Go out with a bang
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Millions of people who can't locate Green Bay on a map or spell Pittsburgh without Google will tune in, Sunday, to watch what may be the last NFL game ever. If not ever, then the last game in a long time. How long is anyone's guess. With a March 4 lockout looming, Super Bowl XLV might the last chance to catch America's favorite sport in the form we know it.
Remember what the strike did to MLB in 1994? Remember what the strike did to the NHL in 2004?
Advertisers have been gleefully tossing money, $3 million for 30 seconds, at Fox, the network broadcasting the big game. With a CPM (cost per 1,000 views) around 30 bucks it's a deal they'd be crazy to pass up, even with two small market teams playing. The opportunity to reach a captivated audience, the majority of which pay more attention to the commercials than the game, is unique to the Super Bowl. This may be the last one.
Who is going to win? If Vegas knows anything it's going to be the Packers in a squeaker. But bookmakers aren't wasting their prayers trying to cover the spread. They're asking God to prevent an NFL work stoppage that some estimate would cost them a billion dollars.
Then there are us sports writers. We stare, grown children on the sidelines, paid to holler about a game we love. But will the masses really miss us when the bread and circus disappears?
Who's going to win Sunday? I can't say but let's hope it's a classic, because who knows if the NFL will ever be this great again?