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7 ways to enjoy the Super Bowl without watching it on TV

Super Bowl week can be excruciatingly painful for avid football fans. But here's some play calling that can fill the void to a certain extent.
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By Andy Smith, Contributor on
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1 of 7 Denver's Matt Prater lines up for the winning field goal.

The game

The biggest and most-watched football game of the year, along with some of the biggest parties, is set for Sunday's Super Bowl XLVIII. But what if you're a fan and don't really care about the Broncos or Seahawks? What do you do? Here are some ways to enjoy the atmosphere without attaching yourself to the TV.

Even if you're a casual fan, you probably want to know who's going to win. Surprise, we already do. One of the most successful annual Super Bowl prediction comes from EA Sports' Madden Football. This year's game was played on an Xbox One in a snowy MetLife Stadium and, according to Madden, the Seahawks will tie the game in the fourth quarter but the Broncos will win 31-28 in overtime.

Madden's outstanding Super Bowl record is 8-2, so during the actual game you can either replay with a friend on your Xbox One, kill zombies or try to win World War II

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2 of 7 Andy Smith/ZDNET

Bet on the winner

For the Big Game, big data helps PredictionMachine.com's use its "unbiased" Predictalator to run 50,000 game simulations to choose the most likely outcome.

PredictionMachine.com, a sports site that provides point spread information for gamblers, points to its 8-1-1 record for this year's NFL Playoff games as an example of its success.

Its early choice to win before the Conference Championships was the Seahawks, but Denver's strong performance in the AFC title game resulted in that team being installed as a -2.5 point favorite for the Super Bowl.

Since Predictalor agrees with Madden, you might consider betting on the Broncos. Don't blame us if you're wrong.

Screenshot: Predictionmachine.com

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3 of 7 Andy Smith/ZDNET

Side bets

Face it, the biggest draw for the Super Bowl is betting. Whether it's against the point spread, in an office pool or filling out squares, there's some money to be made. And there are side bets that are usually silly and take little skill but they add a little more entertainment to the game.

For side bets you can start at Odds Shark which has provided betting information for major sports media such as Fox Sports, Yahoo Sports NBC Sports and ESPN. The site's big pitch is that all of its predictions are compiled by computers.

Odds Shark also provides information on some of the odd wagers such as the length of time it will take Renee Fleming to sing the National Anthem. Will it take less than 2 minutes and 20 seconds, more than 2 minutes and 35 seconds or in between? You don't have to be an expert to bet on this one. For instance, Billy Joel sang the fastest National Anthem.

Other National Anthem bets:

  • Will one word be omitted?
  • Will Fleming wear gloves?
  • What color will her gloves be?

Plus, other side bets include the weather, which team wins the opening coin toss, and whether the power will go out at the stadium.

This year's pick by Odds Shark: Denver Broncos by 2.

Screenshot: Odds Sharks

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4 of 7 NOAA

TV tech

It's OK to glance at the game when Fox is showing off new technology during the game broadcast. The network hopes that the game is played in bad weather so some of its innovations can really shine.

One new feature will be an infrared camera that will show the players' body temperatures throughout the game. Fox also announced a new device that will display how wind affects a quarterback or kicker. The network also said it will have "more high-tech 4K cameras than ever before to zoom in for 'that definitive angle.' "

And I'm sure there will be more.

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5 of 7 Andy Smith/ZDNET

The ads

Ah, everybody's favorite, the Super Bowl commercials. A large majority of people watch the ads and get their beers during the game.

Normal Sunday afternoon games are played at a fairly quick pace and if you subscribe to the NFL's Red Zone it's breathtaking at times. But the Super Bowl itself is played at a snail's pace to fit in as many ads with an average cost of over $4.5 million for a 30-second spot.

Many tech companies have bet big money that a Super Bowl ad will net huge profits. The most notable ad came from Apple's "1984" commercial and the biggest disaster came from the short-lived pets.com. CNET reports that you can find samples on YouTube. Here are the ones we know:

GoDaddy and race car driver Danica Patrick will be back, although the company says it's toning down its racy past. One ad features scores of runners descending upon a gym that uses GoDaddy and the other follows a woman who is starting her own business.

Intuit prepared a commercial to give notice to the winner of a small business contest. One of the finalists is Poop Natural Dairy Compost.

Squarespace, a website platform company, makes its debut.

Turbo Tax prepared a 60-second ad that will praise the American workforce.

This year's wild-card. The big rumor circulating is that Apple will run its first ad since 1999.

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6 of 7 Andy Smith/ZDNET

Ticket watch

Going to the game is much better than watching it on TV. If you can't get there, you can monitor the unbelievable prices that people are paying for their Super Bowl tickets.

According to information from Ticketmaster on Thursday, there are still 2,491 seats available. The most expensive seats are in section 113 at the 50 yard line, nine rows behind the Denver Bronco bench. There are eight available with an asking price of $25,572 each.

The cheapest seats in section 342, row 25 (corner, top row) are selling for $1,500 each. Don't forget the parking, food and beer.

Just imagine what you could do with that money? On sale for $39,999.99, $5,000 off, at Paul's TV is an 85-inch, 4K ultra HD LED TV. For $2,299 you can buy a 60-inch full HD 1080p plasma set to watch the commercials and have something that you can enjoy for years.

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7 of 7 Andy Smith/ZDNET

Chicken bones

For every Super Bowl there are bizarre ways to pick the winner. Food Wishes.com uses chicken bones to make their choice. BTW, Seahawks will win. You can waste a lot of time coming up with your own methods and reading about others.

Screenshot: YouTube.com

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