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  • Writer's pictureDan Russoman

The big game is more about the hype than the action


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Sunday is the big day for many people across Hammonton and the rest of the country, as the Kansas City Chiefs will look to repeat as Super Bowl champions when they take on the San Francisco 49ers in this year’s NFL title game.


Those who pay attention to any type of media, from local hometown newspapers to local and cable television networks, radio stations and online sources have been and will continue to be bombarded with storied information regarding the big game.


There are perhaps no events nationally that can compare to the Super Bowl. The National Football League’s signature event has become an unofficial holiday, so much so that many feel they should be given the Monday following it off from work.


I won’t advocate that, after all it’s just another game as far as I’m concerned, mostly because as is the case in most years, I have no real stake in who wins or loses.


Gamblers are obsessed with the big game, even more so these days when we’re constantly assaulted by ads that celebrate online betting sites that are quick to bait people into parting ways with their hard-earned money so they can get a line on who’s favored to make the first tackle or score a touchdown.


There was a time, and people my age may remember it, when the focus was on the game not all the hoopla surrounding it.


Sure, there will and have already been stories on the players and coaches, what they’ve overcome and how they’re approaching the biggest game of their lives. Many of those stories are interesting, but they’ve also been rehashed far too many times. I mean, who doesn’t know all there is to know about Kansas City Chiefs Coach Andy Reid or quarterback Patrick Mahomes?


Speaking of Mahomes, can we go 10 minutes without a commercial he’s in? Do Mahomes and teammate Travis Kelce turn down anyone’s sponsorship offer?


As for Kelce, expect a huge dose of him as his relationship with singer Taylor Swift has made him a media darling.


The talking heads, both sportscasters and other personalities, can’t get enough of Kelce and Swift, and I’m sure their every move this week is being documented for what will surely be about an hour of coverage on every network’s pregame shows.


Those shows, which depending on the network, run anywhere from four to eight hours, cover every possible angle and story.


I’m sure we’ll watch how they paint the logos on the field. Can’t wait for the in depth report on the guy who fills the Gatorade bottles or the people who put the trainer’s tent up on the sidelines.


Who are the folks who raise the nets behind the goal posts for field goals and extra points? We’ll probably know by Monday morning.


And the analysis. I continue to be amazed at how little former players actually know about the game. But then, it’s hard for anyone to literally break down every play of the season in detail. And who really cares? I get it, Mahomes can accurately throw a football. I kind of expect that from someone who’s maybe done it a million times in his life.


And fans eat it up. They enjoy watching analysts break down film of linebackers shooting the A-gap or how Brock Purdy likes to check down when opposing defenses take away the deep cross. Maybe you want to know how to read play action before the snap. I’m sure some former player can break it all down for you.


Then there will be the endless debates on where current players rank against all-time greats. If Mahomes wins this year, will his third championship elevate him above Hall of Famers like John Elway or Joe Montana?


If San Francisco wins, will it be because Purdy managed the game well or does the former last pick in the draft deserve to be called an elite quarterback?


It’s all too much—and I haven’t even gotten into the halftime show.


Lost somewhere in all the stories, analysis, celebrities and million-dollar advertisements will be the actual game, which could be a good one.


Kansas City comes in with perhaps the worst of its recent Super Bowl teams and will face a much more talented San Francisco squad seeking to validate many of its players and coach Kyle Shanahan, long considered one of the best coaches in the league without a championship ring.


Who will win? I’ll take the Niners in a close battle.


Dan Russoman is the news/sports editor of The Gazette. Follow Russoman on X @DanRussoman.

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