Everyone loves to whimsically counter-program Super Bowl Sunday, whether it’s the Puppy Bowl or the Lingerie Bowl or the Random Event That You Would Think Had No Association With Football Whatsoever Bowl. We’ve always been fascinated, though, by the network itself that’s showing the game. Obviously, they’ve spent millions and millions and millions for the rights, so they have to get their money’s worth. But for a game that starts at 6:28, programming on CBS begins at noon. Are there humans who actually sit and stare at CBS for six-and-a-half hours waiting for the game?
There must be, right? We thought we’d take a look at what a theoretical viewer, feet plopped on coffee table, would be in for if their television were locked on CBS for nine … full … hours. Take a trip with us, won’t you?
The day begins with The Road to the Super Bowl, one of those NFL Films programs that will, without question, be the most entertaining show all day for football fans, being as it about actual football. We remain convinced that Steve Sabol could make curling look epic and gladiatorial. Enjoy this: It’s the last time anyone will talk about anything involving pigskin, unless it’s some sort of side dish that Rachael Ray is wrapping bacon and sprouts in.
Years ago, John Madden invented his All-Madden team, which was theoretically a way to honor the “slobber knockers in the trenches” (a term we’re pretty sure Madden copyrighted), but was pretty much just a normal old all-star team. Now that Madden is gone, others have tried to pick up the mantle, thus this Phil Simms’ All-Iron Team program. It’s not quite the same, though, when a fair-haired pretty boy quarterback picks a team of supposed Tough Guys: We’re pretty sure Phil Simms has never slobbered or frothed in a rage. By the way, those thinking Tim Tebow’s anti-abortion ad is out of the mainstream should check out the old Simms and the 1989 Giants’ pro-life ad dug up by Dan Levy at Sportingnews.com. One assumes Simms will leave this out of All-Iron Team–related programming.
The actual CBS pregame show begins, with the legendary team of Simms, James Brown, Dan Marino, Bill Cowher, Boomer Esiason … and Katie Couric. (“So, Peyton, when it comes to establishing your worldview, I was curious: What newspapers and magazines did you regularly read before you were tapped for this game to stay informed and to understand the world?”) CBS has found a new revenue source for the Super Bowl: Each hour of the pregame has a different sponsor. This 2–3 block is brought to you by Ritz. We assume that means the cracker, not the hotel.
Your sponsor is Doritos, at least until 3:30, when Monster.com takes over until 4 p.m. (We wonder: Will there be a set change? Will a representative of Monster.com show up on set to tag in?) This hour should include Cowher’s jailhouse interview with Plaxico Burress followed by — and we’re not kidding here — live performances by Daughtry and Steve Winwood. Not together.
This hour, Couric will do a live interview with President Obama, who will make jokes about the Chicago Bears and surely toss a shout-out to Pizza Hut, the hour’s sponsor. Couric will then also host a short version of the CBS Evening News, which will concern mostly Drew Brees, Haiti, and the $10 limited-time only deep-pan Meat Lover’s special. Then Andy Rooney will talk about socks. Not just his socks, specifically, but how his socks relate to all socks, in general.
This is when CBS will begin to acknowledge a real, live football game that will be starting somewhat soon. Dan Marino and Lesley Visser have the thankless job of taking the Colts’ angle, chatting with Peyton Manning and Dwight Freeney. Then CBS gets to the meaty stuff: New Orleans! How has New Orleans recovered from Hurricane Katrina? CBS Sports knows! James Brown and Shannon Sharpe will take the opportunity to get their Anderson Cooper on, sponsored by Callaway for the first half and Vizio for the second.
The game will start, at some point. But not until the Food Network’s Guy Fieri prepares the “perfect tailgate food” and Steve Winwood pops back in again.