Super Bowl vs. Olympics: Let the games begin! (But let the Broncos win!)
Sparkling water with citrus essence? Check.
Sunday afternoon Super Bowl lounging and party plan? Ready.
DVR set so you can work out Thursday evening and not miss a minute of the Sochi Winter Olympics’ Opening Ceremonies? Better do that.
Orange and blue jersey? Yes. Red, white and blue shirt? Yes.
Getting ready for next week’s two big sporting events could be an event in its own right, as the Super Bowl and the Winter Olympics have very different vibes. But neither experience should be missed.
Enjoy them both, but don’t mix up which beverage goes with which event.
Super Bowl XLVIII
4:25 p.m. Sunday
Denver Broncos vs Seattle Seahawks
WHERE TO WATCH
NICKNAMES AND SLOGANS
The Pot Bowl, The Stoner Bowl (Colorado and Washington both legalized recreational use of marijuana.)
The Big Game
n Peyton Manning is easily the big name of this Super Bowl.
n John Elway is going to his sixth Super Bowl — five times as a Broncos quarterback and this year as an executive.
n Minnesota connection: Broncos wide receiver Eric Decker grew up about three hours south of Bemidji in Cold Spring, Minn., and attended the University of Minnesota. The team mascot was the Golden Gophers.
n Coach John Fox is taking his second team to the Super Bowl. He took the NFC’s Carolina Panthers to the Super Bowl at the end of the 2003 season. This year, he brings the AFC Champion Broncos to the big game.
n This is the first Super Bowl for every current Seahawks player.
n The Broncos and Seahawks each have an active roster of 53 athletes, so 106 players will dress for Sunday’s Super Bowl. But who knows who will have more fans in the stands or more fans rooting at home?
MASCOTS AND SYMBOLS
If there is one symbol for the Super Bowl, it would have to be the metallic 22-inch-tall Vince Lombardi Trophy.
The Broncos have two mascots. First, there’s Thunder (actually it’s Thunder II, but who’s counting), an Arabian gelding that takes a tour of Sports Authority Field at Mile High after each touchdown. He’ll be at the Super Bowl.
Second, there’s Miles, a white horse mascot with a large equine smile and bright orange mane and tail.
Blitz, a large blue bird, is the Seattle Seahawks mascot. Behind the beak, though is Ryan Asdourian, who works at Microsoft.
Paint one side of the face bright orange, the other bright blue (or blue and lime green if you’re of the Seahawk persuasion).
Heck, why stop at the face? Paint your chest! Your back! Down your arms! It will keep you warm in a freezing MetLife Stadium!
If you want a ticket to the big game, you will have to pay $1,775 to more than $25,000, depending on where you want to sit.
(For those who are curious, a flight from Grand Junction to Newark (traveling Feb. 1–3) cost at least $660. Hotel was at least $150 a night, likely more.)
Entertainment for the Super Bowl halftime is a big, big deal in anticipation if not always execution. Performers are announced months in advance, bombast and jazz-handing cadres of dancers are a given and it’s Spectacle with a capital S.
This year, the main performers are Bruno Mars, a recent Grammy winner who feels like he’s been locked out of heaven, and the Red Hot Chili Peppers, Californicating rock veterans known for wearing strategic socks on stage.
For the spectators: Anything that will fit on a tortilla chip or can be speared with a toothpick. So, cheez-spelled-with-a-Z (because it never knew a cow), chicken wings, tiny sausages and meatballs and the entire world of dips.
Plus, should spectators make the great effort of employing both hands, po’boys, sloppy joes, subs, cupcakes frosted in team colors, sheet cake frosted like a football field…
Beer. Beer. Beer.
Nike is the official uniform designer of all NFL jerseys, including the uniforms worn during the Super Bowl.
The Denver Broncos will be the home team in orange jerseys and white pants with hints of navy blue. Seattle will wear white jerseys and blue pants with hints of super classy neon green.
New Era and ‘47 Brand designed the official headwear for the teams.
And players and fans likely will be wearing plenty of layers for Sunday’s game at MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, N.J., which, interestingly enough, is on a very similar latitudinal line to Sochi, Russia.
SOCHI WINTER OLYMPICS
(The first events are Feb. 6, but the opening ceremonies are Feb. 7)
WHERE TO WATCH
NBC stations. Go to nbcolympics.com for full schedule information.
