The biggest day on the NFL calendar is here, the virtual holiday known as Super Bowl Sunday.
This year's championship game, airing at 5:30 p.m. on Fox, pits veteran QB Peyton Manning and the Denver Broncos against controversial loudmouth Richard Sherman and the Seattle Seahawks, but the on-field fireworks may once again take a back seat to the expensive commercials and another lavish halftime show.
Bruno Mars and the Red Hot Chili Peppers, two very West Coast acts, will take the halftime stage in the cold New Jersey air. I'm sure Mars will sing "Locked Out of Heaven," because we all need to hear that song at least one more time, right? Hopefully the Chili Peppers will keep their socks on and decide against playing their famous heroin-user's lament, "Under the Bridge."
This year's most buzzworthy commercial comes from Oikos yogurt. The ad will reunite the "Full House" trio of John Stamos, Bob Saget and Dave Coulier, proving that A) Stamos is still a handsome devil, B) Saget can tone down his language long enough for a network TV commercial, and C) Coulier still has a pulse.
Other commercials to look for: a Bud Light ad with the erstwhile Governator, Arnold Schwarzenegger; Laurence Fishburne reprising his "Matrix" role of Morpheus for Kia; and a Bank of America spot containing U2's new single, "Invisible."
Make it a football weekend
If the Super Bowl alone won't satisfy your thirst for the gridiron, call an audible Friday or Saturday night and check out these entertaining options without even leaving your home:
• "Rudy," the 1993 film about real-life Notre Dame walk-on Daniel "Rudy" Ruettiger (Sean Astin), is a fine football fairy tale full of heart and stacked with great character actors: Jon Favreau. Lili Taylor. Ned Beatty. Charles S. Dutton. Robert Prosky. You may even spot suburban native Vince Vaughn in his film debut. "Rudy" is available on vudu, Amazon Instant Video, Xbox Video and other video on-demand services.
• ESPN's wonderful "30 for 30" documentary series is available for streaming on Netflix, and the best of the bunch might just be "You Don't Know Bo," the tale of two-sport sensation Bo Jackson's career-threatening injury and eventual comeback. The film includes interviews with Jackson from his home near Chicago, and chronicles his dominance on the football field, his freak hip dislocation and his short but memorable stint with the White Sox.
If you're not a Netflix subscriber, you can watch the "30 for 30" series on Amazon Instant Video or iTunes. My other favorites include "June 17th, 1994," comprised entirely of TV footage from a momentous sports day culminating in the O.J. Simpson white Bronco chase; "The Two Escobars," which examines the relationship between the Colombian soccer team and infamous drug kingpin Pablo Escobar; and "Catching Hell," the definitive account of Steve Bartman and the Cubs' 2003 collapse.
• Speaking of Bo Jackson ... remember how unstoppable he was on the "Tecmo Bowl" video game? You can relive the old-school Nintendo magic if you have a Wii or 3DS; "Tecmo Bowl" is available for download from the Virtual Console service.
• Sean Stangland is a Daily Herald copy editor and tireless consumer of pop culture. Irving Fryar was his go-to guy. You can follow him on Twitter at @SeanStanglandDH.