TIME Sports

This is Probably What a Richard Sherman and Marshawn Lynch Press Conference Would Actually Look Like

The least and most reticent of football stars, Marshawn Lynch and Richard Sherman, share the stage in this Key & Peele Super Bowl skit.

You won’t come away knowing any more about the big game, but you might get a new perspective on the Academy Award-nominated movie Selma — and a mean hankering for biscuits and gravy. (Those do go with chicken wings, right?)

Key & Peele’s Super Bowl special aired on Comedy Central Friday night. More sketches can be seen here.

TIME Culture

The Super Bowl Is a Bum Deal for My Town

View outside the University of Phoenix Stadium on Jan. 25, 2015 in Glendale, Arizona.
View outside the University of Phoenix Stadium on Jan. 25, 2015 in Glendale, Arizona. Christian Petersen—Getty Images

Zocalo Public Square is a not-for-profit Ideas Exchange that blends live events and humanities journalism.

Many of us here believe this should be Glendale’s last

My family and I moved to Glendale, Arizona — where the Super Bowl will be played this weekend — in 1968, when it was one of many small Arizona towns ringing Phoenix.

Glendale was small and comfortable. Our young children walked a quarter mile to school. What is today the upscale area of Arrowhead was then a desert where we took the kids to ride motorbikes and shoot BB guns. On a spring evening, the air was heavy with the scent of citrus blossoms.

Fans who attend the Super Bowl will encounter an entirely different city, a place that has bet its future on professional sports. If some locals look less than happy this weekend, know that it’s the risks involved in that gamble, not the traffic, that’s bothering us.

Glendale has undergone dramatic change. At its incorporation in 1912, it was a Russian-Asian-Hispanic farming community. In the 1960s, when my family moved here, Glendale was a small city of 45,000. Then, in the 1990s, while I served on the city council, new subdivisions, including Arrowhead, and new shopping, including Arrowhead Mall, grew up.

But Glendale wanted more than to be just another Phoenix suburb. In the early 2000s, as I returned to the council, our attention turned to the possibilities of sports as a catalyst. A strategy took shape: if we built major sports venues, the resulting tourism and sales tax dollars would strengthen city coffers and allow for major improvements in the quality of life.

First, a city-owned venue for professional hockey and for entertainment and a complementary retail complex, Westgate, were built in partnership with a developer. Then, with the Arizona Sports and Tourism Authority, we created two more sports facilities: the county-owned University of Phoenix football stadium (home to the NFL’s Arizona Cardinals) and a city-owned spring training baseball facility called Camelback Ranch (home-away-from-home to the Los Angeles Dodgers and the Chicago White Sox). The football stadium put Glendale in the Super Bowl business for the first time; promised windfalls from hosting the big game were supposed to afford us the option of paying off construction debt related to the hockey arena and the baseball facility sooner.

But it wasn’t long before optimistic staff projections of increased sales tax receipts and new economic development proved to be wrong. Then came the national recession, just as we hosted our first Super Bowl in 2008. The big game, was supposed to draw new development to the city, but didn’t. Instead, it left the city with bills. The city spent $3.4 million on the event and recouped a little over $1.2 million in sales tax and fees.

The resulting $2.2 million loss was just one sign that our sports strategy was unsustainable. Debt related to the two sports venues that Glendale itself owned — the hockey arena and the ballpark — proved to be a financial albatross. The regular season football games proved to be a wash financially. While sales tax revenues from Westgate are greater on game days, the additional revenue is consumed by increased public safety and transportation costs.

Other Super Bowl host cities, Miami Gardens in Florida and the Arlington area in Texas, have mechanisms for state reimbursement of their hosting costs, but we don’t. Legislation to provide such reimbursement to Glendale hasn’t made it through the Arizona legislature. In recent years, Glendale’s mayor has concluded it doesn’t seem prudent to be in the Super Bowl hosting business if there is no way to recover its costs.

So why is the Super Bowl in Glendale again? The Super Bowl bid process is a long one, and locations are approved many years before the actual event. Tremendous political pressure was placed on the city from the owners of the Arizona Cardinals, swaying a majority of the council to approve the bid in 2011. I was not in the majority.

