As Super Bowl Sunday nears, its size can be overwhelming. A reasonable (well, semi-reasonable) human being could spend 14 hours on the game and all its previews and post-views. This story is part of a three-piece package I'm sending to papers. This one has the basic lay-out of the day; the blog above it takes a historical look. Still coming is a casual fan's view of the game itself:
By Mike Hughes
No one said Super
Bowl Sunday would be easy.
This is a
seven-hour, 35 minute marathon ... before the kick-off. If you catch
the commercials – some paying as much as $5 million for 30 seconds
– there's little time for family, friends or bathroom breaks.
Here's a guide to
CBS' day, with all times ET:
PHASE ONE: The
-- 11 a.m.: “Before
They Were Pros.” NFL Films follows some of the current and past
stars, as they visit their home towns and high schools.
-- Noon: “Road to
the Super Bowl.” This is NFL Films' visceral portrait of the
season. It has original orchestral music ... plus the un-musical
touch of almost 100 players wired for sound.
-- 1 p.m.: “Phil
Simms All-Iron Team.” The former Super Bowl MVP talks with
sportscaster Dick Enberg, 81, and with people who symbolized eras –
Vikings coach Bud Grant and players Mike Singletary (Bears), Deion
Sanders (Cowboys and Falcons), Drew Bledsoe (Patriots) and more.
PHASE TWO: The
“If anything can
be 'a fast-paced four hours,' I think this will be,” said Sean
McManus, president of CBS Sports. He'll try to pepper the marathon
(2-6 p.m.) with short bits.
McManus talks about
musical mini-breaks and San Francisco vignettes. There will be brief
memories from Joe Namath, Russell Wilson, Jerry Rice, Emmitt Smith
and Simms, plus mini-portraits of Vince Lombardi, Bill Walsh, John
Madden, Reggie White, Doug Williams and more.
And there will be
plenty of time to talk football; James Brown, who anchors, says his
commentators range from Tony Gonzalez – who was in 14 Pro Bowls –
to Bart Scott, who was in one. An undrafted free-agent, Scott had 11
pro seasons and is “very brash, very candid,” Brown said.
And there will be
longer features; they include:
-- The usual
interview-with-the-president ... but this time done live. The idea,
Gayle King said, is to “share what it's like at the Barack and
Michelle Obama household on a big game day.” It's a key change,
said producer Chris Licht. “To the best of my knowledge, (the Super
Bowl interview) has never been done with the First Couple. And I know
Mrs. Obama generally does not do live interviews.”
-- A piece on the
six living men who have done TV play-by-play for Super Bowls. They
range from Jack Whitaker, 91, who did the first game, to Jim Nantz,
who's about to do his fourth. Others are Al Michaels, Joe Buck, Greg
Gumbel and Enberg. “It's really a great piece,” McManus said.
-- Interviews with
the duelling quarterbacks, the Denver Broncos' Peyton Manning and the
Carolina Panthers' Cam Newton, plus Panther coach Ron Rivera. Also,
Gonzalez talks with fwo former Cowboys – linebacker DeMarcus Ware
and defensive coordinatore Wade Phillips – now with the Broncos.
And Simms talks with John Elway, whom he beat 39-20 in the 1987 Super
Bowl; Elway went on to win two Super Bowls ... then, as general
manager, revived the Broncos by luring Manning.
-- Features on Pete
Rozelle (the first NFL commissioner), Joe Montana's “world's
longest touchdown pass” and Zaevion Dobson, a teen football star
who was killed as he shielded three girls from gunfire.
-- And abstract
pieces. One is a Super Bowl essay; another rewrites history, turning
the Buffalo Bills into Super Bowl winners.
PHASE THREE: The
At 6 p.m., Nantz and
Simms take over. There's music and more, with kick-off expected at
As usual, coverage
includes some new techno-tricks. McManus talks about an overhead view
with “a 360-degree look at the field, where you can rotate the view
(and) animate it.” More grounded is a plan which, he said,
“involves eight custom-made pylons with 16 different cameras with
audio ... for an unbelievable ground-level view.”
And at halftime,
Coldplay performs. The group is expected to be joined by Beyonce –
who linked with it for “Hymn for the Weekend” -- plus the Los
Angles Youth Orchestra and possibly more.
First are the usual
interviews, complete with trophy presentation. Then – CBS
optimistically says 10 p.m., but it could be 10:30 or so -- come the
-- Stephen Colbert,
live from New York. He'll have former “Saturday Night Live” stars
Tina Fey and Will Ferrell, plus Margot Robie, the Key & Peele
comedy duo and Donald Trump's non-favorite news anchor, Meghyn Kelly.
-- James Corden,
after local newscasts. He won't be live, but will have a Super Bowl
theme, parodying classic commercials and holding a tailgate part
outside the Los Angeles theater. Guests will be Zac Efron, Anna
Kendrick and Adam DeVine, plus a “Carpool Karaoke” segment with