other words, you didn’t see it here.
What you can see here is my bud Tehmeena’s video that she created to honor her favorite team, the NY Giants, last year.