New billboards have appeared this week in New Jersey towns all around the Super Bowl stadium — in Newark, North Bergen, Hackensack and elsewhere — and Smirk feels safe in surmising the sight of them does not thrill the NFL.
“MARIJUANA: SAFER THAN ALCOHOL … AND FOOTBALL,” declare the 60-foot road signs.
The Marijuana Policy Project is spending more than $5,000 to rent the billboards as part of a move to convince the NFL to decriminalize pot-smoking by its players.
To the MPP, a Broncos-Seahawks Super Bowl is the perfect time, with Colorado and Washington the only two U.S. states to have approved recreational marijuana use. It has been legal in Colorado since Jan. 1, and retail stores are set to open soon in Washington. It’s why some are calling Broncos-Seahawks the “Stoner Bowl.”
(Medical marijuana also has been a hot topic this week. New Jersey, hosting the game, legalized medical marijuana in 2010, and commissioner Roger Goodell and Seattle coach Pete Carroll both acknowledged this week it could be beneficial to former players with health issues.)
Meanwhile, there were reports Wednesday that as many as 18,000 tickets to the Super Bowl still were available. Cannot confirm speculation that’s because Broncos and Seahawks fans have been smoking so much legal weed they forgot about the game. Attempts to reach Goodell about all of this were unsuccessful.
“No,” an NFL spokesman told Smirk on Wednesday. “No I will not ask for an official statement from the commissioner on your proposal to change the name of this week’s game from the Super Bowl to Super Bong.”
• The 20-foot-tall Roman numerals XLVIII were unveiled along Super Bowl Boulevard in Times Square on Wednesday night. Because the NFL has made a concerted effort to curtail its famous excess, the ceremony featured only the commissioner, the New York City mayor, the governor, the Boys Choir of Harlem, the cast of the Broadway musical Jersey Boys and the Rockettes. (If only I were kidding.)
• Smirk remains resolute to confirm what unidentified sources tell us: that Sunday’s Super Bowl weather could be cold — the one story nobody is talking about.
• Broncos fans looking for a good omen will note that Friday is the Chinese New Year, commencing the Year of the Horse.
• A new Cheerios TV ad to debut during the Super Bowl features an interracial family. Coincidentally, the Seahawks and Broncos both are interracial teams.
• That reminds me. Signs of the apocalypse: A Bob Dylan song is featured in a Super Bowl yogurt ad.
• The NFL announced the seven-man SB officiating crew led by referee Terry McAulay, and nobody cared other than the men’s families.
• Public safety plans were outlined Wednesday at a Super Bowl security news briefing. Officials announced that items that may not be brought into the stadium include umbrellas, coolers and Lauren Tannehill’s rifle.
• ESPN on Wednesday made available to the media three of its analysts: Tedy Bruschi, Cris Carter and a dozing Mike Ditka.
• Twitter estimates 78 million SB-related tweets will be sent during Sunday’s game. And that’s just by Bomani Jones!
• Smirk hates to speak in gambling parlance but is taking the “over” on Sunday. I don’t mean points scored. I mean the national anthem exceeding 2 minutes 30 seconds.
• The NFL has issued an alert regarding counterfeit Super Bowl tickets. Folks, if the Super Bowl ticket you are being offered seems exceptionally small and is imprinted with the words Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues, it could be a fake.
• Finally, SiriusXM is broadcasting its SB coverage in nine languages this week, including Hungarian. Right now, somewhere in Budapest, an old crone is stewing meat for goulash while listening to Gil Brandt discuss Russell Wilson’s height.