Super Bowl With a Smirk is back to gently tweak the self-important NFL and the gravitas of its big game. We do it every Super Bowl Week, except years when we forget.
The Ravens flew into New Orleans on Monday after a huge sendoff attended by thousands of purple-clad fans at Baltimore’s Inner Harbor. Players arrived to the celebration in team buses, except Ray Lewis, who walked across the harbor accompanied by God before both broke into Lewis’ trademark Squirrel Dance upon the water as fans’ momentary stunned silence gave way to raucous applause.
Later, God high-fived Lewis and confided to the cheering crowd that He planned to smite Colin Kaepernick with a weekend stomach virus.
(The 49ers had arrived a day earlier, at 7:15 p.m. Sunday. It was to be 7 but the line moved on account of heavy betting action.)
Lewis’ farewell game before retiring is one of the two big story lines to Super Bowl XLVII, along with, of course, the fact opposing head coaches Jim and John Harbaugh are brothers, a first.
Smirk can’t lose in this game because, on a hunch early in the season I invested big in irresistible media references to “Bro Bowl,” “Har-Bowl” and “Super Baugh.”
Still trying to confirm reports that parents Jack and Jackie Harbaugh plan to reveal in a pregame news conference which son they have always loved more.
• Predictionmachine.com ran 50,000 computerized simulations and found San Francisco won 66.9 percent of the time by an average score of 28.6 to 21.3. The NFL in turn decided playing the Super Bowl would be pointless and quietly canceled the game in a cost-cutting measure.
• In a duel of video game simulations, Madden ’13 had it Ravens 27-24, while a vintage Nintendo Tecmo Bowl sim had it Niners 31-17. On the low-tech end, still no word from Princess the Prognosticating Camel, who might be dead.
• This just in: One change in the Super Bowl injury report. The 49ers have added QB Alex Smith (bruised ego).
• Smirk hates to speak in gambling parlance but is taking the “over” on Sunday. I don’t mean points scored. I mean Alicia Keys exceeding 2 minutes 25 seconds on the national anthem.
• Players from both teams each get two free tickets to the game with an option to buy up to 13 more at face value of $950 each. Said 49ers center Jonathan Goodwin: “If you mention the cost, the requests from distant cousins tend to go away.”
• Ravens safety Bernard Pollard predicted the NFL would not exist in 30 years because rules changes emphasizing health and safety will turn off fans. A national poll indicated nobody agrees with Pollard; however, his opinion is expected this week to launch a thousand deathly turgid media analyses of concussions.
• Stations from across the country were setting up Monday on “Radio Row” at the SB media center. Things got ugly fast when bitter rivals 790 The Ticket and WQAM brawled over first dibs to Ravens backup long-snapper Lennay Fitzwad.
• A USA Today poll of NFL players indicated only 39 percent approve of the job commissioner Roger Goodell is doing. In an unrelated story, 61 percent of NFL players have been fined by Goodell.
• If it’s Super Bowl Week, you know politicians are making “friendly bets.” In this case, Maryland senators Barbara Mikulski and Ben Cardin are betting crab cakes, while California senators Barbara Boxer and Dianne Feinstein are offering a sudden earthquake. I’m kiddin’. They’re really offering Napa Valley wine.
• Despite initial reports, word now is that Beyonce’s halftime performance will not be a reunion of the trio Destiny’s Child, otherwise known as Beyonce & The Pips.
• Wilson reports that the official Super Bowl game ball will be one of 10 on average harvested from the hide of one adult cow, forcing upon us the unsettling reality that the beautiful pass spiraling downfield once was a doe-eyed Holstein named Betsy who did no harm and wished only to live her life in peace.
• Finally, TV’s Inside Edition has hired Miss Alabama, Katherine Webb, as a special Super Bowl correspondent. The hiring is expected to significantly increase the show’s viewership in the demographic group, “men named Brent Musberger.”