NBC is a definite must-see on Sunday for Super Bowl, Olympics

Steve Brownlee

This is going to be a rather odd Super Bowl Sunday on TV.

Specifically on WLUC-TV6, since its NBC network will have a full day — as in about 20 to 22 hours — of the Big Game (big enough for me to capitalize it) and the Beijing Winter Olympics.

So in observance of that, I’m going to forgo my usual Super Bowl Armchair Quarterback column about all the oddball prop bets that are offered and try to give you a reasonably informative guide on how to approach the day. This is all according to a quite lengthy Associated Press story, I emphasize quite lengthy.

And this is only about the TV part of your day; you’ll have to decide when you make the turkey dinner for family or nachos and deep-fried pickles for friends at your viewing party.

First off, NBC volunteered to take on this monumental task of doing a Super Bowl in the middle of its three-week Olympic odyssey.

A couple years ago, NBC and CBS agreed to switch their Super Bowl years so CBS could avoid a ratings fight between the Super Bowl and Winter Olympics. This apparently is the first time the Super Bowl has been played during an Olympics as the Super Bowl was always early enough in the past to avoid the two big events from clashing.

If you’re really more interested in the Olympics, check out NBC sister station USA as they’ll have almost nonstop events on (as you may have already noticed), along with CNBC apparently being the network of curling (really) and Canadian network CBC going almost as wall-to-wall as USA.

NBC begins showing Olympics at 8 a.m. on Super Sunday until noon, when the hour-long NFL Films’ “Road to the Super Bowl” will be shown. Apparently this is the 41st annual edition of this, but where have I been? I don’t remember this specific title in the past.

Then the pregame show commences at 1 p.m., but “only” lasts 5 1/2 hours before kickoff right about 6:30 p.m. Sounds like the perfect time to prepare your eats for the actual game.

NBC hopes the game only takes a little over four hours, which may be wishful thinking with the overly long halftime show and commercials that cost just about a million dollars for every 4 1/2 to 5 seconds, according to my math at a cost of $6 million to $7 million for a 30-second ad this year.

Anyway, NBC is scheduling to get back to the Olympics at 10:45 p.m.

Wait a minute … What? Where’s the postgame show? Oh, I guess they figure you’ll flip over to the NFL Network or ESPN as soon as all the confetti hits the turf.

NBC also saved a spot for local news at midnight, so if there’s a tsunami in the Caspian Sea and one of the ex-Soviet republics you only know from the board game Risk is swamped, at least you’ll hear about it.

The Peacock network — well, that’s the nickname NBC always had, I don’t know anything about the actual new Peacock network — will trot out old hands Al Michaels and Cris Collinsworth to call their fourth Super Bowl together.

It should be interesting as Collinsworth played all eight of his seasons with the Bengals, including both of their Super Bowls in the 1980s.

NBC also has rules analyst Terry McAulay, who worked three Super Bowls as a referee, and sideline reporters Kathryn Tappen and Michele Tafoya.

The network says it had 106 TV cameras deployed at its last Super Bowl in Minneapolis four years ago, while CBS had 120 in Tampa in 2021. For comparison purposes, Super Bowl I (which didn’t get a Roman numeral till a few years after the fact) in Los Angeles on Jan. 15, 1967 — that’s almost a month earlier than this year’s game — had 11 cameras to witness Vince Lombardi’s Green Bay Packers drop Hank Stram’s Kansas City Chiefs 35-10.

NBC says it also plans a new sets of graphics, new score “bug” along with even more graphics than ever.

They’re also saying that if you’re only interested in the halftime show — seems doubtful if you got this far reading me — that you should plan to tune in about 7:40 p.m.

Personally, that’s when I’ll be making dinner and check if I like what’s on the Game Show Network and watch that until Dr. Dre, Snoop Dogg, Eminem, Mary J. Blige and Kendrick Lamar finish up. Nothing really against them; I didn’t tune in to the Rolling Stones however many years ago when they were the halftime show, either.

Well, actually that last paragraph is completely false as I realize what I’ll actually be doing that evening — I’ll be sitting at my desk in the Journal office putting Monday’s sports section together. I think I’m going to come in about an hour early, though, so I can take frequent breaks to watch the game — and some of the commercials.

From another AP story, I see that the experts expect a record 31.5 million Americans plan to bet on the game and that over $7.6 billion will be wagered. That includes “people making casual wagers with friends or relatives, entries into office pools” along with more aggressive betting with sports books. Let’s just say I’m in the first category for a few dollars.

I just hope you aren’t making any bets based on this column, since I missed both conference championship games and now have a losing record this postseason.

Despite that, I’ll give you my view on what’ll happen Sunday:


Super Bowl LVI (56), AFC No. 4 Cincinnati Bengals (13-7) vs. NFC No. 4 Los Angeles Rams (15-5), at Los Angeles SoFi Stadium, 6:30 p.m. Sunday — The obvious choice is the Rams, which with their all-star-caliber lineup they’ve been made about a four- to five-point favorite by the bookies.

I saw one item, though, saying that it’s actually Cincy that has spent far more than the Rams on free agents to beef up its lineup.

What I like about the Bengals is that their leadership seems to be younger, even though both head coaches are younger than the recently retired Tom Brady.

I figure I have nothing to lose on this game — really, nothing to gain as I’ll end up with an immensely unimpressive 6-7 record even if I get this right.

So since I think this game is a toss-up and that Cincy seems to have a matchup advantage with all its passing weapons and the Rams best set up to stop the run, I’ll take the Bengals, 29-26.


Two weeks ago — 0-2, 0 percent. Playoffs — 5-7, 42 percent.

Steve Brownlee can be reached at 906-228-2500, ext. 252. His email address is sbrownlee@miningjournal.net.


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