DISCLAIMER: Seeing all the hits made in the past week to my Super Bowl blog from last year prompted me to publish my pre-Super Bowl blog earlier than expected. Just to let you know my prediction could change in the days leading up to the Bowl.
Can you believe this will be the 50th Super Bowl? For some who are old enough to remember the first, it would be hard to believe. Nevertheless this American ritual will be having its 50th on Sunday February 7th at Levi’s Stadium in Santa Clara, California. This year it’s the AFC’s Denver Broncos versus the NFC’s Carolina Panthers.
THE START OF AN AMERICAN TRADITION
The Super Bowl actually came out of a league rivalry. The NFL began in 1920 but there was an AFL, the American Football League, that formed in 1960 and it provided some heated rivalry with the NFL. In 1966, a merger was worked out between the NFL and the AFL in which would take full effect in 1970. In the meantime, both league’s top teams would compete in a ‘World Championship’ event.
The first Super Bowl which was actually called the ‘First AFL-NFL World Championship Game’ was held on January 15, 1967 in Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum. The NFL team was the Green Bay Packers led by Vince Lombardi. The AFL team was the Kansas City Chiefs. NBC had the rights to broadcast NFL games while CBS had the rights to broadcast AFL games which meant both networks could show the first Super Bowl: the only Super Bowl which was telecasted by two networks at once.
There was a halftime show but it wasn’t the show as we know it. The show featured trumpeter Al Hirt with the marching bands of the University of Arizona and Grambling State University followed by the release of 300 pigeons and 10,000 balloons and a flying demonstration by the Bell Rocket Air Men. There was also pregame entertainment and performances after each quarter from the Los Angeles Rammettes. The game was held on a sunny day with 22º Celsius (or 73º Fahrenheit) weather and the game was won by the Packers 35-10. Interesting fact: the players of the winning team the Packers were each paid $15,000 and each player of the Chiefs were paid $7,500. Oh yeah, the cost of airing a 30-second commercial was $42,000.
Over time the Super Bowl would grow in both ratings and stature. The Packers’ win in the second Super Bowl, which would be the first Super Bowl by name, would add to the legend of coach Vince Lombardi. Ratings would grow considerably, the cost of airing a 30-second commercial would also grow hugely, marching band performances during the Halftime show would eventually be replaced over time first in 1976 by the ensemble Up With People–the first of four Super Bowl appearances for the ensemble– and would follow with performances by Disney, Michael Jackson, New Kids On The Block, Aerosmith and of course the infamous duo of Janet Jackson and Justin Timberlake. The Super Bowl is now watched over 100 million Americans. In fact last year’s game amassed a record US audience of 114.4 million viewers. It’s even attracted viewers worldwide with a total worldwide audience of 160 million last year.
Okay. So what does this year’s Super Bowl have planned? For starters, let’s focus on the stadium. The host venue will be the Levi’s Stadium in Santa Clara, the home venue for the San Francisco 49ers and the newest stadium of the NFL. It took over two years of construction to complete at an expense of $2 billion. It has a regular capacity of 68,500 that can be expanded to 75,000 which will of course happen Super Bowl Sunday. As of press time, it has not been decided who will sing the national anthem.
Oh yes, the half-time show. Two months ago it was revealed that ‘multiple acts’ will perform in the show. Remember the alleged financial fiasco last year that led Coldplay and Rihanna from balking out of last year’s show? Well Coldplay agreed back in December to perform this year and be the headlining act. Two headlining acts from past Super Bowls Beyonce from Super Bowl XLVII and Bruno Mars from Super Bowl XLVIII, have been confirmed by Pepsi that they will also be performing.
AND NOW A WORD…
Yes, the Super Bowl ads. Every Super Bowl provides us with memorable ads like Mean Joe Greene’s Coke And A Smile, Apple’s 1984, McDonald’s Jordan/Bird hoops showdown, the Budweiser frogs, Mr. Old Spice and Volkswagen’s Darth Vader ad. Last year is most memorable for a commercial remembered for worse thanks to Nationwide Insurance. That commercial about the boy who died in the car accident sparked a social media outrage because most felt it interfered with their enjoyment. Nationwide responded they did the ad to start conversation.
Much to many people’s relief, Nationwide does not appear to back advertising this year. Advertising for a 30-second spot will come at the expense of $5 million. Surprisingly this will be the last year Anheuser-Busch will be advertising multiple ads during the game at a steep discount as part of their contract. This is also the tenth and last year Doritos will have their ‘Crash The Super Bowl’ contest to allow viewers to air their ads. The Pokemon Company will be airing an ad to celebrate their 20th anniversary and QuickBooks is sponsoring a contest to allow ten businesses to air their commercial during the game. Also expect a lot of movie companies to plug their upcoming releases.
THE LOW DOWN
Now enough of the hype. Let’s get down to the game. One thing about this Super Bowl is that with it being the 50th, it will be known as Super Bowl 50 instead of Super Bowl L. Also with it being the 50th, the winning team will not only hold the Super Bowl all year but will also receive an honorary 18-karat gold-plated 50 weighing 66 lbs. The game will pit the AFC winner Denver Broncos against the NFC winner Carolina Panthers. So how do they fare?
