Greg Cote

Greg Cote’s Super Bowl with a Smirk: Kickoff will finally end two weeks of incessant hype

Carolina Panthers QB Cam Newton appears exasperated as he answers a question during a media interview Thursday, February 4, 2016 in preparation for Super Bowl 50. “How can I reword answers to questions I’ve been asked so many times?” Newton said. “Nothing much has changed since I’ve seen you guys 24 hours ago [except that] I had an unbelievable sleep. I sound like a broken record.”
Carolina Panthers QB Cam Newton appears exasperated as he answers a question during a media interview Thursday, February 4, 2016 in preparation for Super Bowl 50. “How can I reword answers to questions I’ve been asked so many times?” Newton said. “Nothing much has changed since I’ve seen you guys 24 hours ago [except that] I had an unbelievable sleep. I sound like a broken record.” dtfoster@charlotteobserver.com

We must fine-tune what we mean when we say “Super Bowl excess.” It does not mean our avid interest in the game itself, or the fact some 43 million Americans will host Super Bowl parties, or the magnified attention given the halftime show or the hyped-up TV ads.

No, it is Your Friend the Media that is the engine of the excess. We are to blame.

We are the ones giving you what amounts to a nonstop two-week pregame show, like it or not, want it or not. Smirk says television is the main culprit, especially host network CBS, the ubiquitous ESPN and, of course, NFL Network.

Panthers quarterback Cam Newton gave voice to the ludicrousness of it on Wednesday morning as he met with hundreds of media after doing the same thing Tuesday night.

“How can I reword answers to questions I’ve been asked so many times?” he said. “Nothing much has changed since I’ve seen you guys 24 hours ago [except that] I had an unbelievable sleep. I sound like a broken record.”

NFL Network is airing 88 live hours of on-location coverage this week featuring 36 on-air personalities. Sunday it will air 10 hours of pre- and post-game coverage. CBS and ESPN similarly are inundating you. CBS Sports has more than 550 employees in the San Francisco Bay Area, will have a four-hour pregame show and will use 70 cameras during the game.

Highlight of CBS’s pregame show is expected to be a 2 p.m. interview with Barack Obama. The president is expected to say he is looking forward to a good game, after which Republicans demanding equal time are expected to argue they are not looking forward to a good game and why America should not be, either.

You know why America will be so excited to see Sunday’s game kick off?

It isn’t because Panthers vs. Broncos will finally be starting.

It’s because the two weeks of mind-numbing buildup will finally be ending.

▪ Coldplay and Beyoncé will have a lot to live up to Sunday. Super Bowl halftime shows are even more highly anticipated than the game itself, according to the latest annual survey by the National Association of Super Bowl Halftime Producers.

▪ The NFL held its first Super Bowl Women’s Summit on Thursday. Smirk cannot confirm the event was subtitled, “Just to Remind You We Don’t Condone So Many of Our Players Being Arrested for Domestic Violence.”

▪ The NFL Foundation’s Super Bowl alumni bowling tournament takes place Friday. It’s the best place to watch former players hobble and grimace as they gripe loudly about lack of medical benefits.

▪ Sentences I Never Imagined Writing, one in a series: “The FAA has banned drones from flying within 32 miles of the stadium Sunday.”

▪ The so-called Stock Market Predictor — Super Bowl win by NFC means market up for the year, AFC win means market down — has been accurate with 40 of the 49 SBs, including seven in a row. Throes of a dilemma: Broncos fan who invests heavily in stock market.

▪ Super Fact: The Broncos are 5-0 in games in which Sunday’s referee, Clete Blakeman, has worked. “I don’t care about that. I m just glad to see another guy named ‘Clete’ out there,” said deceased baseball player Clete Boyer.

▪ Finally, I saw a consumer-oriented story with the headline, “Where to watch the Super Bowl.” The target demographic: Football fans who own no television, have never heard of a sports bar and have no friends.

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