SIDELINE SLANTS

ORIGINALLY WRITTEN JOE KLEINSASSER
Pro football is in a world of its own. The Super Bowl isn’t just a sports event. It’s a happening.

Neither rain nor sleet nor snow will keep a football game from being played, although lightning and hurricanes will force postponements.

Short of lightning or a hurricane, the game goes on. Most outdoor sports, like golf, tennis and baseball, are halted when the weather goes south, but not football. And I suppose that’s part of football’s charm.

Who hasn’t enjoyed watching a televised game played in a snowstorm? The yard lines are obliterated and players slip and slide just like 7-year-olds in a Kansas snowstorm. Is that fun or what?

We’ve watched games played on the frozen tundra in Green Bay in bitterly cold weather where the players’ breath resembled that of snorting bulls.

Granted, I’ve never understood why some so-called macho male fans bare their chests in below-freezing temperatures, because my mamma didn’t raise no fool.

The NFL grants home field advantage to teams with the best regular-season records. This year, that meant bitterly cold conference championship games in Philadelphia and Pittsburgh.

The Super Bowl, on the other hand, was played in Jacksonville, Fla. On the rare occasion the Super Bowl isn’t played in a warmer climate, it is played inside a dome.

If the NFL insists on playing conference championship games in any NFL city, why not play an occasional Super Bowl in Chicago, Denver or Kansas City?

It’s easier for me to understand why the NFL plays its All-Star fiasco, er, football game, in Hawaii. If the game was played in New York City in mid-February, the NFL might have trouble finding enough players to field two teams, although I know plenty of kids who wouldn’t mind playing in those conditions at all.

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Recently, I came across some interesting Super Bowl facts.

n It is the biggest day of the year for pizza delivery.

n It usually is the highest revenue-producing day of the year for the broadcast industry.

n National TV ads cost more than $2 million for a 30-second spot, rivaling the Academy Awards telecast for the most expensive commercials of the year.

n The Super Bowl also has given rise to myths and legends. Some of the stories that have turned out to be untrue include the following:

– More women are abused by men on Super Bowl Sunday than on any other day of the year. This story was first put forth in 1993. Although it has been widely discredited by researchers, it continues to attract attention.

Super Bowl Sunday is not significantly different for those who monitor domestic abuse hotlines and staff shelters for battered women.

– Sewage systems of major cities have broken due to the tremendous number of toilets being flushed simultaneously at halftime. This story is another urban legend. People flush during all those timeouts and commercial breaks. There’s no unmanageable half-time surge.

– Two-thirds of all avocados sold in the United States are bought within three weeks of Super Bowl Sunday. This is another myth. Sales of avocados rise around the time of the Super Bowl, but only account for about 5 percent of annual production. Sales are much greater during Cinco de Mayo celebrations.

– Super Bowl Sunday is a good time to visit Disneyland, because the park is virtually deserted. Don’t believe it. Crowds at Disneyland on Super Bowl Sunday are comparable to any other Sunday in January or February.

– Which team wins the Super Bowl is an indicator of whether the stock market will see an overall upward or downward trend throughout the year.

Supposedly, a victory by a team from the old American Football League foreshadows a down market, but a winner from the old NFL means the bulls are coming.

Don’t bet the IRA on this legend. The “Super Bowl Indicator” is pure stock-market superstition. Although the indicator has been right 29 out of 36 times, it has been wrong for the last four years.

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P.S. Football is a game where 22 big, strong players run around like crazy for three hours while 80,000 people who really need the exercise sit in the stands and watch them.

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