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Weather or not, nation is ready

Commentary

February 2, 2014
By Steve Sampsell (sports@altoonamirror.com) , The Altoona Mirror

With weather as a primary concern for the first Super Bowl contested at a traditionally cold-weather site outdoors, percentages have been a big part of the pre-game discussion about the matchup between the Denver Broncos and Seattle Seahawks.

Specifically, the chance of bad weather has been addressed endlessly. For the record, the chance of precipitation this evening is less than 30 percent. And if it comes, it'll more likely be rain than snow.

Still, MetLife Stadium (shared by the New York Giants and New York Jets but located in New Jersey) seats fewer than 83,000 people. So only a relative handful of people will be directly impacted by the weather.

More than 130 million people could watch the game on TV. They should be aware of some other percentages. They include:

n 100 percent chance that Fox Sports at some point uses an infrared camera to show players' body heat during the game. Overall, the game's production team has access to more than 50 cameras (14 of them robotic, the most ever for a broadcast on the network) and they love to show off technology like that.

n 96 percent chance an ad with animals or humor resonates most with viewers. Watch for strong efforts from Budweiser/Bud Light, Doritos, M&Ms, several automakers and, of course, celebrity cameos. A few film trailers will debut as well. Thirty-seconds of ad time this year cost about $4 million. Count me as a sucker for anything emotional Budweiser trots out that features the Clydesdales.

n 93 percent chance someone on the lengthy pre-game show - probably former referee Mike Pereira - discusses the importance of officiating and uses a two-letter penalty abbreviation to discuss penalties, such as "PI" for pass interference. Game and league officials use those themselves and broadcasters across networks have been trying to take viewers behind the scenes by using that same jargon this year. It's jargon, though, and sometimes just confusing.

n 86 percent chance the broadcast tandem of Joe Buck and Troy Aikman, working their fourth Super Bowl together as play-by-play man and color commentator, respectively, make reference to Denver QB Peyton Manning's use of "Omaha" as a play-change signal at the line of scrimmage.

n 56 percent chance Richard Sherman draws as much attention to himself in a post-game interview as he did following the NFC Championship Game. First, Seattle has to win the game for him to talk and, second, the crush of people around him will be even bigger, making it harder for him to rant exclusively. If he talks, though, sideline reporter Pam Oliver will have the interview. She's handling the Seahawks while Erin Andrews has the Broncos.

n 45 percent chance anything truly newsworthy comes out of the sit-down interview with Bill O'Reilly of Fox News and President Barack Obama. It's a mostly no-news ratings move providing a connection point with the Super Bowl for the chief executive, exposure for O'Reilly and a break from the all-football focus of the four-hour pregame show. It's scheduled to air at 4:30 p.m.

n 31 percent chance that any fan/reaction shot catches something similar to Alex Rodriguez getting fed popcorn by Cameron Diaz as happened when Fox Sports last had the big game. Producer Richie Zyontz, working his fourth Super Bowl, and director Rich Russo, a Penn State alumnus working his second, got that shot when the Packers played the Steelers in 2011. That game was indoors at Cowboys Stadium, though. Viewers can expect the usual fan/celebrity shots, but it'll be a little harder to tell who's who when people are bundled up or if they're comfortable in their stadium suites.

n 22 percent chance you've heard of national anthem singer Renee Fleming, an Indiana, Pa., native and soprano opera singer, before this moment. The over-under bet on how long it'll take her to sing the anthem is 2:25. That's one of nearly 500 such prop bets Las Vegas sports books offer around the Super Bowl.

n 3 percent chance the stadium experiences a power outage similar to what happened last year in New Orleans. Something else might happen, but not that because NFL officials have had a year to prevent it.

n 0 percent chance - as in nada, none - that the game broadcast will include aerial shots from a blimp. Even though MetLife has its own blimp, the cold weather and potential for rain (or sleet or snow) grounded all lighter-than-air options. Advertising and broadcast officials have known that would be the case since the time the NFL announced the outdoor Super Bowl a couple years ago, but it was not confirmed publicly until a few days ago. And airspace for a plane around the stadium would be limited because of security concerns.

Steve Sampsell may be contacted at talkingtvsports@gmail.com.

 
 
 

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