Super Bowl Sunday.
The 43rd edition of the National Football League’s championship game matches the AFC champion Pittsburgh Steelers against the NFC champion Arizona Cardinals, a franchise making their first Super Bowl appearance.
Almost 100 million Americans will be glued to their television sets on Sunday to view the spectacle of football, entertainment and advertising. The hype for the game has been unbelievable, luring the viewer to think Super Bowl XLIII will be the greatest football contest ever played.
However, the Super Bowl will once again prove to be the most over-rated event in sports.
Title games are rarely close. With the exception of the New England Patriots four appearances in the big game this decade, which were each decided by three points, the average final score has been 33-14.
There is a two week break between the conference championship games and the Super Bowl. During these two weeks we get so-called “experts” breaking down every aspect of each team.
Do we really need Tom Jackson and Cris Carter arguing every day on ESPN whether Troy Polamalu or Larry Fitzgerald is more important to their team?
On the morning of the Super Bowl, just when we thought every angle of the game had been examined, we are inundated with another five hours of pregame coverage by NBC. The network even hired Matt Millen, the architect of the 0-16 Detroit Lions, to provide the audience with his “professional” analysis.
There will be sixty-seven 30-second spots aired during the game.
A typical NFL game will take three hours to complete, but with the commercials and extended halftime show, the title game will end about four hours after the opening kickoff.
Because of the long commercial breaks and halftime show, the play on the field is generally sloppy.
Football teams rely on rhythm and timing, especially high powered offenses. As we have seen in previous Super Bowls this decade, high octane offenses have been mostly held in check. Last season the Patriots set an NFL record by scoring 589 points in the regular, yet only managed to put up 14 points against an average New York Giants defense.
The Cardinals and their aerial attack go to Tampa, Fla., flying high with confidence against a tough Steelers squad that led the league in total defense. When the football is kicked off late Sunday afternoon all of the hype will subside. It will be time to decide on the field who is the best team of 2008.
Hopefully this year’s big game will not be the letdown we have come to know over the years.
Since you’re wondering, the terrible towels will triumph again, Pittsburgh 24-10.