First and Ten February: Super Bowl Edition
After a month off, First and Ten is back– and just in time. It’s one day out from Super Bowl Sunday, the spectacular of the sporting world, and what better way to celebrate than with the game’s top story lines. To help you become the savviest fan at your Super Bowl party, I’m Tori Ziege.
1. Whatever the Weather. Meteorologist Ginger Zee has become SportsCenter’s resident anchor this weekend, and she has Roger Goodell to thank. The NFL’s decision to host the first outdoor Super Bowl in a cold-weather environment has turned sports-talk everywhere into a Weather Channel hybrid. So here’s the First and Ten forecast: It’s going to be COLD …But so were a lot of playoff games. From the high altitudes in Denver to the sleet in Seattle, these teams are used to playing in the elements. True champions know how to compete in temperatures 85 degrees to “40 degrees with a low chance of precipitation,” and that’s that.
2. Say Goodbye to Pee Breaks. If sports fans don’t want to miss out on Anna Kendrick, David Beckham, and Carmen Electra, there won’t be time for a bathroom bolt. Celebrities will be guesting Super Bowl commercials like they’re the Red Carpet. Danica Patrick will be making her usual GoDaddy appearance, but not in the risqué fashion fans are used to seeing. Arnold Schwarzenegger will attempt to do something seductive while playing ping-pong, and Doritos, typically a fan favorite, will push the envelope with its content. Commercials so good, you can’t watch just one!
3. Treasure. Fans of Bruno Mars are sure to treasure this halftime show. Some even might say the 2014 Grammy winner for best pop vocal album is a gorilla on stage, which, in this context, is a very good thing. Mars became famous for loving audiences just the way they are, and will explode into the Super Bowl spotlight like a high-powered grenade. The Red Hot Chili Peppers, who were locked out of heaven for far too long, will again find their wings and join Bruno in his performance. But what, do you ask, will he be singing? (Hint:)
4. But enough Folly. This is Super Bowl XLVIII, which– for those of us who don’t enjoy deciphering roman numerals– is Super Bowl 48. This is a game caps off Peyton Manning’s legendary season, in which he threw for a record LV (55) touchdowns. If he wins ring number II, he’s likely to go down as the top quarterback in NFL history. Yet many are already toying with this question: If Manning does win, will he retire? According my magic VIII ball, don’t count on it. Manning is not only healthy, but coming off the best season any QB has ever had. So hold your horses, Broncos. Number XVIII is here to stay.
5. But Soft! Is not how anyone would characterize Richard Sherman’s infamous post-NFC Championship speech. The Montague to Manning’s Capulet, the two sides will be at war amidst the game’s greatest love affair. Sherman provided the robust story-line to this otherwise bland Super Bowl matchup of young versus old. Now, it’s Sherman’s job to antagonize the old, but it won’t be with his words. According to the Stanford graduate, he has the utmost respect for the Broncos receiving corps and Demaryius Thomas, who he will likely be covering come Sunday. Though Sherman couldn’t hold his tongue entirely, accusing Peyton Manning of occasionally throwing up “ducks,” Sherman will, for the most part, let his play do the talking. If Seattle wins, count on a giddy Erin Andrews to receive the cornerback’s compelling postgame commentary.
6. The 11 and ½ Man. Seattle is home to the “12th man,” a death-defying force of sound and spirit. Seattle is also located on the west coast, and while its fans are loud, their voices can’t quite reach as far as East Rutherford, New Jersey. The east coast location of Super Bowl XLVIII doesn’t have much appeal to two west coast fandoms. That, coupled threat of cold weather, has caused demand for Super Bowl tickets to drop to its lowest since 2002. The fans got gipped this year. The NFL Super Bowl Experience is located 12 miles away from MetLife, and fans who are tailgating aren’t permitted to take up more than one parking space. Come game time, crowd energy could be a bit lacking. But fear not– yelling at the TV still has the same effect as it always has.
7. Planting an Argument. The Seahawks and Broncos hail from the only two states to legalize the use of recreational marijuana in the U.S. Though neither fans nor players are permitted to use the plant at Super Bowl XLVIII, it has stirred up seeds of debate amongst NFL coaches and chairmen, who would consider the legalization of medical marijuana if it helped reduce player pain. Seattle coach Pete Carroll is among the proponents of this movement. Take that news however you will.
8. Raining Skittles Sunday night might not feature any rain or snow in the forecast, but it’s sure to be raining Skittles. Seattle’s Marshawn Lynch is going to have a big day in the windy conditions, and fans will celebrate the way they always have: by pelting the running back with personalized Seattle Seahawks Skittles, which are available in special-edition blue-raspberry and green melon berry only at Super Bowl XLVIII. One Seattle butcher even went as far as to create his own “Beast Mode” sausage, stuffed with– you guessed it– Skittles.
9. The Starting Lineup I’m not usually one to go fetching for puns, but the Puppy Bowl is perfect tailgate material. Shyla the Great Pyrenees, Lily the Basset-Hound, and Bach the Bernedoodle will be ruffing up the competition in Puppy Bowl X, airing Sunday on Animal Planet. Watch man’s best friend bark at his foe from 12-3 and man’s best friend will watch you as you bark at officials come kickoff at 6:30.
10. Read it and Weep! Says one bold Seattle fan, who allegedly tatted himself with a Seahawks Super Bowl XLVIII logo– at the beginning of the season. Whether it is courageous foresight or blind stupidity, Tim O’Connors has made it this far, and I say it’s the Broncos, not O’Connors, who will be weeping at the conclusion of Super Bowl XLVIII. That’s right. That’s the prediction. Seattle wins, 24-23.
Take solace, NFL fans. We may only have one more day of football, but in just five short days, the Winter Olympics will kick off Sochi.
Until Next Month,