There are good things about the Super Bowl. Even though Glendale loses money, the state, the county and the Phoenix area share in an economic boost of $500 million. Direct TV is hosting a major music festival in Glendale across the street from the stadium, and the city holds one of its premier events, the Chocolate Affaire, Super Bowl. The confluence of chocolate lovers and football fans will generate revenue for Glendale’s merchants and restaurants.

But costs to host this year’s Super Bowl will be greater than they were in 2008. The city’s loss for this game is sure to be greater than $2.2 million. We love Glendale and so will this year’s Super Bowl visitors. But many of us here believe this should be Glendale’s last Super Bowl.

Joyce Clark is a 47-year resident of Glendale and served on the City Council for sixteen years. She retired in 2013 and now spends time maintaining a back yard pond populated by Japanese Koi and is a blog writer on local Glendale issues. She wrote this article for Zocalo Public Square.

TIME Ideas hosts the world's leading voices, providing commentary and expertise on the most compelling events in news, society, and culture. We welcome outside contributions. To submit a piece, email ideas@time.com.

TIME Football

Behind the Scenes of the Puppy Bowl

Puppies tussle with a plush football at the "Puppy Bowl" in Phoenix
Puppies tussle with a plush football at the "Puppy Bowl" in Phoenix, Jan. 29, 2015. Daniel Wallis—Reuters

The Puppy Bowl is the second-highest rated broadcast on the day of the Super Bowl

There are many reasons to become a sports journalist. Maybe you want to expose corruption, or do the kind of deep statistical analysis you can’t find anywhere. Or maybe, like me, you just want to go to The Puppy Bowl.

If you’ve been living under a rock for the past decade, The Puppy Bowl is Animal Planet’s solution to every television network’s problem of what to broadcast against the nation’s top-viewed program of the year. Now in its 10th year, The Puppy Bowl is the second-highest rated broadcast on the day of the Super Bowl.

The old adage in showbiz says never to work with animals or children, so the logistics of working with animals who are also children can be tricky. The 3-yard by 10-yard field is manned not only by the referee you see on television, but also animal handlers for each animal, numerous producers, and about 10 cameras to catch all the action. Also numerous? Big jars of peanut butter, which producers put on the camera lenses to get the puppies to lick them. This year’s halftime performers will be Nigerian dwarf goats, who sources tell me “like to stand on boxes.”

This year’s roster is composed of 84 puppies from 37 shelters and private homes from around the country. These puppies are vetted (pun intended) by Animal Planet’s casting directors, who have the enviable job of looking at puppy audition tapes in the weeks leading up to filming. Marcia Mansell and Kathy Jung of the Nevada SPCA told us that these audition tapes consist of “five minutes of them playing.” The puppies were held in a large room adjacent to the studio in pens divided for different sizes of dogs. If you think this sounds like heaven, well, you’re right.

Many of these tapes are blind submissions from pet owners looking for a chance at the spotlight, but other puppies were actually scouted by Animal Planet. A puppy named Lorelai from Iowa was one such dog. “Someone from Animal Planet found us on Pet Finder and reached out to us,” said Amy Heinz of Iowa’s Heinz 57 Pet Rescue, who has brought puppies to the last three Puppy Bowls. “We brought a lot of dogs, so we rented a big SUV and drove about eighteen hours to get here. We have crates for half of them and a playpen for the rest.”

Some of the puppies provided by shelters have already been placed in new homes, but others haven’t. When I asked Heinz if she saw any boost in adoption rates after the broadcast, she said, “An enormous boost. We doubled our adoption rates after our first year appearing on the Puppy Bowl.”

Just like the Super Bowl, the Puppy Bowl is filled with Cinderella Stories. Many of the puppies that come from shelters have risen out of abusive or neglectful situations to compete on the largest stage in Puppy Football (and also the only stage in Puppy Football).

Bronte, a pitbull from Healing Species shelter in South Carolina, was one such case. “We rescued his mother and a litter of puppies,” said Healing Species president and founder Cheri Brown. “We’re a shelter that specializes in abuse and cruelty, and this was one of the worst cases we’ve ever seen. The mother was dying, but she’s fine now. Bronte was covered in fleas and had intestinal parasites known as Coccidia. If we had found him a day later, I don’t think he would have made it.” Another puppy, Kino (a strong candidate for this year’s MVP), showed up to the Nevada SPCA in a cardboard box.

