Super Bowl 2023 viewer's guide
It has been 18 years since a Super Bowl booth featured both a play-by-play man and analyst who never had called the big game before on network TV.
Things have worked out just fine since then for Joe Buck, Troy Aikman and Cris Collinsworth, who worked Super Bowl XXXIX together for Fox in 2005. All three still are on the job on the No. 1 announcing teams of different networks.
Will we be able to say the same in 2041 about Kevin Burkhardt and Greg Olsen, who will make their Super Bowl debuts for Fox on Sunday?
That is TBD as TB12 looms, but this game will set the tone for whether they are destined to be a longtime team at the top of their profession or merely transitional figures.
In Olsen’s case, he might have to move aside for Tom Brady come 2024, when Brady is expected to transition into his new career in broadcasting.
But for now, both Burkhardt, 48, and Olsen, 37, are trying to look no further than Philadelphia vs. Kansas City.
The fact they are in this position at all is an outlier after an offseason of big-name and big-money movement in NFL announcing.
Neither Buck nor Burkhardt can come close, resume-wise, to the likes of other folks in the Super Bowl rotation at other networks.
But Fox was ready to try something new after Buck and Aikman left for ESPN. So it turned to its No. 2 NFL play-by-play man in Burkhardt and a novice in Olsen, who retired after 14 years as an NFL tight end following the 2020 season.
The two have the benefit of knowing each other well. Burkhardt covered Olsen when Olsen was a New Jersey high school star being coached by his father.
Burkhardt’s rise from car salesman to WFAN update man to SNY Mets reporter to this has been popular among viewers and his many friends in the business.
“Even when it became official, I almost couldn’t believe it,” he told Newsday in August. “This kid from the playgrounds in North Jersey, throwing a Nerf football on a concrete playground at Franklin School [in Bloomfield] is going to call the Super Bowl.”
94 cameras, 35 people on camera
Fox Sports is a relative Super Bowl newcomer compared with CBS and NBC, which have carried 21 and 20 Super Bowls, respectively.
But Sunday marks a milestone for the network, which will show its 10th big game. (Fox will be back for its 11th in two years as a new Super Bowl rotation begins.)
In addition to its new booth of Burkhardt and Olsen, Fox will deploy sideline reporters Erin Andrews and Tom Rinaldi and rules analyst Mike Pereira.
It also will showcase its longtime studio team for a 5 1/2 hours of pregame material starting at 1 p.m. Eastern time. That show will star Curt Menefee, Michael Strahan, Terry Bradshaw, Howie Long, Jimmy Johnson, Rob Gronkowski and Jay Glazer.
In all, Fox will have 35 on-air personalities in Arizona before, during and after the game, as well as 94 cameras.
Fox Deportes will have the Spanish-language telecast for the fourth time, with Adrian Garcia-Marquez and Alejandro Villanueva on the call.
And on other NFL broadcast partners . . .
While Fox will have the primary pregame show, it will not be alone in presenting one, as well as other game-related content.
ESPN has its customary 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. time slot, which will emanate from its set in Old Town Scottsdale and from inside State Farm Stadium.
(Steve Levy, Dan Orlovsky and Louis Riddick will call the game for ESPN for audiences in Australia and New Zealand.)
After the game, Chris Berman will host “NFL Prime Time” as he covers his 41st Super Bowl.
NFL Network, traditionally with the longest of all Super Bowl pregames, will be at it again, with an 8 1/2-hour show that begins at 9 a.m.
Among the features during the NFLN pregame will be Andrea Kremer talking to Tom Coughlin and Michael Strahan about the Giants’ victory in Super Bowl XLII.
ESPN's 30 for 57
Before every NFL season, ESPN sends a list of its commentator predictions, this time with 30 experts weighing in on the conference and Super Bowl champions.
Three picked the Eagles to be in the big game, and three (including Keyshawn Johnson) picked Kansas City.
No one had the Eagles winning it all, and only two went with Kansas City: Louis Riddick and Jeff Darlington.
The biggest night for television
Even under the best circumstances, television ratings are a dark art – estimated guesses based on murky mathematical calculations.
Then there is the Super Bowl, where the data is complicated by everything from groups watching in bars and at parties to tens of millions of people only glancing at the screen for the commercials and halftime show.
Despite all that, there is no viewership number on the TV calendar that gets more scrutiny – and that has more potential for bragging rights among network executives.
We do know this: There is nothing in American television that can match it.
The official number Fox is aiming for is the average of 114.4 million viewers eight years ago when the Patriots beat the Seahawks.
Fox Sports’ ratings guru, Mike Mulvihill, told Sports Business Journal that Super Bowl 57 could attract 115 million, based in part on the NFL’s recent ratings spikes.
The matchup between two No. 1 seeds with familiar brands also should help.
“If you ranked every possible Super Bowl matchup, 1 through 256, Kansas City-Philly is a top-five matchup, if not a top three," Mulvihill told SBJ.
Rihanna not only will be performing at her first Super Bowl when she headlines the halftime show, it also will be her first live performance in five years.
The game is a week before her 35th birthday, another sign that the halftime gig has come a long way from a series of Baby Boomer-friendly acts in the late 2000s.
Chris Stapleton will sing the national anthem and Babyface is slated for “America the Beautiful.”
Sheryl Lee Ralph of the comedy series “Abbott Elementary,” which is set in Philadelphia, will perform “Lift Every Voice and Sing.”
The Flyers’ mascot, Gritty, was featured in an episode of the show last year.
Like cats and dogs
Puppy Bowl XIX begins at 2 p.m. on Animal Planet, Discovery Channel and TBS. (That is 133 in dog years, making the event older than the Super Bowl. Sort of.)
Taylor Rooks hosts, joined by Bellmore JFK High’s own Steve Levy.
This year’s bowl features 122 puppies, 67 shelters and rescues across 34 states. Kittens will be featured at halftime.
Beth Stern will host a new event, the Great American Rescue Bowl, on the Great American Family channel beginning at 10:30 a.m.
It features dogs and cats and was done in conjunction with Port Washington-based North Shore Animal League America.
Super Bowl LVII facts
When: Sunday at 6:30 p.m.
Where: State Farm Stadium in Glendale, Ariz., home of the Arizona Cardinals.
Betting favorite: Eagles by 1 1/2, The over/under is 50 1⁄2
Referee: Carl Cheffers, an NFL official since 2000. His crews ranked No. 1 for penalties called during the regular season, averaging 14.4 flags per game
TV: Fox and Fox Deportes (Español).
Streaming: NFL+ , Fox Sports app, Hulu + Live TV, YouTube TV, fuboTV, Sling TV.
Radio: WFAN (660-AM, 101.9-FM) and Westwood One. Announcer Kevin Harlan, analyst Kurt Warner. Also, Fox Sports Radio, Westwood One Radio, SiriusXM NFL Radio.
Performers: National anthem, Chris Stapleton; Halftime, Rihanna.