The Super Bowl is nothing if not a spectacle, and it is the greatest spectacle in American sports. An entire week's worth of events leads up to the game on Sunday, with analysis of play on the field taking a backseat to interesting storylines, can't-miss narratives, and controversial comments. The players and coaches are thrown in front of the media time and time again, elevating the potential for a slip-up or misstep. None of it really matters by game time, but the demand for coverage is so great, that every angle must be unearthed.
The Ravens and 49ers will be put through the week-long media ringer this time, the price that comes with a trip to the country's biggest television event. There is potential for some excellent moments, with personalities like Ray Lewis, Ed Reed, and Jim Harbaugh stepping in front of the microphones. There are always some surprise stars as well, as players who would normally be a media afterthought are given the spotlight.
To allow all this to take place, the teams run on a different schedule than usual. Instead of flying into town the night before or day of the game, they will head to New Orleans a week before the Feb. 3 championship. The 49ers will make the trek on Sunday night, with Baltimore arriving on Monday afternoon. This will allow the players and coaches at least a few moments to gather their thoughts about the action on the field before they are asked about any and all topics during the week.
One of the more interesting events of the week may be a joint press conference between the two head coaches, John and Jim Harbaugh, on Friday. No word yet on if Jim will be handing out a "noogie" or if John will dive in for a "purple nurple."
The events kick off on Tuesday, as they always do, with media day. Throngs of reporters will gather around players and coaches huddled in little booths, each looking for that quote that will create the next best Super Bowl story (Protip: They all here the same thing, none of their stories will be original).
Wednesday through the rest of the week will consist of more official events, as well as many unofficial events. The latter is where more than a few players have found trouble leading up to Super Bowl Sunday. New Orleans provides plenty of opportunity for vice, and that is just part of the circus surrounding the game.
With all the ramped up media coverage, is it possible that the game action is actually different? Are there more challenges placed in front of the players as they work to move the ball down the field? Is it arcade style, where they are bonuses and hot spots that allow the players to run faster or jump higher? Are there jetpacks?
No? There should be. There really should be. Especially the jetpacks.
Super Bowl XLVII Schedule (all times ET):
Tues., Jan. 29: 9:30 a.m. -- Media Day.
Wed., Jan. 30-Sun., Feb. 3: 11 a.m.-7 p.m. -- Super Bowl XLVII Media Center Bridgestone Fan Gallery.
Thurs., Jan. 31: 6 p.m.-9 p.m. -- Legends for Charity dinner.
Sat., Feb. 2: 9 a.m.-2 p.m. -- New Orleans is hosting the Super Saturday of Service
Sun., Feb 3: 6:25 p.m. -- Super Bowl XLVII (kickoff 6:30 p.m., approx.)
For a complete list of Super Bowl festivities, check out the official site of the Super Bowl.