Monday, January 31, 2011

45 Stops to Super Bowl XLV: #1-#5

The "45 Stops to Super Bowl XLV" is a series that will feature stories, stats and interesting trivia that you can use to act smart as you prepare for Super Bowl XLV. I've done this on SPORTZASSASSIN.COM for Super Bowls XL, XLI, XLIII, XLIV and for AOL's FanHouse for Super Bowl XLII.

#1-ENJOY THE GAME: Enjoy this Super Bowl because it could be the last NFL game you'll see in a while.

It's no secret that the collective bargaining agreement expires in March and both sides are gearing towards a war. In this era of betting and fantasy football, this could really burn fans in a bad way. So we may not see NFL games as we're accustomed to.

We won't see those offseason workouts, OTAs and all the rest. Those free agent signings? Gone. In their place will be talks of meetings between lawyers and representatives. Instead of Tom Brady, we'll be hearing from Roger Goodell and DeMaurice Smith. We won't see ESPN reporting from camps, we'll see them reporting at some hotel where both sides are meeting. We'll see "experts" giving their opinion on what is happening and what they think will happen. With the NBA heading towards the same doom, we really could get sick of hearing about labor negotiations. Especially when people are really hurting for jobs out there in the real world ... listening to rich players and wealthy owners fight about zillions of dollars doesn't resonate with the common man.

Football does and we need to enjoy it while we can.

#2-NO CHEERLEADERS: Barring something unforseen, Super Bowl XLV will be the first Super Bowl without cheerleaders. The teams supply their cheerleading squads for the game. Well, the Packers and Steelers are two of the six NFL franchises that don't employ cheerleaders.

The only other teams without cheerleaders are the Browns, Lions, Giants and Bears. Three of those teams are in the NFC and the other is the Browns.

If the NFL wants to have cheerleaders there, they should see if there are other options. One could be bringing in the Cowboys cheerleaders (the game is in Dallas) and dress them up in some Super Bowl-ish colors (silver seems to be the main one). Maybe they could get a cheerleading squad from one of the local colleges?

#3-OTHER SPORTS: ABC will air the Magic-Celtics game. That will be one of just four NBA games on tap (Clippers-Heat, Pacers-Nets, 76ers-Knicks).

There will be 13 college hoops games as well. Televised games include ESPN showing top-ranked Ohio State at Minnesota at 2pm. Michigan State takes on Wisconsin on CBS at 1pm. FoxSportsNet will show the Florida State-North Carolina game at 2pm. The only other game of note is Rutgers-Notre Dame.

There are also three NHL games ... including NBC's national coverage of the Penguins-Capitals game. The Devils-Canadiens and Blues-Lightning both play at 3pm.

#4-SUPER BOWL ADS: I know that ... aside from the game ... the big calling card to the Super Bowl is the commercials. We all love watching the funny ones, the poignant ones and the wastefully stupid ones. Go back in time to watch some classic Super Bowl ads.

Movies could be the big water cooler chatter come Monday morning. Thor, Transformers: Dark Of the Moon, Kung Fu Panda 2, Captain America: First Avenger, Pirates Of the Carribean: On Stranger Tides, Super 8 and Cowboys and Aliens will all have their trailers shown either during the pregame, postgame or during the game.

Word is that Anheuser Busch has bought exclusive rights to the Super Bowl until 2014 and will feature a commercial for Stella Artois.

Also look for Volkswagen to use LucasFilm to help promote their 2012 Beetle and Passat. The Passat commercial will have some Star Wars connections. The Beetle ... one of the most anticipated automotive debuts in a while ... will not be actually shown in the commercial.

There are rumors of a Best Buy commercial featureing Justin Bieber and Ozzy Osborne. There is also buzz that Rosanne could be featured in a Snickers commercial similar to the breakout ad featuring Betty White last year. Kim Kardashian reportedly has a smoking hot Sketchers ad.

#5-ALL TIME SERIES: The Packers and Steelers have met 33 times with Green Bay winning 19 of them. Pittsburgh has won 7 of the last 10 meetings, including a 37-36 shootout last season. Green Bay won the first 9 meetings.

Green Bay has outscored Pittsburgh 768 to 583 since their first meeting in 1933.

The two cities have some rivalry to them. The Pirates and Wisconsin's Brewers both play in the National League Central.


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