JACKSONVILLE -- The status of the health of two important people -- John Paul II and Terrell Owens -- battled for space in the headlines this week. You could understand it.
One represents a religion worshipped by millions on Sunday and the other is the Pope.
The Super Bowl, even though it is being held in the NFL's equivalent of Regina, is once again living up to its reputation as the greatest collision of pro sports, corporate America and that exclusive demographic known as celebrity.
This is the zenith of professional performance, inspired exhibits of stamina and unabashed strutting.
Oh, yeah, there's a football game today, too.
Perhaps only the Super Bowl can bring together in the same city celebrities like Snoop Dogg, The Black Eyed Peas, Adam Sandler, Charlie Daniels, Paul McCartney, Tom Cruise, R. Kelly, Jimmy Carter, Chris Rock, Burt Reynolds, Lynyrd Skynyrd, Tom Arnold, Jim Kelley, Joey Fatone, Diamond Dallas Page, John Popper, Darius Rucker, Playboy Playmates and even a rumour of a Jen-Less Brad Pitt sighting, to just name a few.
Along with celebrity spotting, price-gouging is the second-favourite pastime among the locals.
Hotel rooms that normally go for $90 (all terms US) were going for upwards of $350. Hey, this is going to be the only time an event of this magnitude is here, so take your best shot, right?
It's a seller's market for tickets, of course. The local newspaper had almost 100 classified ads looking for tickets for today's game.
"PLAYMATES need Super Bowl Tickets was one creative one." Gee, wonder what they were willing to barter?
"NEED SUPER BOWL TICKETS, will trade new or used golf carts." Hmm. Go to the game or pimp my ride?
Tickets that go for about $500 were fetching up to $7,000, according to a couple of guys looking to unload theirs at a local golf store.
That would buy a lot of golf clubs.
The game itself today will be another tribute to corporate America's ability to steal your eyeballs for a few hours. It is the most-watched television show of the year here (a record 144 million Americans watched it last year.)
We defer to those much more expert than ourselves in these matters, the party experts at Hallmark, the greeting card company. They have come to the conclusion the Super Bowl has become America's biggest excuse for having a party, surpassing even New Year's Eve.
Hmm. I was just thinking, if I had a couple of tickets to the game to deal, I could be riding around in a golf cart with a PLAYMATE.