Have you remembered to take Monday, February 2nd off work? I have. In fact it's one of the few times where I know well in advance that I'm definitely going to take a day off. It's Superbowl Monday (which doesn't have the same ring as "Superbowl Sunday" but that's what time zones will do to ya).
The Superbowl is the biggest single-day sporting event every year. And it's biggest by every measure: viewership, money, consumption. The only thing that beats it is the final of the Football World Cup and that's only once every four years.
Superbowls regularly show up on most watched lists, usually just behind the final episode of MASH. Last year's Superbowl (between the then undefeated New England Patriots and the New York Giants) attracted 97.5 million viewers making it the most watched ever. And it was a hell of game to watch.
Contrast that with now.
NBC has rights to the game and has not sold all of its "$3M for 30 seconds" advertising slots. But they are doing better than they were last week, when they had only sold 10% of the available slots. (If the play-offs are anything to go by it'll mainly truck ads).
I mentioned at the beginning of the week that the number of Superbowl parties has dropped. Even the usual flamboyant crappiness that is media day was kind of dull (no insane reporters in wedding dresses asking quarterbacks to marry them).
Last year's Bowl was dominated with talk of how the Patriots would go undefeated (dynasties, playboy QB, ass-hat coach), this year it's all about Kurt Warner (old QB, re-revived career, really seriously likes God). And yet people are still selling tickets for 1000s of dollars. So the enthusiasm is still there.
In fact Americans may not be spending money on the game but they are still as excited as ever to watch it. Heck they are even voting on the outcome of the coin toss. You'll never believe the result:
And don't believe the New Zealand sports reporters, it is not mainly watched for the ads.
Every year on Superbowl Monday there will be an article in the main news about the Superbowl ads and how wacky they are, and which ones got banned and the halftime show (Bruce Springsteen) and then a mention of "wardrobe malfunction". Seriously, it was 2004, get over it. Then during the sports news the game will be given a once-over occasionally good, but usually bad and smug like "what a silly and complicated game, now to rugby and cricket…"
Perhaps the worst thing is that as a New Zealander it's very hard to see those ads, because they are actually fun. (I suggest looking up a live stream called HomerTV if you'd like to watch the game with American ads intact).
My all-time favourite is the Terry Tate Office Linebacker series ("you can't bring that weak-ass-shit up in this humpty-bumpty, WOOOO!" became my favourite phrase for a long time).
My prediction for the game is that the Steelers will win by a touchdown (possibly by 12 points if Hines Ward is active) but that Large Benjamin will be sacked three times and intercepted once. There you go, actual sports prediction. I'll wait while you access your TAB account.
Now, Wellingtonians: I'm gonna be at the Four Kings bar from about midday on Monday (in some sort of uniform-related clothing). This is your chance to be educated in the finer points of the game by an enthusiast (God, I'm such a train-spotter) or to just come along and have a beer (or wine or sherry or whatever, we don't judge). Megan can tell you how much fun it is.
Richard Irvine's Links on a Friday (as advertised yesterday) will be up here sometime today.
UPDATE: Sweet Jeebus! Now this is what I want to eat while I watch the game! The Snack Stadium