As of this writing, the Super Bowl won't be played for a week, but the big winner has already been crowned.
No, it isn't the New England Patriots or the New York Giants. It's even bigger than that.
The big winner is: the TV network that will broadcast it this year: NBC.
I don't know if you're aware of this, but the SB stopped being a football game years ago, and became a big party Sunday, during which a football game is played.
Why? Because if it turns out that the National Football League ends up being saddled with a "blowout" game (one team ends up dominating the other as early as halftime), the "big show" guarantees a big audience. Sometimes, it's even unplanned, as was the case with the "Wardrobe Malfunction" in 2004.
Advertisers, who have to pay more money than we'll ever see to buy 30 lousy seconds of commercial time on the broadcast, have even gotten into the act. Name any other time the commercials get as much publicity as the game itself (or people actually stay seated to watch them)? Companies seem to outdo each other every year on their ads.
All of this means the Super Bowl (not counting the marathon "pre-game" show) gets the largest TV audience of the year. Several in recent years have ranked among the most-watched TV shows of all time. And this is during the cable/home video/internet/YouTube era.
All of this alone means that NBC, the network which broadcast "Bonanza" on Sunday nights in the 1960's, will get a real bonanza in the ratings. And this is the network which, according to the website Deadline: Hollywood recently had one of its shows reportedly finish eighth...in its time slot.
What may guarantee it near-record ratings are the two teams. The Giants and Patriots are East Coast teams. Ever wonder why when New York plays Boston in baseball,at least one of the games is on ESPN? the Yankees and Red Sox, and, for a time, the Knicks and Celtics, have been long-time rivals. The Patriots and Giants seem to be joining them.
In 2008, New England was on the verge of being the first 19-0 team in NFL history, and the first with an undefeated season since 1973, when the Giants scored a latetouchdown to win the Super Bowl. (If you saw the game, you know that last sentence is an understatement.) The game scored record ratings for Fox that year.
I daresay that, the way things are going, more people nationwide will watch NBC next Sunday than will watch it the rest of the year.
I do NOT think this is a problem in the Parkersburg-Marietta market, but the only problem some viewers in other parts of the country will have will be remembering which channel NBC is on.