Ads make Super Bowl interesting

It’s pretty funny how Americans decided we didn’t have enough major holidays on the calendar so we turned a sporting event into one.

I guess the commercialization of the Super Bowl is a lot better thing than the way we commercialize Christmas. But the price of those commercials – wow!

I think I heard that a 30-second television spot is going for $3.5 million. Most any mom and pop Main Street business in America would be proud to have $3.5 million in sales every year so the thought of that amount for a 30-second commercial only elevates our fascination with the yearly spectacle.

Super Bowl parties these days rank right up there in importance with our annual Thanksgiving meal. The only folks praying over the feast that day, unfortunately, will probably be Tim Tebow and the handful of truly dedicated fans whose team is still in the hunt for that Super Bowl trophy.

It is a rare thing indeed to actually have the team you cheer for all year in the Super Bowl. More often than not we’re left to pick another team to root for – usually that’s the team left that didn’t knock your team out of contention in the playoffs or late regular season. You’re sure not going to yell for the dirty buggers that pushed aside the home team.

Being a Bronco fan I’ve had the luxury of having my team in the big game a few times – just not in the last decade. Even the earlier Super Bowl misfires by my favorite team were fun but that first win was unforgettable.

The year was 1997 and my wife and I were living in Colorado so having the Broncos in the Super Bowl was huge. It was also the year we got a Super Bowl party invitation that stands out among the biggest ones we ever attended. It was a couple from our church throwing the party, he was a contractor so they had built an over-the-top home that included a huge family room with big screen TV and a full size indoor pool. The food spread included everything you can imagine and a few things I had never dreamed of on a tailgater.

With all that stuff available to distract people from the actual watching of the football game this just happened to be the most important televised game I had ever watched. I didn’t want to be distracted, I wanted every down and I wanted every little scrap of information about what was going on with the team – who had hang nails, who was a little constipated, who had been arrested last night. I didn’t want to miss anything that directly impacted that game.

My late friend and coworker Mickey Winfield was that way about watching his Cowboys but he was that extreme every week. To the point that other people didn’t really want to be around him during the game and he didn’t want to be around them.

I just didn’t want any of the 40 or 50 other people in the house to get between me and that big screen and I didn’t want the kids screaming through the house. I did hit the buffet and at half time I did go out into the pool room where, fortunately the children’s screams had been confined but I was back in my chair near the TV well before the half ended. I didn’t get up until Elway helicoptered his body in for a touchdown late in the game – I jumped and cheered because I knew at that moment my team was finally going to find a way to win a Super Bowl.

Unfortunately I don’t really have a dog in the fight this year but I will be watching. If someone with an indoor pool and a huge buffet invited me over I could probably be distracted enough to take a third quarter dip. But at the writing of this column that invitation hadn’t appeared. I’ll just have to get my entertainment value out of those commercials. For $3.5 million there ought to be a couple that are pretty good.

My prediction: Though I’ll probably find myself rooting for the “underdog” Giants (New York coach Tom Coughlin has done a good job of reminding the media all week that his team is an underdog) I believe the Patriots will probably win by a score of 27-21.