NICKNAMES AND SLOGANS
Hot. Cool. Yours.
n American snowboarder Shaun White or skier Bode Miller ARE arguably the two of the most recognizable names in their respective sports.
n This is the sixth Olympics for Nordic combined skier Todd Lodwick of Steamboat Springs.
n Minnesota connection: Curler Trevor Andrews is a pre-dental student at Bemidji State University in Bemidji, Minn. He will be “Gopher-ing Gold” in Sochi. Get it? HA!
n U.S. bobsledders Lolo Jones and Lauryn Williams are Olympic cross overs. Both are previous track athletes in the Summer Olympics and are making their Winter Olympic debuts.
n This is the first Olympics for six new events to the winter schedule: the ski halfpipe, women’s ski jumping, biathlon mixed relay, a figure skating team event and the luge relay.
n Team USA with 230 members is the largest athlete delegation for any nation in Winter Games history, according to teamusa.org. There’s no medal for that.
MASCOTS AND SYMBOLS
The Olympic Torch and flame are carried from game to game and are an enduring symbol of the Olympics. For the Sochi games, the outside of the torch has a chrome look with a cut-out center that is red. It’s shape is a reminder of the legendary bird, the Phoenix, according to torchrelay.sochi2014.com/en/our-torch.
And the five interlocking rings in shades of blue, yellow, black, green and red on a white field are the instantly recognizable symbol of the Olympics. It was designed by Baron Pierre de Coubertin in 1912.
For the Sochi Winter Olympics, there are three mascots: the polar bear, a bobsledder raised by Arctic explorers; the snow leopard, a snowboarder that loves to dance; and the hare, who likes sports and helps out at her family’s restaurant.
Go to talisman.sochi2014.com/en/#/ to learn about these mascots.
A small, tasteful U.S. flag on one facial cheek, the Olympic rings on the other. That’s enough, thank you.
If you thought attending the Super Bowl was pricey, then consider the bundle you could drop to see events in Sochi.
A ticket to the opening ceremonies costs $793, $1,138 or $1,828, depending on where you want to sit. A ticket to a preliminary round of the men’s ice hockey tournament, USA vs Slovakia on Feb. 13, costs $103, $166 or $290 at cosport.com, a authentic Sochi Olympic ticket retailer for the United States.
Ticket were sold out at cosport.com to the men’s and women’s downhill ski events, so we settled for the Super-G on Feb. 15–16: $186 each. Most of the figure skating events also were sold out, but a ticket to the Gala Exhibition on Feb. 22 was available for $331 or $579. For the Closing Ceremonies on Feb. 23, only two ticket types still were available and cost $497 or $793.
To attend just those events, you’re looking at paying a total of more than $2,000.
We’re not even going to attempt to figure out how much airfare, accommodations, transportation, various fees, food and sightseeing costs might be. (But even at this late date you actually might be able to find a flight to Moscow for around $1,100, then take a train or another flight to Sochi. Direct to Sochi through Germany is closer to $5,000.)
The Olympics opening ceremonies are a time for eye-popping extravaganza (see: Beijing’s 2008, 14,000-performers, $100-million blow-out). Plans for the Sochi opening ceremonies have remained cloaked in mystery. Unsubstantiated reports claim 3,000 performers from around Russia are practicing for the event.
Whether it will echo London 2012’s opening ceremonies — which highlighted the UK’s history, health care system, literature and famous performers — remains to be seen, though a re-enactment of Anna Karenina tossing herself in front of a train might be a little bleak.
Oh, it might be easy to joke about chowing down on a blini or pirozhki, or guzzling bowls of borscht and okroshka, but the Olympics rarely ever end up being about the cuisine of the host land.
No, what the Olympics and Olympic athletes inspire is the eating of dressing-free salads and lean protein. They’re just so fit! So pink-cheeked and hale!
For some reason, it’s OK to drink beer and gorge on sausage and fake cheese during the Super Bowl (perhaps the existence of linemen makes it OK?), but not the Olympics. The Olympics are for leafy greens and master cleanses.
American Ralph Lauren once again designed Team USA’s uniforms for the Opening Ceremonies on Feb. 6.
From the waist down, the uniform’s light-colored fleece pants with 2014 and the American flag printed on the lower right leg (available for $165) and leather boots that are a cross between a Doc Marten and a cross country ski boot ($395) seem very aprés ski and cozy.
From the waist up, however, the uniform has received mixed reviews.
The $595 cardigan with stars, stripes, flags and rings placed randomly everywhere gives the piece a sort of Christmas sweater feel.
The Team USA wool hat reads “USA 2014” and includes red reindeer.
Keep in mind, this uniform — albeit it much more expensive than a Nike replica Peyton Manning jersey at $119.95 — was designed and manufactured entirely in the United States and from certain angles is totally chic and cool. (For example, if you cover up all of the cardigan except for the stars and stripes on the right sleeve and pretended the rest is solid navy, it’s great.)
Other items designed for the ceremony uniform and for sale at ralphlauren.com include a $245 pretty basic turtleneck with a small patch bearing the official logo of the U.S. Olympic Team on the right arm and a peacoat for $795.