9 Predictions for This Year's Super Bowl Broadcast

Prediction 4 A player or Coach's mind-numbingly boring back-story will be reported to death.

Analysis: This is typically accomplished via slickly made pre-game propaganda, usually involving the player/coach, teeth clenched against the wind and eyes moist with stoic slow-mo determination, repeatedly saying that his team never gave up despite a ridiculously sentimental montage of personal tragedy and overwhelming odds. For best results cram in a flag, an eagle soaring over mountain tops, a shot of the coach greeting a sunrise with bravery, and if possible a wheelchair-ridden family member who never stopped believing in his brother (son/grandfather/first cousin on his mother's side).

A broad spectrum of players has received this treatment in recent years: Terrell Owens (played with an injury), Kurt Warner (bagged groceries, married an ugly woman) and Tom Brady (was born so achingly handsome that he makes Bill Belicheck question his sexuality). However, no story will ever rival Super Bowl XL's "Jerome Bettis Goes Home to Detroit," which was mentioned on ESPN every 30 seconds for the entire week leading up to the game.

Odds There Will Be Another "Bettis Homecoming" in Super Bowl XLI: 23:1

For the media, this story represented what alcoholics refer to as "rock bottom." However, there's an outside chance that the whole "Tony Dungy and Lovie Smith are friends!!!!!" angle might just get there.

Prediction 5 One player will be turned into a villain.

Analysis: On the other side of that coin, because the media can't resist turning the Super Bowl into a morality play, and because every morality play needs a bad guy, it's a safe bet some poor sap will get handed the role of villain around Super Bowl time. And since the media is a deceitful, morally corrupt enterprise that drowns kittens with leukemia, they won't come right out and call him an asshole. Instead, they'll call him "divisive" and "controversial" over out-of-context slow motion clips of him acting like an asshole while something melodramatically operatic plays in the background. (Optional: rolling thunder, lightning striking, cackling "Moo hoo ha ha ha" maniacally while steepling fingers.)

Past examples to look at when picking this year's villain: Owens (because it's actually hard to find footage of him not acting like an asshole); Ray Lewis (because, um?c well, he stabbed someone); and Mike Martz (because he wears glasses and has suspiciously thick hair). Our pick for this year has to be Tank Johnson, because of his arrest this season and because his name is Tank.

Prediction 6 A scandal will be downplayed by a puzzlingly attractive sideline reporter. (We're looking at you, Pam Oliver.)

Analysis: The "Super Bowl Villain" character shouldn't be confused with the "Super Bowl Scandal Maker"—namely, some poor asshole who'll do something hilariously stupid or embarrassing but usually both about a week before the game. Sideline reporters will treat this moron like he's just been diagnosed with lung cancer while gravely reporting that the whole team is standing behind him in the face of allegations that he propositioned an undercover cop for a blowjob. In a daycare center. At gunpoint.

Two Facts to Keep in Mind When Handicapping Whether There Will Be an XLI Scandal: First, this year's Super Bowl is in Miami. Second, 97 percent of NFL players believe that Scarface is an instructional video. This should be fun.

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