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How much does it cost? Nah, that can't be


"You Gotta Be Kidding!"
by Mickey Charles CEO, sportsnetwork.com


Hatboro, PA (Sports Network) -- It will all come to a conclusion on Sunday as a world-wide audience watches Pittsburgh and Green Bay battle it out for the Lombardi Trophy, new hats and shirts emblazoned with championship verbiage, coupled with more fingers raised skyward than you would see at a revival tent meeting in the South. Fox gets the television rights and a huge share of the commercial dollars.

Super Bowl Trophy
The Vince Lombardi Trophy given to the winner of the Super Bowl.
So, here it comes, from someone who finished in last place in the company's "Picks for the NFL" weekly and just a hair above a coin toss when it was listed. How's that for outstanding credentials? You gotta be kidding me, right? Point made.

It was not the early Super Bowl that many anticipated when New England was supposed to play Pittsburgh for the AFC Championship. Pittsburgh had something to say about that when they bested the Jets, the quick "darlings" of many fans and most of the media. You saw it, so did I and the rest of the fans watching or attending. Steelers out of the box early and New York unable to stage a comeback. The Packers go on the road to win three and here they are. It could actually turn into one of the better games in Super Bowl memory.

But, back to the commercial aspects of it, no pun intended. How does $86,000 or so a second for an ad sound? Impossible and outrageous, right? Guess again. Super Bowl advertisers Audi AG and General Motors Co. think they are getting a bargain for 30-second spots costing a record $3 million or more, if the audience for the telecast reaches new highs as forecast, and how will anyone really know? It will be big, but the ultimate measure is a guess and estimate ... a truly expensive one.

This Super Bowl may top the record 106.5 million viewers who watched last year's on CBS, according to some New York advertising executives whose reputations are given more weight than the basis for the numbers spewed forth in rather cavalier fashion. The catch and game away from the game that is played is that, by buying up all the ads from News Corp.'s Fox in October, advertisers avoided paying higher prices closer to the game, when the cost can soar for the few spots that typically remain. Advertisers didn't want to risk waiting because recent Super Bowls surpassed forecasts for viewers, so it seems.

Consequently, the "potty break" might have to come during the game itself when you determine that there will not be a 75-yard pass down the sidelines and, if there is, thank goodness for replay over and over. The commercials and halftime show - Black Eyed Peas - are pointed, respectively, for buyers who the advertisers have determined are potentially theirs and will be watching and to garner a younger generation that will be drawn to performance of a group to whom they relate and wait out the first half to see them, then stay for the second as long as they are already there. Will anyone really know if this happens? Not really. Cynical? Nope, just honest.

Aaron Rodgers
Aaron Rodgers and the Packers advanced to the Super Bowl after three straight wins on the road.
The food, soda, beer and chips will be out and within reach. Catering wives, daughters and girlfriends will happily get more, even when the quarterback is being chased around the backfield because they are "involved" out of necessity and courtesy but do have the time to reload the food tray.

As for the game itself, teams to which all fans can relate for NFL history, prestige, legends of the past, some in the making and neither team running away from the other. Instead, they will come out sparring in the first quarter, looking for openings in the other's defense and giving the announcers the opportunity to talk about "establishing the running game," something I have never understood unless you do so and are then able to make up 5-7 yards on every carry. But, oh well, so it goes. That said, both Ben Roethlisberger and Aaron Rodgers will hand off and then watch the secondary to decide upon the long pass both will suddenly undertake before the quarter ends. At that point, the over will start to look good.

When play turns to the run, look for the Steelers' Rashard Mendenhall and Packers' James Starks and Brandon Jackson to take turns picking up yardage. As the aerial shows of each unfold, the people to watch are Mike Wallace and Hines Ward for Pittsburgh, Donald Driver, Greg Jennings and Jordy Nelson for Green Bay. Not to be forgotten are some very talented tight ends ... Heath Miller for the white clad "visiting" Steelers, and Andrew Quarless for the more colorful Packers.

Rashard Mendenhall
Can the Packers stop the Pittsburgh ground game led by Rashard Mendenhall?
While not turning into a directory of sorts, other names you are likely to hear often are those of the linebackers, the folks who relish the crunch of helmets and shoulder pads against bodies challenging their ability to stop them from advancing the ball ... LaMarr Woodley/James Farrior/Lawrence Timmons/James Harrison for Pittsburgh and Clay Matthews/A.J. Hawk for Green Bay.

What about the cornerbacks? Funny you should ask. The folks who hover, that point at one another a great deal and then shout out the names of their opponents before they turn into heat seeking missiles ... Ryan Clark, Bryant McFadden for Pittsburgh and Charles Woodson, Tramon Williams, Sam Shields for the other guys.

Can we possibly forget Troy Palamalu, and do I have to tell you which team is his? What about Nick Collins? If it moves, they hit it.

Might the game turn on the talents of Shaun Suisham for Pittsburgh or Mason Crosby for Green Bay, turning in those necessary three points? However, there is Tim Masthay, capable of pushing the Pittsburgh receiving team as far back as the stands from any distance. OK, a bit of an exaggeration but he is good, very good. Nice weapon to have.

We know the players, the fact that Green Bay has been made a small favorite by odds-makers here and there, and that these same folks think it will be a high- scoring game. So do I, but not really until the second half. This is the big one, Super Bowl XLV, and it will be cat and mouse for a bit, no matter how much game film players and coaches have watched, how many weak points they feel might be out there.

Saddle up, buckle up and get out the predictable team attire to wear this weekend. It is Midwest versus East Coast and the West Coast is there to watch for a bit and then head out to dinner. Morning shows will state the winner, a few words about the game and then focus on the commercials. Night time talk shows, like Jay Leno and David Letterman, will line up the quarterback of the winning team, MVP if it is not him, and/or person who made that much-talked-about play that turned the tide ... pass, catch, kick, runback, whatever it might be.

The world is still facing financial crisis, Egypt and the entire Middle East are in political upheaval, and there will not be any Sony or Panasonic big screen in Liberation Square so that the combatants can take a break to watch the game and commercials. Besides, they are seeking a much bigger score and are not potential buyers for any product being advertised ... unless it is a new democratic political faction, at a bargain price. In the midst of everyone worrying about the next dollar over here, think of it, $86,000-plus a second to tell you about a product that you cannot afford to buy.

You gotta be kidding!

Oh, yes, for what it is worth, and that is not much based upon this season's record and that it really needed more attention and study than I gave it ... Pittsburgh and the over.