Early County News

Super Bowl Sunday

Other Voices



Sunday is Super Bowl Sunday, and you know what that means.

A bloated, multi-hour pre-game show packed with mindless analysis and interviews with practically every player on both teams, a star-studded halftime show that features some of the hottest names in entertainment and an unprecedented commercial blitz that costs north of $7 million per spot.

And, squeezed in there somewhere is an actual football game.

This year’s actual football game – officially it’s Super Bowl LVI, or 56 for you non-Romans – features the Los Angeles Rams and the Cincinnati Bengals. If you’re a football fan, you’re probably excited about this matchup. It should be a good game.

I’m pulling for the Rams because their starting quarterback is Matthew Stafford, who is a former quarterback at the University of Georgia. And since this is clearly the Year of the Dawg – y’all do remember the Dawgs won a national championship a few weeks back – I fully expect Stafford to lead his team to victory. If he does, he’ll be only the second quarterback in NFL history to win a Super Bowl the same year as his alma mater won the national championship.

The problem with the Super Bowl is that the game itself has almost become an afterthought. The NFL estimates that 110 million people could tune in to see the game. But if you’ve ever been to a Super Bowl party, you know that many of the people there aren’t watching the game.

There will be one core group of fans who are paying attention to every snap. Other group will watch for a few minutes here and there. And a third group huddles around the TV for the commercials and the halftime show.

I understand the allure of the commercials. Companies put their most creative efforts forward at Super Bowl time, resulting in some of the best-remembered commercials of all time. Given the sometimes lopsided results of Super Bowls, the commercials can be more entertaining than the game.

It always surprises me how much money companies are willing to pay to be part of the Super Bowl. This year, companies are paying $7 million for a 30-second spot – or roughly $234,000 per second, which puts Super Bowl commercials just outside my budget. Of course, if 100 million people watch, sponsors are paying just 7 cents per viewer.

Still, you’ve got to sell a lot of Budweisers to over a $7 million commercial investment.

Then there is the halftime show. This year, five rap and R&B legends, Dr. Dre, Snoop Dogg, Eminem, Mary J. Blige and Kendrick Lamar, will perform, which will be exciting to their fans.

I don’t really care who performs at halftime. I’m a traditionalist when it comes to halftime shows. Throw a couple of marching bands out there to perform and call it a day.

Before the Super Bowl became a television extravaganza, halftime shows were much simpler. I remember reading that at one Super Bowl years ago where they had a dog come out and catch Frisbees with his mouth at halftime.

Alas, those days are over. Come Sunday, expect over-the-top hype. The pre-game show starts at 1 p.m. (and will – no lie – last longer than the actual football game). So pull up a chair and get comfortable. But keep a close eye on the TV because in between the Budweiser Clydesdales and the rapping halftime, you might just see some football.

Mitch Clarke, a native of Blakely, is the director of news and content at Access-WDUN in Gainesville.

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