Has the Puppy Bowl convinced you to adopt a dog? Great! Amy Heinz, who does home visits for every dog before adopting them out, told me the three things you should consider before taking a furry friend home with you:

— Do you have the time? Puppies are a LOT of work, way more than you think. An older dog requires less time, but is still a commitment. If you don’t have time but still want to get in on that puppy action, consider volunteering at a shelter.

— How willing are you to train the dog? If you don’t know how to do it and don’t want to learn, consider an older dog or obedience school.

— The right size dog for the right space. If you live in a New York City studio apartment, maybe the St. Bernard you’ve had your eyes on is a bad fit. And if you live on an expansive ranch, an English Bulldog with breathing troubles might not be able to keep up with you.

After an eventful day of playing football (kind of), the puppies were all tuckered out and headed home for the day. I won’t spoil the results for you, but I think we can agree that the real winner here is all of us. We all win.

This article originally appeared on SI.com.

TIME Football

Why the Patriots Will Win the Super Bowl

General view of the Super Bowl XLIX trophy with a helmet from both the Seattle Seahawks and the New England Patriots during a press conference for Super Bowl XLIX on Friday, Jan. 30, 2015, in Phoenix, Ariz.
View of the Super Bowl XLIX trophy with a helmet from both the Seattle Seahawks and the New England Patriots during a press conference for Super Bowl XLIX on Friday, Jan. 30, 2015 in Phoenix, Ariz. Ben Liebenberg—AP

In a very evenly matched Super Bowl, there is a slight edge to New England in what promises to be a hard-hitting, low-scoring affair Sunday in Arizona

Since the league championship games were determined, I have been obsessing about this Super Bowl matchup between the Seahawks and Patriots. It’s the one I dreamed of with my prediction before the season, and it has become a reality. This matchup is good for the game because it truly does feature the two best teams in the NFL.

This is as difficult a prediction that I’ve had to make in a Super Bowl. Last year I thought the Seahawks would beat the Broncos fairly easily (though not 43-8). Super Bowl XLIX, conversely, is a coin flip. The bounce of the ball and one or two fluke plays likely will determine the winner.

That’s how close these two teams are. In fact, they are nearly mirror images. Both hybrid 4-3/3-4 defenses have some softness against the run, but good luck trying to throw the football as the main means of moving the ball. Offensively, both teams have been covering for average lines all season. Both teams feature power running backs but have speed in reserve at the position as well. Their weapons are mostly anonymous gamers, save for Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski. Russell Wilson is, basically, an athletic Tom Brady from the Patriots’ first three title runs: His team is powered by defense and running the ball, and the quarterback has to be special when needed.

One thing I feel fairly confident in saying: This should be a low-scoring Super Bowl. Unless there are special team scores or the game goes to overtime, this game should be played largely in the teens, like the Patriots’ two Super Bowl losses to the Giants (17-14 and 21-17, respectively). The matchup between the Patriots and Seahawks could be the lowest-scoring Super Bowl since 1973, when the undefeated Dolphins beat Washington 14-7 in Super Bowl VII.

Before the season, I predicted a Super Bowl score of Seattle 13, New England 10. I still believe we’ll see a score somewhere in that area. But I’m going to go against the grain and switch my pick to the Patriots.

Here’s why.

For starters, when I picked the Seahawks before the season started, they had Percy Harvin. The added dynamic he brought to the offense was on full display in the opener against the Packers. The Seahawks now are a bit limited on offense. Harvin widened the field for the entire offense and allowed them to “steal” about six marginally big plays a game. When he was traded to the Jets on Oct. 17 to save team chemistry, it was an apparently necessary move, but there’s little doubt it took away a weapon offensively. So did the injury to talented young receiver Paul Richardson.

