As some of you are doubtless aware, this is Super Bowl Sunday, an annual calendar event that ranks right up there in the pantheon of pop culture/consumerist-driven days with Black Friday, Cyber Monday, Get-Blasted Wednesday and I-Feel-Like-Crap Thursday.
The purpose of Super Bowl Sunday, of course, is to provide U.S. businesses a worldwide venue through which to advertise their products and services in new and innovative ways that entertain us and remind us that spectacularly expensive and offensive excess in the name of selling salted snacks is what America is all about. Also, there is a football game.
This year’s game, Super Bowl XLVIII, is being played in New Jersey. Outdoors. In February. I point this out just in case you thought all of America’s biggest idiots were busy in Congress or building California’s bullet train.
I am led to believe that the two teams involved in the game portion of today’s festivities are the Denver Broncos and the Seattle Seahawks. Note that neither of these teams is the San Francisco 49ers. The 49ers were defeated two weeks ago by the Seahawks, in Seattle. Seattle is the same city that last year tried to steal Sacramento’s very own Kings. I point this out just in case you were wondering which team to root for.
I myself am a San Diego Chargers fan, and thus have little interest in Super Bowls. The Chargers have been to only one, where they were narrowly defeated, 49-26, by the aforementioned 49ers. Not that I still hold a grudge, or revel in the fact that the 49ers have choked in big games for the last three years.
In any event, being a Chargers fan clearly delineates me as someone who can be objective about today’s game, and who is untainted by any grasp of how pro football is played, or has any knowledge of its rules, or familiarity with its players.
As I understand it, the star player for the Broncos is Peyton Manning, who is their quarterback. Mr. Manning is paid $18 million per season to throw the football. He gets another $12 million or so from endorsing cars, pizza, sports drinks, breakfast cereals, satellite TV and shoes. Based on his 2013 season statistics, this amounts to $45,523 every time he throws the ball in a game. Nice work if you can get it.
The star player for the Seahawks, at least in terms of media coverage, is Richard Sherman, who is a cornerback. His job is to make people like Mr. Manning very uncomfortable while on the football field. Mr. Sherman has become celebrated – or vilified – for publicly expressing pride in his abilities, and for denigrating the abilities of opposing players. He is paid only $550,000 per season. This teaches us that playing offense is much more lucrative than just being offensive.
That’s all you need to know about the players. Here are five other things to keep in mind while watching today’s game:
1. The game will be televised by the Fox network, which has scheduled roughly 29 hours of pre-game programming. Among the highlights are an interview of President Barack Obama by professional windbag Bill O’Reilly; a reading of the Declaration of Independence by a bunch of football people; a look back at other famous football games played in the snow near New Jersey, and a battle to the death between Sarah Palin and a polar bear. I made one of those things up.
2. Part of the halftime entertainment will be provided by a rock band called the Red Hot Chili Peppers. Some of the band members are known to perform while not wearing any shirts. Seeing as how it may be snowing and 25 degrees at halftime, removing their shirts at halftime would certainly seem to qualify the Chili Peppers to become NFL executives, or members of Congress.
3. Tickets for the game were selling for as much as $10,500. At that price, you would presumably have to give Peyton Manning four tickets before he would throw the ball even once.
4. If football is not your thing, Antenna TV (Channel 40.2) will be showing 16 hours’ worth of “Flying Nun” re-runs. This show stars Sally Field, who has won two Academy Awards. Peyton Manning has never won an Academy Award.
5. There are 1.3 billion people in China who will be watching neither the Super Bowl nor the “Flying Nun.”
As I write this, San Diego Charger fans haven’t made up their minds which to watch.
Steve Wiegand is a Sacramento resident who has written too many columns without a helmet.