The Super Bowl prelude can be described, so far, by numbers such as 7,603 (how many more career receiving yards Jerry Rice has than 49ers receiver Randy Moss, the self-declared greatest of all time), 17 (number of years in Ray Lewis' career, which is coming to a close with this game) and two (the number of Harbaugh brothers coaching). We are here, then, to bring you a different set of numbers that live more on the fringes of the Super Bowl. Here you go:
• Faith, fables and football: We read two separate studies this week that revealed some rather interesting things about football fans. As someone who is rather superstitious, this hits close to home. According to a GMR Marketing survey of 405 NFL fans, 33 percent believe "that their personal rituals and superstitions actually impact the outcome of the game," while 45 percent wear lucky clothing. Nine percent watch games from a specific seat or location, while 10 percent "appeal to a higher power, invoking prayer during games."
That last one curves right into another survey, this one conducted by the Public Religion Research Institute. That group polled 1,033 random adults two weeks ago and found, among other things, that 27 percent "believe that God plays a role in determining which team wins sports events."
• Have an itch to upgrade your TV? Well, you're not alone. According to the Consumer Electronics Association, an estimated 1.7 million plasma and LCD TVs will be shipped in January. A spokesman from Best Buy says the week leading up to the Super Bowl is the second-busiest time for TV purchases in those stores and others nationwide, topped only by the period surrounding Black Friday.
• Heavy wagering action on one team can influence point spreads in Las Vegas during the days leading up to the Super Bowl. But did you know that prop bets -- you know, the silly wagers such as who is going to win the coin toss -- also face adjustments based on the betting action?
R.J. Bell of Pregame.com notes that a bet on the "Length of postgame handshake/hug between Harbaugh brothers" opened with an over-under of 6 seconds but has since shifted to over-under 7.5 seconds because a lot of bets were made on the "under." Similar adjustments have been made to betting lines regarding how many times "Harbaugh" will be said during the broadcast and the length of the National Anthem sung by Alicia Keys.