The Seahawks also had nosetackle Brandon Mebane and three-technique Jordan Hill. Certainly, Kevin Williams has done a good job replacing the underrated Mebane, and Tony McDaniel is a solid player, but the Seahawks are razor thin at defensive tackle. Former 49ers castoff DeMarcus Dobbs and former Patriots part-timer Landon Cohen are getting meaningful snaps. As opposed to last year’s Super Bowl winner, which had Mebane, McDaniel, Red Bryant and Clinton McDonald (Bryant and McDonald left via free agency), this group can be taken advantage of by an opponent who is disciplined enough to continually run the ball.

And I think the Patriots, who have only lost linebacker Jerod Mayo (ably replaced by Dont’a Hightower) and running back Stevan Ridley (LeGarrette Blount), will do that. They also will be smart enough to take advantage of whomever Seahawks nickelback Jeremy Lane is lined up on, whether that be Julian Edelman or Danny Amendola. Look for the Patriots to also spread Gronkowski out wide not only to try to win against top Seattle cornerbacks Richard Sherman and Byron Maxwell, but also to work advantageous matchups against Lane.

But the key will be the interior running of LeGarrette Blount, who in the AFC Championship Game had one of his finest games as a Patriot because he showed more vision and agility. His power can match or win against Seattle’s excellent defensive speed. Chip Kelly once said, “We want taller, longer people because bigger people beat up little people.” I expect the Patriots to endorse that philosophy with many extra tight end sets, including tackle eligible Cameron Fleming.

This is all well and good, but the Patriots still have to execute against the most dangerous player in this game: Seahawks end/tackle Michael Bennett. If there’s anyone on the Seahawks who can ruin another Patriots’ Super Bowl like Justin Tuck did twice for the Giants, it’s Bennett. He will find advantageous matchups against both Patriots guards (Dan Connolly and Ryan Wendell). If the Patriots don’t account for Bennett on every play, they will be in trouble offensively.

And I don’t expect the Patriots to be very effective offensively unless they can get some short fields with turnovers. If offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels thinks he can spread the Seahawks out and throw against them, good luck. The Patriots, with both their running and their passing game, are a scheme offense. They don’t have anyone outside of Gronkowski who can break the game open, so they use motion, personnel, formations and Tom Brady’s pre-snap adjustments to get guys open. That’s fine against most of the other 30 teams, but it won’t work against the Seahawks. They are the anti-Patriots. There’s nothing fancy about their defensive scheme. They’ll line up in either Cover 3 (deep safety and two deep cornerbacks) or Cover 1 (one deep safety on top of press man coverage) and basically say, “You go ahead and do all those motions and substitutions, we’ll be here waiting for you every snap.” Seattle’s defense is the only unit in the NFL that can do that against a quarterback as good as Brady, because the Seahawks are that talented on defense. They are better than the opponent at almost every spot.

The Super Bowl matchup will hinge on the Seattle offense against the New England defense, and this is why I’m giving the Patriots the edge. They are probably the most disciplined unit in the NFL, maybe more so than Seattle. They will limit Marshawn Lynch’s effectiveness, even if Seattle uses more read-option (as I expect them to), and they will stay in their rush lanes to keep Russell Wilson in the pocket. Patriots ends Chandler Jones and Rob Ninkovich occasionally will give up the end to mobile quarterbacks. But that’s during the regular season. With two weeks to prepare for this game, I have a hard time seeing them doing that Sunday since Bill Belichick surely has been harping on it 24 hours a day. Plus, they should hold a decided advantage against the run and pass versus Seahawks tackles Russell Okung and Justin Britt. Vince Wilfork will plug the middle and keep Wilson’s running avenues limited there as well.

In the pass game, expect Darrelle Revis to shadow Seattle’s best in Doug Baldwin. New England knows Seattle will target the weaknesses of former Seahawks cornerback Brandon Browner, so I would expect Belichick to put Browner on tight end Luke Willson, who has developed into a solid receiving tight end. That leaves Seahawks receivers Jermaine Kearse and Ricardo Lockette against Patriots corners Kyle Arrington and Logan Ryan. This is where Wilson must do most of his damage, and the key for Seattle offensively.

But the Patriots can do what the Packers did by limiting Wilson and Lynch during much of the NFC Championship Game. This Patriots unit is better than the Packers, and New England has the mental toughness and situational awareness not to let the game slip away as Green Bay did.

