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The best show on television — the Super Bowl
Harris Blackwood
Harris Blackwood

All too often in this space, I bemoan the effects of television on our society. 

But television has also been an educator. Here in the South, we didn’t know much about professional football until we could see it on TV.

We didn’t have the Falcons until 1966, about the same time the sport was getting wider coverage on TV.

In 1967, pro football decided to have an AFL-NFL World Championship game. It was played at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum. A ticket would set you back $12 and it was not a sellout. The game was televised by both NBC and CBS, which had the rights to the two respective leagues, which were merging.

The face value of a ticket did not cross the $100 mark until 1988.

Ticket brokers say that this year’s ticket are about $6,000 for the nosebleed section and $39,000 for a really good seat. I missed the class on inflation, but going from $12 to $6,000 is a pretty big jump.

But the Super Bowl is a TV show.

The pregame telecast begins about lunchtime for a game that kicks off at suppertime.

The first Super Bowl halftime show featured trumpeter Al Hirt and a couple of college marching bands.

This year, Jennifer Lopez and Shakira are the featured halftime acts. Also appearing will be Lady Gaga and Pitbull. If you held a gun to my head, I could not name one of their songs. I remember Al Hirt had a big hit with a song called “Java.”

Super Bowl Sunday is the biggest day of the year for food consumption. Like the telecast, folks start eating about lunchtime and don’t finish until the game is about over.

According to Google, the most searched recipe in Georgia for Super Bowl food is Buffalo chicken dip. I guess that has something to do with the fact that we are the poultry capital of the universe.

In Florida, they are searching for cake. It didn’t say what kind of cake, just cake.

In Washington, DC, they are searching for pigs in a blanket. I would like to make some kind of comment here, but I won’t. Use your imagination.

Folks also drink lots of beverages. You can’t walk into a supermarket without seeing a big display of soft drinks or beer.

All of the other broadcast networks are serving up their evening news. One of the ESPN channels is offering a replay of the 1992 football game between Florida State and Georgia Tech. Over on the Lifetime channel is another installment of their show, “I didn’t know I was pregnant.”

Suddenly, watching the Super Bowl just gained in appeal.

But a lot of folks are watching to see the commercials. The going price for a Super Bowl commercial on Fox is estimated at $5.5 million. That’s about $183,000 per second and more than four times the amount of a 30-second commercial on the first Super Bowl.

So whether you are rooting for the San Francisco 49ers, the Kansas City Chiefs, or the next commercial. It promises to be an eventful day of television. If you slept late and are reading this around noon, get the TV on because you’re already missing the show.

Harris Blackwood is a Gainesville resident whose columns appear on the Sunday Life page and on www.gainesvilletimes.com.

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