NBC, which is broadcasting Super Bowl XLIX on February 1, had a news conference about the game today at Winter TV Press Tour. Reporters learned many important things:

  1. Carrie Underwood might have to go back into the studio to record the names of the two teams for her already recorded Official Super Bowl XLIX tune — unless the Colts and Packers wind up in the game, because those are the two names she sang when she recorded the tune. We wish her the best.
  2. Super Bowl Sunday has been declared a national holiday. Al Michaels, this year’s Super Bowl play-by-play announcer, did the declaring because, he said, “What else is somebody going to do on that particular day?” This might come as a surprise to the 200 million people in the U.S. who are not expected to watch the game. Michaels said NBC is forecasting about 120 million viewers for this year’s game (last year’s Super Bowl clocked about 112 million — the most-watched TV program in U.S. history — and the halftime show about 115 mil). According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the population of this country had hit 316.1 million people as of 2013.
  3. If the weather is good, the roof of University of Phoenix Stadium in Glendale, AZ, will be open during the game.
  4. It does not matter which teams make it to the Super Bowl. Michaels said so, explaining that some of the most-watched Super Bowls have included teams pundits thought would scuttle viewer interest. “Any of these combinations are fantastic,” he added of this season’s contenders.

Some non-Super Bowl information also was dispensed during the Q&A.

  1. The NFL would “love to forget” this football season, in re press coverage of players’ behavior. Michaels acknowledged NBC has a “responsibility” to address “issues” such as Ray Rice clocking his fiancée in a casino elevator and the too-short suspension that followed until TMZ got its hands on the video of the actual moment of clocking. But, Michaels added, “we don’t belabor.” His coordinating producer Fred Gaudelli elaborated. “While you have that responsibility … you don’t want it to intrude too much on the game,” he said.
  2. Football fans compartmentalize. “They know what’s going on,” Michaels said. “They know there’s a lot of insidious stuff, but you get to the weekend and fans said this year, ‘I want my football.’”