It’s going to be a great Super Bowl matchup that features the two best teams and coaches in the game. In the end, I’m giving a slight edge to the Patriots.

Final score: Patriots 16, Seahawks 13.

This article originally appeared on SI.com.

TIME Football

See All 48 Super Bowl Rings

Over the years, the National Football League's championship rings have gone from glitzy to extravagant.

MONEY Sports

Not Going to the Super Bowl? That’ll Cost You $75

The National Retail Federation estimates the average person not going to the game will spend an average of more than $75 on clothes, food and even a new TV.

TIME Innovation

Five Best Ideas of the Day: January 30

The Aspen Institute is an educational and policy studies organization based in Washington, D.C.

1. What if football helmet safety ratings are measuring the wrong hits?

By Bryan Gruley in Bloomberg Business

2. If France wants fewer radicalized Muslims, it must clean up its prisons.

By Michael Birnbaum in the Washington Post

3. They 3D-printed a car.

By Umair Irfan in Scientific American

4. The low price of meat doesn’t reflect its true cost.

By the New Scientist

5. Lesser-known cities and young architects are perfect for each other.

By Amanda Kolson Hurley in CityLab

The Aspen Institute is an educational and policy studies organization based in Washington, D.C.

TIME Ideas hosts the world's leading voices, providing commentary and expertise on the most compelling events in news, society, and culture. We welcome outside contributions. To submit a piece, email ideas@time.com.

TIME Super Bowl

How Science Could Determine Who Wins the Super Bowl

A football science expert on how coaches can minimize randomness and take risks

Consider the fumble. Unlike a basketball, soccer ball or baseball, a football will never fall the same way twice. Its cone shape causes it to bounce in random directions, and every time the ball is fumbled, players must dive on top of where they think it might be going in an attempt to recover it. It’s the most exciting part of the game—and, it turns out, perhaps the most important.

The reason we call a football a pigskin is because the balls were originally made from a pig’s bladder. Those balls were about the same size as today’s but were not as pointy on the ends. The balls only began to take their modern shape—what’s known as a prolate spheroid—after the forward pass was introduced, because it’s easier to throw a pointier ball, even though’s harder to predict what will happen to it when it hits the ground.

“These guys are gladiators, the best specimen of humans that we have, but when it comes to the ball being dropped, they’re reduced to kindergartners because they just throw themselves on top of it. That’s the best you can do in terms of recovering this ball,” says Ainissa Ramirez, and scientist and author of the book Newton’s Football: The Science Behind America’s Game.

MORE How Digital Footballs Could Have Saved Us From Deflategate

It’s a problem for coaches in a game where so much of the play is precise. “Randomness, which is part of this bigger field called chaos theory, is sort of one of the last ways coaches have to beat another team,” says Ramirez. “We studied two different teams that looked pretty much the same on paper, but they had different performances when it came to recovering fumbles. One team did better than the other, and its performance that year was better than the other.”

This attempt to control randomness has become particularly important during the Deflategate debate leading up to Super Bowl Sunday. Since 2000, teams that have won the turnover scramble won 79% of their games. Warren Sharp at Slate argues that statistics suggest the Patriots—who allegedly used under-inflated balls in the AFC Championship game that clinched their trip to the Super Bowl—have been trying to eliminate fumbles and therefore win more games by deflating balls. He points out that the Patriots have been nearly fumble-free since 2006 and probably not because of any new carrying strategy—players who left New England had drastically worse individual fumble rates after their departure.

Without cheating, there’s no real skill that goes into recovering the ball. It depends on luck. So what else can coaches do to win games? One suggestion might be combatting their biological instincts.

Why, for example, don’t coaches go for it on a fourth down? It’s a question Ramirez gets a lot, and the the answer, she says, actually has to do with monkeys.

She describes one experiment in which scientists taught monkeys how to exchange money for grapes. The monkeys interacted with two people: A generous person and a stingy person. The generous person would show the monkeys one grape; the monkeys would give them money; and the generous person would give them two grapes. The stingy person would show the monkeys three grapes; the monkeys would give them money; and the stingy person would give them two grapes. “In both cases, the monkey got two grapes, but the monkey didn’t like the stingy person at all,” says Ramirez. “They actually quantified this: The monkeys hated the stingy person by 2.5 times.”

