Are you ready for some … El Niño?
Or maybe, in a sudden meteorological development, El Nono?
A steady rain pelted the Embarcadero area, center of the Super Bowl 50 extravaganza, but it actually might have been the storm before the calm. The extended forecast now calls for bright skies and unusually mild temperatures for many of the next 7-to-10 days, and if that were to happen, would the NFL and Bay Area be lucky or what?
“We’re on the eve of history. Super Bowl City will represent everything that is great about the Bay Area,” Host Committee CEO Keith Bruce said in Justin Herman Plaza, a hub of local Super Bowl activity over the next week. “Our technology. Our food and our wine. Our diversity. Our arts. Our music. It will all be on display.”
Barked San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee: “Welcome to Super Bowl 50 in San Francisco! That has such a ring to it!”
While workers went about their business, a few hundred people milled about, umbrellas in hand, fairly oblivious to activity around them.
A homeless person named Eric was more concerned about how to get to the Castro area.
“I really don’t know how long I’ll be on the street,” the Modesto native told Balls. “Probably until they don’t want me any more. I was just hoping to get bus fare to get further up the road.
“I think it’s great that people are celebrating. There are lot of interesting events, and any exposure for below-poverty people is a good thing. But I didn’t know they had a stadium in San Francisco.”
Reminder: The Super Bowl will be played in Santa Clara.
Transplanted San Francisco resident Dee Scott was “sorta” excited about the game ahead.
“Why? Because my Denver Broncos are going to win!” said Scott, who was part of the Super Bowl work force.
But what about her old hometown team?
“I like [Colin] Kaepernick.” Scott said. “But the 49ers? They’re OK. I do like their fans.”
Wisconsin resident Charles Bredeman and his wife were in town to visit family across the Bay. Bredeman did know the Green Bay Packers weren’t in the big game, right?
“Aren’t they?” he played along. “That’s why we’re here.”
So if Bredeman didn’t have Super Bowl fever, did he feel at least a bit warm? “It’s 50 years, so everyone is excited, I guess,” he said.
Niners fans saw their team eliminated from Super Bowl contention months ago, and if they were like the guy with the logo hat on his head, they were more enthused about the events than the game itself.
“No, I’d rather not,” said the fan, begging off an interview request on the fly.
Cracked 49ers receiver Torrey Smith, part of the festivities: “Obviously, I wish I wasn’t at this event.”
SUITE DREAMS: Could be that suites at Levi’s Stadium have maxed out well before the game, something of a crisis for the NFL and the Host Committee.
Luxury-box marketplace SuiteHop listed one suite at $150,000, the lowest price that site founder Todd Lindenbaum recalls for a Super Bowl game.
“The NFL and the Super Bowl host committee thought that they could sell out by selling suites for $500,000 to $1 million each,” Lindenbaum told ESPN.com. “But at least for the ones still on the market, the pricing wasn’t going to hold up.”
The $150,000 suite includes 16 tickets, food and beverage. That equates to $9,375 per person, which is cheaper than some club seats at this point.
Many suites did sell for high asking prices, given the wealth in Silicon Valley, but other suites simply aren’t getting offers — unheard of at 21st-century Super Bowls.
“The original pricing was probably right for most of the suites,” said Robert Smith of Sold Out Sports, who acquired some suites for the game. “But once you get down to the final 10 or so, where I think we are now, companies have to be incentivized by price to make a last-minute decision to send many people to the game.”
Smith said he wants to keep a couple of suites intact, but he already has broken up one suite and is selling individual tickets, including food and beverage, through StubHub.
“If we could sell what we have now for $150,000 a suite, I’d be damn happy about it,” Smith said.
DA DOO RON RON: Some consider Cam Newton and the Panthers as over the top, but as their coach Ron Rivera can tell you, their act doesn’t compare to that of Jim McMahon and the 1985 Chicago Bears.
Rivera and ex-49ers coach Mike Singletary were linebackers on the Super Bowl XX winners, one of the most talented, arrogant and dysfunctional teams in football history.
The Bears recorded their Super Bowl Shuffle anthem weeks before the deed was done. When McMahon famously mooned a media helicopter a few days before the game, it became the first XX-rated Super Bowl in history.
“We had no idea how that would fit in the season and really sort of become what we were trying to do,” Singletary recalled. “It just became bigger than all of us.”
Singletary was part of a team reunion in Chicago last week, which Rivera was unable to attend for obvious reasons.
“That was cool,” Singletary said. “He just talked about how much he wished he could be here, how he was thinking about us and loved us.”
The ’85 Bears will have Rivera’s back this weekend.
“We’re still a team and wish him luck,” Singletary said. “We’re very excited.”
VOICE OF REASON: It took a while, but Balls found a reason why a Colin Kaepernick-Chip Kelly partnership could work in the future. Former 49ers great Jerry Rice says so.
“You know, I think with Chip Kelly, it brought life to Colin Kaepernick, because you look at Chip Kelly and what he was trying to implement in Philadelphia with (Mark) Sanchez, (Nick) Foles, also (Sam) Bradford,” Rice told NBC. “Those guys were more like pocket passers. Now you have got that read option with Colin Kaepernick, a guy that can get outside the pocket, a guy that can extend plays and is a threat to run. So it could be a good marriage for them.”
ROAD TO 72: The Warriors are in the midst of one of those once-in-a-generation seasons. In the next two weeks, we may find out just how special it can be.
At 42-4, the Warriors began the weekend on a pace for 75 victories. That would shatter the record (72) that the Chicago Bulls set in the 1995-96 season.
Asked how often the record is discussed amongst themselves, Draymond Green told Balls, “Never.”
“Not at all.”
The epic record may not be an obsession, but don’t think the Warriors aren’t well aware of it. If they win, say, nine of their next 11 games, Balls bets the subject will come up a lot more in their locker room.
Although nine of the 11 games will be on the road, a 9-2 record is doable, as only three are against legitimate contenders. That would leave the Warriors with a 51-7 record overall. In that case, they would have to win 20 of their final 24 games to match the record, and they would have a highly favorable schedule to do it — 17 games at home, only seven on the road.
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Cam Newtonchicago bullsColin Kaepernickdee scottDraymond GreenEd LeeEl NinoGreen Bay PackersJerry RiceJustin Herman PlazaKeith BruceLevi's Stadiummark sancheznick folesPhiladelphia EaglesRon RiveraSam BradfordSanta Clarasteph curry golden state warriorssuitehopSuper Bowl 50Super Bowl Citytodd lindenbaumTorrey Smith