Is there a bigger one-week slice of American zeitgeist than the Super Bowl? I don't think so. So as you prepare for your Super Bowl (or Super Bowl ads) party, be sure to check out the list of what's "in" and what's "out" in Detroit this week.
That way, you can be sure to impress the other partygoers, not to mention the usual battery of people you impress with the Hot/Not List: co-workers, drinking pals and the occasional hot date.
If there's a single, unifying theme here, it's the dominance of "XL"-related themes, puns and other wordplay. Yes, it's kind of cool. Yes, people are saying "XL" instead of "Forty." But let's look past it to the other big trends. Read on:
|WHAT'S HOT, WHAT'S NOT: SUPER BOWL XL|
|Nightlife||Windsor, Ontario||"Revitalized" downtown Detroit|
|Why Windsor? Gambling. "We-bare-all" gents clubs. Nineteen-year-old drinking age. Where do you think the media will be?
Why NOT downtown Detroit? Wait: Does that include the 30,000 Ford employees soon to be laid off?
Jerome Bettis' homecoming
|Why Bettis? Have you heard? Jerome Bettis is from Detroit.
Why NOT T.O.? How did he crash this party? After dominating the lead-up to Super Bowl XXXIX, he tries to steal headlines with a recruiting trip Monday to Denver.
|Mom||Gladys Bettis||Wilma McNabb|
|Why Gladys? Has traveled for almost every game her son has played over 13 years. Won't have to go far on Sunday.
Why NOT Wilma? Who else is trying to figure out why she's still featured in those soup ads? She's so 2004.
|Holmgren protege||Matt Hasselbeck||Brett Favre|
|Why Hasselbeck? He's bald. He's glib. He's starting for the NFC in the Pro Bowl. And some even consider him the Seahawks' real MVP.
Why NOT Favre? After his ESPN interview Sunday, more fans than ever are wondering when he's finally going to retire.
|12th Man||Seahawks fans||Texas A&M fans|
|Why Seahawks fans? Given how few people around the country seem to be embracing them, the team needs all the help it can get.
Why NOT Texas A&M fans? Oh, lighten up. We all know you started the "12th Man" tradition back in 1922. Let it go for a week.
|Why Polamalu? Hair isn't usually a football thing, given how it's usually hidden under helmets. But Polamalu's locks flow from beneath his helmet, making him the most telegenic player on the field.
Why NOT Hasselbeck? Bald is only tough-looking if you're Michael Jordan or Charles Barkley.
|Disrespect||Seahawks' "Us vs. World"||Steelers' "We struggled"|
|Why Seahawks? It definitely looks that way with the Eastern Establishment media firmly behind Pittsburgh.
Why NOT Steelers? Sure, they won three straight playoff road games, but it's hard to play the "dis" card when you're 4-point favorites as the lowest-seeded team to ever make the Super Bowl.
|Halftime entertainment||The Rolling Stones||Paul McCartney|
|Why the Stones? They may be out of the 18-34 target demo. They may be hanging on longer than Brett Favre. But there's no reason to think they won't rock out. More old songs than new ones, please.
Why NOT McCartney? Aging rocker was a one-year over-correction after the Janet Jackson fiasco.
|Why Cowher? Between his 'stache and his granite chin, when he's frowning or shouting, it's the most intimidating facial hair in sports.
Why NOT Holmgren? How intimidating can it be when most people say it makes him look like a walrus?
|Why Anheuser-Busch? Lined up to run its usual slate of ads, all geared at winning the top morning-after praise from fans and experts. As always, watch out for the animals, a consistent winner.
Why NOT GoDaddy.com? Has had its Super Bowl ad rejected 13 times, with Tuesday being the deadline to submit an approved ad. How racy could it possibly be during a game celebrating violence?
|Ad subjects||Invented celebs||Real celebs|
|Why invented celebs? The Burger King has (strangely) captivated NFL fans all season long. The theme will reportedly continue with a 60-second spot right after kickoff.
Why NOT real celebs? Does anyone really care about P. Diddy shilling for Diet Pepsi? Or Jessica Simpson for Pizza Hut?
|Rising star||Seneca Wallace||Antwaan Randle El|
|Why Wallace? Versatile Seahawks backup QB had his greatest career moment making that sick catch against the Panthers in the NFC title game. He's the next Antwaan Randle El! Why? Hmm
Why NOT Randle El? Versatile Steelers receiver will be a free agent after the season, with the Bears reportedly a strong suitor (he grew up outside of Chicago). His last hurrah in black and gold?
|Feel-good story||Mack Strong||Transportation drivers|
|Why Mack Strong? Seahawks fullback has played his entire career in the relative anonymity of the Pacific Northwest. Now, he's lead blocking for the NFL MVP and headed to Hawaii for his first Pro Bowl.
Why NOT drivers? How hard is it to chauffeur a football team around without accidents happening?
|Super firsts||First-ever ring||First No. 6 seed to win|
|Why first-ever ring? Don't be greedy, NFL fans. Not much in sports is cooler than having your team win a Super Bowl for the first time. The Steelers have won, what, four before?
Why NOT first No. 6 seed to win? The ultimate salute to NFL parity -- and a mockery of all fans who think their team's 13-3 regular season means something.
|Anthem performer I'd like to see||
The Arctic Monkeys
|Why Foxx? With the success of "Unpredictable" and his star turn as Ray Charles, he could pull it off.
Why NOT The Arctic Monkeys? Look, they may be the hottest band on the planet right now, but they're a little ragged for the Super Bowl. And they're not even American!
|Why overtime? I say it every year: The year that a Super Bowl is decided by a coin flip is the year that the NFL changes its ludicrous overtime policy.
Why NOT weather? Considering it's Detroit in February, the weather report for the week looks pretty good: 40s all week. (What's that? Snow showers possible on Sunday? There's the Detroit weather we all were looking for.)
|Why Seahawks? Contrarian? Sure. But after a week of hearing nothing but Steelers-biased coverage, you'll come around.
Why NOT Steelers? Sure, everyone thinks they're going to win. For uncommitted fans, what fun is rooting for the overwhelming favorite?
Dan Shanoff is a columnist for Page 2. His "Daily Quickie" commentary appears every weekday morning.