MORE The Simple Way to Make Football Safer

Humans have the same instinct: Our dislike of risk is 2.5 times greater than our appreciation of a benefit. “So coaches don’t want to go for it on the fourth down because their sensitivity to risk is higher than the benefits of actually going for it,” says Ramirez.

Whatever coach can find (legal) ways to recover fumbles and teach himself to bet against his instincts during the Super Bowl will likely win.

 

MONEY Sports

The Super-Size Numbers Surrounding the Super Bowl

How many wings will we eat this Sunday? Who's watching just for the commercials? How much money have people bet illegally on this game?

Click through the gallery for answers to all of the above, as well as other fun facts about what people are eating, drinking, and spending come Sunday.

 

  • $30 Million

    Fans outside the University of Phoenix Stadium before the 2015 Pro Bowl at University of Phoenix Stadium on January 25, 2015 in Glendale, Arizona.
    Christian Petersen—Getty Images

    The amount Arizona will spend to host Super Bowl XVIX. That figure is low, though, compared with the $50 million San Francisco, the host for next year’s Super Bowl, estimates it will need to spend. Last year’s hosts, New Jersey and New York, spent $70 million.

  • 36%

    Seattle Seahawks' Chris Matthews (13) and DeShawn Shead celebrate after overtime of the NFL football NFC Championship game against the Green Bay Packers Sunday, Jan. 18, 2015, in Seattle.
    Elaine Thompson—AP

    Proportion of Americans rooting for the Seattle Seahawks to win the game. The Patriots hold only a little less of the public’s support, with 31% rooting for them, but more people (33%) simply don’t care who wins, the Emerson College Polling Society found.

  • $119.95

    New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady's jersey on the rack at the Olympia Sports store. The Patriots will face the Seattle Seahawks in Super Bowl XLIX on Sunday, Feb. 1, 2015, in Glendale, Ariz.
    Charles Krupa—AP

    The price of a New England Patriots’ jersey bearing star quarterback Tom Brady‘s name. A similar jersey for Seahawks’ quarterback Russell Wilson sells for $20 less on NFLshop.com.

  • 158 Million

    150129_EM_SBNumbers_Avocados
    Getty Images—Getty Images

    The number of avocados Americans will consume around the championship game. After all, when you’re eating 11 million pounds of chips, you need a lot of guacamole. Don’t forget those beloved chicken wings: We’ll order up 1.23 billion of them on game day. And how will we wash all this food down? With 325 million gallons of beer, of course.

  • 2,400

    table of high calorie fast foods
    fStop Images—Alamy

    The number of calories in the snacks the average person will consume during the game. That makes this Sunday the second biggest day for gluttony after Thanksgiving, according to the Calorie Control Council.

  • $3.8 Billion

    Super Bowl proposition bets are displayed on a board at the Westgate Superbook race and sports book Tuesday, Jan. 27, 2015, in Las Vegas.
    John Locher—AP

    The worth of all illegal bets the American Gaming Association expects to be made on this year’s game. That figure is 38 times greater than the $100 million that will be bet legally.

  • $4.5 Million

    Bud Light 90-second "Coin" Super Bowl Commercial
    Bud Light 90-second "Coin" Super Bowl Commercial Anheuser-Busch

    Cost of 30 seconds of air time during the Super Bowl, up $500,000 from 2014. Another big change: More of this year’s commercials will be paid for by companies you’ve never heard of. But no matter who is behind the ads, only 5% of people find them bothersome. The vast majority of viewers, 77%, find them entertaining.

  • 111.5 Million

    Denver Broncos fans watch their team play the Seahawks during the first half of the Super Bowl, inside Jackson's, a sports bar and grill in Denver.
    Denver Broncos fans watch their team play the Seahawks during the first half of the Super Bowl, inside Jackson's, a sports bar and grill in Denver. Brennan Linsley—AP

    The record-breaking number of people who tuned into last year’s game, when the Seahawks defeated the Denver Broncos. About seven out of 10 households watched, according to Nielsen.