The Broncos are no strangers to the Super Bowl. This Super Bowl makes them the fourth team ever to make a record eight Super Bowl appearances. They’ve only won twice, back-to-back in 1997 and 1998. Hey, there was a big long AFC dry-spell which the Broncos broke.
This year the Broncos were one of three teams in the AFC including the Cincinnati Bengals and the New England Patriots that had a 12 win-4 loss season this year. The Broncos came out on top because of less points conceded. The season started with a new head coach in Gary Kubiak and John Elway, who helped the Broncos win both Bowls, continuing as general manager. There were 15 departures and more than 30 signings and three trades and eight signed in the NFL draft.
The Broncos started their regular season on a stellar note winning their first seven games. Their only losses came against the Indianapolis Colts, Kansas City Chiefs, Oakland Raiders and Pittsburgh Steelers. During the AFC playoffs, they were able to avenge their loss to the Steelers by winning 23-16 and won the championship against the New England Patriots 20-18.
This has been an excellent year for the Broncos. No doubt about it Peyton Manning is still on even after a tear in his foot back in November and the defense is the admiration of the league. However I saw the AFC game and I saw both the Broncos and the Patriots commit a lot of fumbles and clumsy errors. I was tempted to think neither of them deserved to qualify for the Bowl. Whatever the situation, the Broncos will have to get their game on for the big day.
While the Broncos know how to play in a Super Bowl, the Panthers are almost like rookies. They’ve only played in the Super Bowl once and it was back during Super Bowl XXXVIII where they lost to the Patriots. This year they deliver what could be their best team ever. Heck if there’s one team that could truly call this year their year, it’s the Panthers. Winning their first thirteen games, they set an NFC record for best start of a season and one of only three teams in the NFL’s history to have a 13-0 start. Their only loss of their regular season games came from the Atlanta Falcons. On top of it, this was Cam Newton’s year as he became the first quarterback to throw 30 touchdowns and rush for 10 in a single season. As for playoffs, they faced a stiff challenge from the Seattle Seahawks but won 31-24. However it was their NFC Championship game where they really put on a show by beating the Arizona Cardinals 49-15.
If you saw that game against the Cardinals, you could tell that the Panthers were on fire. They committed few errors and delivered team play like no other team. On top of that Cam Newton looked like the player of the year. However they have not played the Denver Broncos so they might know what type of defense they have. As for Panthers’ defense, they faced a setback in Sunday’s game as Thomas Davis broke his arm. Even though he’s undergoing rehab and plans to play in the Super Bowl, it’s still a question if he’ll be healed in time to play.
MY PREDICTION FOR THE WIN
This is not going to be easy. One’s experienced in Super Bowl play while one is more eager than ever. The Broncos have the top defense but the Panthers have the offensive edge. This could be a game where Peyton Manning ads to his legacy or the game where a new legend by the name of Cam Newton arrives. Sure, the Broncos won in clumsy fashion on Sunday while the Panthers were brilliant but that was one day. Super Bowl Sunday could tell a different story. So I will predict that Super Bowl 50 will be won by the Carolina Panthers 25-20. Plus it’s always a delight to see a team win a Super Bowl for the first time ever.
And there you have it. My thoughts on Super Bowl 50. Should be a delightful game. The entertainment both on the field and during commercial time should also be memorable and hopefully very entertaining. Both teams’ fates will be decided Sunday February 7th.
NOTE (Added Jan. 18/2016): Thank you to all the visitors to this post. I didn’t know I’d get so many all of a sudden. To thank you all for hitting this blog, I published my preview of Super Bowl 50 sooner than planned and it’s ready for you here.
Yes, Sunday February 1st will be Super Bowl Sunday. The game that’s both a major event for football fans and a media hype will feature the Seattle Seahawks against the New England Patriots at the University of Phoenix Stadium. Here’s what’s expected:
The XLIX Super Bowl was originally planned to be held in Arrowhead Stadium, home of the Kansas City Chiefs. However this was reliant on the installation of a retractable roof dependent on two sales taxes up for vote. That became something the Kansas City Chamber of Commerce and several civic and business groups voted against. It took until 2011 to decide the host site of the University of Phoenix Stadium with an expandable capacity of 72,000. Idina Menzel, or ‘Adela Nazim’ as John Travolta pronounced it, will sing the national anthem.
The halftime show was a bit of a struggle to assemble performers together. Their original choices for the show sponsored by Pepsi Cola were Coldplay, Katy Perry and Rihanna. However difficulties arose when league representatives asked their agent if they would provide financial compensation in the form of an up-front fee or a cut from their post-Super Bowl concert revenue. At least that’s what the wall Street Journal tells us, as was the ‘chilly’ response from those involved. And NFL spokeswoman denied this but Katy Perry was the only one of the three who has agreed to perform at the halftime show. She will be headlining the show along with special guests Lenny Kravitz and Missy Elliot.
