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Off the Marc | All that's odd, outrageous and wrong about the Super Bowl

Off the Marc: Cliches, 'good food,' hot deals

Okay, so let me get this straight … We are gathered here today to officially kick off eight days of hype leading up to the kickoff next Sunday night. In that span of time, MLB could play six World Series games. Well, except last year, when it took three days just to play Game 5.

Get ready for an excess of cliches, quotes and claims of being happy to be here as the teams arrive Monday and, in a span of 69 hours, will do four hour-plus media interview sessions.

We're all for being inclusive, but among the 133 "local favorite" restaurants listed on the NFL's official Web site are such five-star establishments as the Panera Bread on Cypress, Chipotle on West Shore, Quizno's on East Kennedy and Starbucks at the Airport Marriott. Nothing says Tampa Bay like a Quizno's Five-Meat Stack. Only five of the restaurants, by the way, are in Pinellas County.

What an unbelievably great coincidence for Bruce Springsteen that his new album comes out just five days before his halftime show appearance.

Super Bowl related offers on and eBay will get more and more creative as the week goes on, but the opening bids weren't bad:

• to fly to the game in a private jet ($3,435 a seat from Pittsburgh, $155,000 for 100 seats from Phoenix);

• to be driven in a 32-foot RV (cash or game ticket);

• to rent a Davis Islands house ($22,000 for the weekend);

• and to get a ticket in exchange for a week at an Ocean City, N.J., beach house; or three nights and greens fees in Hilton Head, S.C.; or use of an Orlando house and Jeep and Disney passes; or the always handy "bobcat and dump-truck work."

Our favorite listing — so far — has to be from 28-year-old Steeler fan Dorian Arnold, a self-described "under-employed private tutor with a bioengineering degree who wants to be a freelance writer" who advertises is willing to do anything — ANYTHING! — for a game ticket.

Among his offers: Fix your pipes, shovel your snow for a year, repair your computer, drive your kids around, entertain you by performing a stupid dare, clean your house for a year and a few other "services" we can't print here.

The only things off-limits for the Troy Polamalu wannabe? "I won't cut my hair or kill anyone." If you're interested, his e-mail is

If you don't want to risk dealing with private sellers, you can always turn to the NFL. As if they're not making enough money as it is, they have a travel package subsidiary called NFL On Location.

Their "deals": four hotel nights, game-day hospitality and ticket packages from $4,599 to $10,599 based on seat and hotel location. Or the pregame Touchdown Club — billed as "an exciting hospitality solution," featuring food, drinks, entertainment and player appearances in a parking lot tent — for just $550 a person.

We'll buy the University of Oregon study (that gamemaker EA commissioned) that people who play the Madden video game are "60 percent more knowledgeable" about the NFL than nongamers, and maybe even that the Maddenists knew more about football overall (by 79 percent), game situations (54) and rules (28).

What we won't buy is what EA Sports president Peter Moore told CNBC's Darren Rovell with a supposedly straight face: "This proves that our game is doing a tremendous service to the real sports," Moore said. "Playing the game creates a better educated and more involved fan. And that means that all the people (who) say gamers are wasting time while playing games on the couch are wrong."

No matter how bad the traffic is this week or whatever else goes wrong, do keep one thing in mind — at least we're not having another Super Bowl in Detroit.

eBay item of the day?

How about the handmade "Funny Flying Bird Hat" that sits atop your head and, with the help of a battery, flaps its wings. There's even a Web site — — complete with videos, and a price of $32.99. Karen Closkey, above -- who, um, hatched the idea -- has sold several hundred Philadelphia and Boston College Eagles versions but just started making the Cardinals.

Off the Marc: Cliches, 'good food,' hot deals 01/24/09 [Last modified: Saturday, January 24, 2009 5:05pm]
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