  • 19%

    Victoria's Secret Super Bowl advertisement featuring Victoria’s Secret Angels playing football
    Michael Seto

    The percentage of people who say that the commercials are the most important part of the Super Bowl. Another 9% tune in for the halftime show, while 12% value getting together with friends. Only 36% of people said the actual game was most important. The remaining 24% planned to skip the game all together, the National Retail Federation reports.

  • 25.3 Million

    150129_EM_SBNumbers_TweetsSent
    Kacper Pempel—Reuters

    Tweets sent out during the course of last year’s game by the 5.6 million people who logged on to share their thoughts, according to Nielsen.

  • 26%

    150129_EM_SBNumbers_SBParty
    Lund-Diephuis—Getty Images

    Proportion of people who plan to attend a Super Bowl party this Sunday. Another 18% will host their own parties.

  • $78

    refrigerator of beer
    Simon Battensby—Getty Images

    Average amount people who will watch the Super Bowl plan to spend on food, beverages, and team merchandise, up from $68 last year, according to the NRF.

  • $69,241,725

    New England Patriots players warm up during practice Wednesday, Jan. 28, 2015, in Tempe, Ariz. The Patriots play the Seattle Seahawks in NFL football Super Bowl XLIX Sunday, Feb. 1, in Glendale, Ariz.150129_EM_SBNumbers_Payroll
    New England Patriots players warm up during practice Wednesday, Jan. 28, 2015, in Tempe, Ariz. Mark Humphrey—AP

    Payroll total for the Seattle Seahawks this year. The Patriots “only” spent $53,952,046 on salaries this year.

  • 26%

    goalposts with light flare from sun
    iStock

    Percentage of people who say that God plays a role in determining the outcome of a game, the Public Religion Research Institute found.

  • $92,000

    Superbowl Ring
    Elaine Thompson—AP

    The salary bonus each player on the winning team received last year, because, you know, a diamond-encrusted title ring and lifetime bragging rights aren’t enough. Players on the losing team got a $46,000 consolation bonus, Sports Illustrated reported.

  • $7,114

    A general view of the exterior of MetLife Stadium as a fan holds his Super Bowl XLVIII ticket prior to the Super Bowl XLVIII game between the Seattle Seahawks against the Denver Broncos in East Rutherford, New Jersey on Sunday, February 2, 2014. The Seahawks defeated the Broncos 43-8.
    Scott Boehm—AP

    Price of the cheapest Super Bowl ticket on secondary market ticket sale site TiqIQ as of Thursday afternoon.

  • Watch Now

TIME NFL

How the NFL Convinced Michael Jackson to Perform in the 1993 Super Bowl Halftime Show

The league was eventually able to make a convincing argument

Michael Jackson gave one of the most memorable Super Bowl halftime show performances when he rocked the stage in 1993.

But it wasn’t easy for the NFL to convince a star like the King of Pop to perform in the middle of a sporting event back then. As this Austin Murphy story about how halftime became “The Halftime Show” details, the league was eventually able to make a convincing argument to Jackson:

For a month they got nowhere. (The NFL’s Jim) Steeg sat down with the King of Pop’s manager, Sandy Gallin, 11 months before Super Bowl XXVII. “I remember pitching them,” he says, “and them not really having a clue what we were talking about.” At a subsequent meeting, producer Don Mischer pointed out that the Super Bowl would be broadcast in more than 120 countries. Now he had Jackson’s full attention.

Steeg recalls Jackson saying, “So you’re telling me that this show is going live to all those places where I’ll never do a concert?” A pause. “I’m in.”

“Michael worked harder than anybody [who’s done the halftime show], before or since,” says Steeg, who remembers seeing Jackson still rehearsing his act at seven the night before the game, in a tent outside the Rose Bowl.

And it showed. Jackson, rocking a bandolier-draped frock coat on loan, apparently, from Muammar Gaddafi, was sensational. The final moments of that show were the most viewed in the history of television at the time.

You can read more about Jackson and all the other star-studded performances here.

This article originally appeared on SI.com.

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