AND NOW A WORD…
With the Super Bowl comes the tradition of their one-of-a-kind commercialfest. It’s been a buzz for three decades possibly starting with Apple’s 1984 ad. Airing a 30-second commercial will cost $4.5 million: $500,000 more than last year and the year before. Although it’s to be expected for auto advertisers to have much of the air time, there will be a lot more first-time Super Bowl advertisers like Skittles, Carnival Cruise Lines, Loctite, Morphie and Wix.com amongst the ten newbies. Movie previews will be another major advertising commodity as Paramount, Universal, Walt Disney, 20th Century Fox and Lionsgate will be showcasing trailers for movies like Terminator Genesys, Jurassic World, Minions, The Fantastic Four and Tomorrowland.
One team is the last to win back-to-back championships back in 2005. One appears poised to become the first team since. Here’s how they fared this season:
New England Patriots
The Patriots began their regular season with a loss and ended with a loss. In between was an excellent season consisting of a total of twelve wins and four losses. That put them on par with the Denver Broncos on game stats but came out on top of the AFC because of point differentials. However they didn’t have as many decisive wins as the Seahawks did. Their playoffs started with a close 35-31 win over the Baltimore Ravens but their AFC Championship was a very decisive 45-7: their most decisive victory all year. That was enough to send a message to the Seahawks that they could just block their path to being repeat Super Bowl champions.
The Hawks were last year’s winners with the most decisive win since 1993. As for 2014, like the Patriots, the Seahawks had twelve wins and four losses. So did two other teams in the NFC but the Hawks came out on top because of point differentials, just like the Patriots. Their wins in the regular season have had wider margins than that of the Patriots. However things were different for the Hawks during playoff games. They had a 31-17 win over the Carolina Panthers for the Divisional championships and a 28-22 win in overtime over the Packers for the NFC Championships. That could put the Seahawks consistency in question and have people wondering if their luck.
MY PREDICTION FOR THE WIN
I’ll admit this is hard. It’s not like the CFL where all the teams play each other at least twice during the regular season. This is the NFL that’s loaded with more teams and is most often the case that the two Super Bowl contenders never met during the season, just like this year.
This is often the case where I would have to do a lot of reading up to decide. One thing to take note of is that both teams have had some key losses of players. Seahawks have lost Percy Harvin to trades and both Brandon Mebane and Jordan Hill to injury. Their replacement players don’t have the same defensive tackle and that could hurt if the Patriots are strong in the offense. The Patriots lost Jerod Mayo and Stevan Ridley to injury but have backup players can fill their shoes. On top of it, LeGarrette Blount has returned to the Patriots, giving the team a much-needed boost. I will have to give the win to the New England Patriots but I believe it will be a tight game that could result in low scoring. I predict the score to be 15-12.
So there you have it. My thoughts on tomorrow’s Super Bowl. The champion will be decided tomorrow night. Stay toond.
I’ll admit I’m not an expert at American Football, but the Super Bowl XLVI is coming up. Sunday the 5th to be exact. The stage is in Indianapolis. The commercials costed the companies $3.5 million each time they will air them. The halftime show will be Madonna but the game is strictly an East Coast affair with the New England Patriots facing the New York Giants. Which team will take home the trophy? Let’s break them down:
NEW YORK GIANTS
Of all of the six NFC teams to qualify for the playoffs, the Giants had the weakest record and was the only qualifying team not to win at least ten games: nine wins and seven losses to be exact. Nevertheless each playoff game they’ve played, they’ve gotten stronger. First was winning their wildcard game against the Atlanta Falcons 24-2, then came their Divisional Playoff win against the Green Bay Packers 37-20, and then their overtime win of the NFC Championship against the 49ers 20-17. Will their rapid improvement reach its peak on Sunday or will the Super Bowl be where their luck finally runs out?
NEW ENGLAND PATRIOTS
While the Giants had the worst regular season results of the NFC’s playoff qualifiers, the Patriots had the best of the AFC’s with thirteen wins and only three losses. They didn’t need to play a wildcard match and won their Divisional match against Denver easily 45-10. Their AFC Championship victory against the Baltimore Ravens was tighter: 23-20. So far they have predominantly been the strongest team overall this year. However there was one important regular season statistic: of the Patriots’ three losses, one was against the Giants 24-20. That would be the last game the Patriots would lose all season. Will they get revenge at the Super Bowl or will they succumb again?
MY PICK: Now for my prediction. I know I’ve based a lot of opinion here on statistics. One thing I learned from Moneyball is that sabermetrics aren’t always right in the end. For the game however, I strongly feel the Patriots will win. It will be a tight game during the first three quarters with the lead alternating at least three times but the Patriots will grab tight hold in the fourth and go on to win it. As for the score, I won’t hazard a guess on that. I’ll just stick to predicting the winner.
Anyways go out and buy your munchies this weekend. Super Bowl XLVI promises to be exciting: both the game and surrounding events. So may the best team win on Sunday.