Happy February everyone! We are one month closer to spring and there's only 28 days this year in the groundhog’s favorite month. Hard to believe that college baseball and softball practice has already begun in our area. Before you know it the grass will be green and every baseball, softball and soccer field will be alive with activity. Too bad for the players there will be many a cold day preparing for the games of warmer weather.
Now let's talk a little groundhog, the official language of Punxsutawney Phil Sowerby. That is the official name of the star of this year's Groundhog Day. I have a few quick facts for those partial to the marmot meteorologist. Please do not refer to him as a rodent or especially road kill, he asks.
Phil is the oldest weatherman still going; his first forecast was in 1887. And yes, I know it's not the same marmot. Since then he has made 130 predictions, 102 have been for a longer winter, which is over 70%. That is why the life expectancy of Phil isn't very good. The shadow approach has been accurate 39% of the time according to Stormfax. That puts him right in line with the accuracy of those with the latest technology. That is why I think Tom Clark recently retired, because of groundhog envy.
Over 20,000 visitors travel to Punxsutawney on or around Groundhog Day. The event is estimated by the Punxsutawney Chamber of Commerce to bring well over a million dollars in tourism to the area. It results in the booking of 2,600 hotel rooms in and around Jefferson County.
I wonder what cut of the action Punxsy Phil gets? He sure knows how to draw a crowd and how to make a buck. With what he accomplishes with one day of work per year, maybe President Trump could use Punxsy Phil to help build that wall? I wonder how many appearances he would need to make to fund the $12 billion project. Phil could also be used for excavating advice.
For those hoping for an early spring via Phil’s forecast, good luck. He has only not seen his shadow 18 times. In only six of those years was it estimated an early spring did occur.
One last interesting footnote. All of the gentleman wearing tuxedos and top hats you see each year are members of the Punxsutawney Groundhog Club inner circle. It is rumored Francis Ciccarelli at The Clothier provides them for the annual event.
The second biggest event this week will be Super Bowl LI, or 51. Yeah the Roman numerals were good for the first few decades of the big game, but now? Maybe it's just me but who knew an L symbolized 50? This year's number in Roman looks more like a button in an elevator. And no, I'm not just saying that because Pittsburgh lost.
What an event the Super Bowl has become in our Country and around the world for that matter. I remember watching the Chuck Noll coached Steelers win their first Vince Lombardi Trophy. The game was played outside at Tulane University Stadium. The crowd and coverage of the game wasn't much more than another NFL game. If you were a Vikings or Steelers fan there was very little interest. It was not the national event and party it has become today.
The Super Bowl now transcends sports and becomes entertainment even for those who may only watch that one game a year. From the pregame show to the halftime show and then the trophy presentation while a blizzard of confetti descends on the winners, more Americans watch than any other event. The halftime entertainment and commercials are scrutinized more than Ms. Hillary Clinton's presidential campaign. So let's look at a few numbers that won't be on the scoreboard.
In 1967 for Super Bowl I, and yes I recognize that Roman numeral, 30 second TV commercial cost $40,000. This year the same spot will set corporate America back over 5 million bucks. It is estimated that over 115 million will view Super Bowl LI. The Big Game has a little more affect on the local economy than Punxsy Phil. It is estimated it will bring over $500 million into the Houston area.
As far as what you and I will be eating while watching the game. Americans will spend over $15.5 billion—yes billion—on food, drinks and items related to the Super Bowl. 1.3 billion chicken wings will be eaten. Americans will consume over 325,000,000 gallons of beer while the Patriots and Falcons are drinking Gatorade. Over 48 million Americans will order take out or have food delivered. Super Bowl Sunday is the top pizza sales day of the year. National pizza sales will rise 40%. Americans will spend over $330 million on their favorite pie. That's a lot of dough!
Amazing numbers about Super Bowl Sunday, let's hope the game lives up to the food. It's tough to pick against the Patriots and Tom Brady. I wonder what they'll be eating after the game?
God Bless America.