It’s almost time for the Big Game, although you’ll be reading this after the Lombardi Trophy has already been hoisted and the complaints have started pouring in about how Tom Brady managed to pull another one out of the hat, even though his team is not even playing. So much goes into those two weeks before Super Sunday that the game itself is sometimes an anticlimax. So I wanted to take a glimpse into what goes on behind the scenes in preparation for the biggest single day in sports.

I wish I could just go ahead and call it the “Super Bowl,” but I can’t because the NFL has strict rules governing the use of the term, which it has trademarked. A trademark does not expire like a copyright does, and need not even be registered. By the time this issue comes out, someone will have come along and trademarked “The Big Game,” so I’ll have to refer to it by tapping my head against the wall in Morse code. My editor Jodi is not going to like this, but I secretly wish that the NFL will send me a “Cease and Desist” letter that I can tack up on my wall as a trophy. If they do, I promise to cease but I will NOT desist, at least until I look it up in the dictionary. It’s possible that the NFL could garnish my wages, which would certainly make them taste better.

Even though the game is always the most highly rated program on television for the year, there are at least 1,580 people who won’t be watching. Those are the players from all the teams that didn’t make it. They’ll be sitting at home, STILL swearing at the officials that cost them the game. Yes, I had 12 missed tackles, but the referees failed to call an illegal use of a hand to my face, which may have been my own hand, and quite possibly my own face.

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You can bet that at this moment, Amazon analytics is getting a deluge of phone calls from the coaching staff. For years Amazon has had sensors placed on the players’ shoulder pads and at critical points along the field so that they can track their movement and speed, and then possibly sell them concussion insurance during each play. Coaching staffs have been mining this data and creating new metrics to help them analyze their personnel and strategies. FYI, I ordered from Amazon a download of a song I heard on the radio that I liked, and I wanted to put it on my iPod. For those of you who don’t know what an iPod is, it’s an electronic device that’s a little bit like a Walkman. For those of you... well, never mind. the point is that I ordered the song and Amazon transferred the file to me and stuck it in a folder somewhere on my computer that I haven’t found yet, so I hope the NFL coaches have better luck than I did.

Jennifer Lopez was chosen to perform the halftime show, but they are already debating who should headline next year’s extravaganza. Many factors go into the selection process, with input even from the public. One year they were all set to choose the band Nickelback, and for some reason the backlash was so vehement that they decided on someone else. Tom Brady was just thrilled that America was hating on Nickelback and not the quarterback. They have already ruled out the rapper Pitbull, a decision which may come back to bite them.

Out in Las Vegas they’re busy setting the odds for the Big Game. Who wins, of course, what the point spread is and the over/under, those are standard for the industry. But other “proposition” bets have become popular, such as whether the coin toss will land “heads” or “tails,” and even how long the singer will take to sing the National Anthem. Francis Scott Key shortened the word “over” to “o’er” when he wrote the words to the Star Spangled Banner to save us all a little time, because he knew we had other things to do, and then Whitney Houston came along and lengthened it back to 800 syllables.

Finally, the mayors of each city are preparing their wagers to each other. Kansas City will bet a dinner of their world-famous barbecue. San Francisco will bet its most prized commodity, a parking space downtown. 

Join Rick and Trillium on Friday, February 28th, at the Katonah Library at 6:00PM for Chili Night! Say hello at: rlife8@hotmail.com