It’s not just about football. It’s a chance to get together with family and friends and watch a football game (even if it’s not your team on the field.) It’s ads that Americans will be talking about for years to come, the halftime show (with Katy Perry that will make you ROAR!) and who’s singing the National Anthem before the coin toss.

America will pay close attention to the game that even those casual football fans will sit down and watch. Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Year’s and the Fourth of July wrapped in one day, one big event and yes, there’s going to be food and your cousin Connie (remember her? She’s the one that weighs 120 pounds soaking wet that not just ate two bags of Double Stuff Oreos, she INHAILED them, then downed two double blue cheese burgers with bacon, chugged two 2-liter Cokes and ate an entire Oreo cheesecake solo. Did she gain any weight? HELL NO! You look at her and wonder “where in the hell did the food go?)

It’s America’s game where even the football fan without a dog in the fight still has some interest.

48 Super Bowls have been played and of those games, there’s never been a shutout or a game go into overtime and no team that has won a Super Bowl has done so in their own stadium. If you wondering about the margin of victory, 16 games have been decided by 9 points or less while 19 games had winning margins of 10 points or more. The largest margin of victory? San Francisco, in Super Bowl 24, winning by 45 over Denver. The smallest? The New York Giants against Buffalo the following year in a game that was decided with Buffalo’s David Norwood missing a field goal that would have given the Bills the win. It was also the game that featured Whitney Houston singing the National Anthem. More about that later and I wouldn’t hold my breath for that Buffalo – Minnesota matchup anytime in our lifetimes.

In case you’re wondering about getting a ticket to the big game this year, you can forget it. You have a better chance of getting the keys to the Playboy Mansion.

The breakdown for ticket distribution goes like this:
17.5% AFC champion
17.5% NFC champion
5.0% Host city team(s)
34.8% Other 29 teams (1.2% each)
25.2% NFL Office for distribution to fan lottery, NFLPA, media and other

The very first Super Bowl ticket would cost you anywhere from $12 for the good seats to $6 for the cheap seats. Start saving your pennies for next year. Last year’s ticket for a really good seat at Met Life Stadium would run you $1,500 but if you wanted to sit in the nosebleed section, it would cost you $800. Like I said, save those pennies.

At least the city that hosts the Super Bowl will get some benefit out of the game. According to the NFL as an example, Super Bowl XLI generated a total economic impact of $463 million in South Florida, based on a study by Sport Management Research Institute (SMRI). The estimate includes money visitors spent on hotels, meals, local transportation and entertainment but not game tickets. Fort Lauderdale-based SMRI estimated South Florida had 112,403 visitors for the February 4 Super Bowl and related activities.

SMRI’s Super Bowl XLI study noted:
• The average visitor spent $668.60 daily, compared with a $146-$245 daily visitor average during the rest of the year.
• Of visitors surveyed, 87 percent said their overall impression of South Florida was “very good to excellent,” and 54 percent said they had a “more favorable” impression of South Florida as a result of their attendance at the game or auxiliary events.
• The estimated value of print media exposure for South Florida was $18.4 million. That was the amount of advertising South Florida tourism and civic groups would have needed to buy for comparable exposure.
• The exposure received by South Florida during the Super Bowl game broadcast would have a value of approximately $48.53 million.
• The South Florida Super Bowl XLI Emerging Business Program registered 423 businesses and spent $18.8 million, with 218 registered businesses receiving a contract.

And let’s not forget those ads, the ones you’ll be talking about for days after the game (even the ads you despise… for me, it’s the E-Trade Baby. Sorry!) A 30-second spot in the very first Super Bowl would run you $42,000. Last year, that same 30-second ad would run you $4,500,000 or $150,000 a second. That one ad can make a company or break it and there’s no turning back.

And it wasn’t just civilians watching the game. Scores of United States Marines stayed up all night at an American military base in Kuwait to watch the Super Bowl [XXV]. The Marines, all members of the 45,000-strong 1st Marine Expeditionary Force based in Camp Pendleton, California, held up banners, smiled, laughed, sang, applauded and painted their faces. More than 5,000 Super Bowl programs were sent by the NFL overseas to the troops.

Speaking of food, On Super Bowl Sunday, Americans will eat 30 million pounds of snacks including:
• 11.2 million pounds of potato chips
• 8.2 million pounds of tortilla chips
• 4.3 million pounds of pretzels
• 3.8 million pounds of popcorn
• 2.5 million pounds of nuts
Potato chip intake alone will account for 27 billion calories and 4 million pounds of fat—the weight of 13,000 NFL offensive linemen.

According to the National Restaurant Association, 15% of Americans order takeout food from a restaurant for a Super Bowl gathering. Of those, 58% order pizza, 50% order chicken wings and 20% order subs or sandwiches.” 1,500,000—TV sets were sold the week before Super Bowl XXXIX and 3,200,000 pizzas that Pizza Hut and Domino’s were sold on Super Bowl Sunday. You might want to stock up on the Tums and Rolaids and make sure the cable/dish bill is paid up.

The Super Bowl is the biggest food-related event in America, second only to Thanksgiving. That’s not bad.

The Super Bowl not only crosses racial and religious boundaries, it also crosses gender and financial boundaries as well. It’s a game that everyone can watch at some point and time, whether you’re watching the game by yourself, in a foxhole in Afghanastan or watching in your church’s social hall after the 5 p.m. mass (just be sure to tell Father to keep the homily short). The game can be either really close or a blowout and your team may or may not make it there but if you have a pulse and you like football, the Super Bowl is for you.

So as you sit at home or at someone’s house watching the big game, remember it’s not just a game. It’s a chance to have a party and talk about it the next day.

Just be sure you have plenty of food, especially if Connie’s there. She’s a bottomless pit!