We're still 21 days away from Super Bowl Sunday 2013, but it doesn't hurt to start forecasting what some of the biggest storylines from the annual event could be.
Half of the AFC and NFC championship games are set, and after Sunday, we'll have a full schedule and the final four teams still vying for the Lombardi Trophy.
Since the Super Bowl is a cultural event in the United States and is traditionally one of the most—if not the most—watched sporting events of the year, it's important to grind every angle of the upcoming action into something the fans can be ready and excited for.
Six NFL teams are still around as of noon ET Sunday, but that won't be the case by the end of the day. That being said, let's look at some of the biggest potential storylines for the Super Bowl—some that don't even have much to do with the actual game.
What: Super Bowl XLVII
When: Sunday, Feb. 3 at 6:30 p.m. ET
Where: Mercedes-Benz Superdome; New Orleans, La.
Hawks Back in the Bayou?
Atlanta is going to have its hands full against the Seattle Seahawks on Sunday, but should the Falcons advance to the next round, it moves them one step closer to a short flight to New Orleans.
It's a minor detail, but Atlanta's only trip to the Superdome was a 31-27 loss to the New Orleans Saints—Atlanta's first loss of 2012.
The geographical location likely won't hurt Atlanta, but I can't see a ton of New Orleans fans cheering hard for the Falcons if they were able to grab any kind of local ticket. Still, it's a storyline to watch for since we don't have information about which two teams are locked in as participants just yet.
Inflation for Intermission
As always, people are going to enjoy this year's commercial segment of the game, literally the one day of the year you likely won't use your DVR to fast forward through the breaks in the action.
In a phrase we here more and more every year, this year's Super Bowl ads were the highest priced of all time, per this USA Today report.
For 30 seconds of advertising space, some companies paid $4 million. That's right, it's not a typo. There are six zeros at the end of a check made out to CBS for 30 seconds. However, for some companies, that kind of overhead is totally worth the risk, especially considering how much emphasis is put on commercialism for these games.
Not only are the prices high, but the storylines are good too. Pepsi and Budweiser appear set to square off against Coca-Cola in tandem, and international pop star PSY is set to appear in a commercial too.
Beyonce will be this year's halftime entertainment, and there will also be a special promotion that invites 50 fans on stage to introduce the world-famous pop icon before she hits her set.
If that wasn't news enough for those interested, Destiny's Child will also reunite during the performance, something that touches the heartstrings of fans everywhere who grew up listening and loving the trio in the late 1990s.
The Super Bowl committee isn't stupid—you have to try to reach a wide demographic of people during these events. The halftime show is reflecting that right now, and it should be a treat for fans of the music.
Prediction Within a Prediction
We're going deep within the recesses of your mind with this one. Maybe not, but Nate Silver, the man who correctly predicted the presidential election to a scary closeness, is taking the New England Patriots and Seattle Seahawks to square off on Feb. 3.
That being said, it raises the level of intrigue on the divisional games Sunday. There were only two true candidates in the election—there are six teams still around in the NFL playoffs. We'll see if Silver can transition his predicting game to the NFL.
Brady at .500
Back to football. Don't look now, but Tom Brady could stand alone in terms of Super Bowl appearances if he takes care of business the next two weekends.
Accordingly, he could also have a 3-3 record by the end of it.
That's not a bad record for any QB in the big game, but we are quick to put Brady in the greatest-of-all-time conversations, and with good reason. But Super Bowls are a big part of that, and it's one of the main reasons you don't hear about Jim Kelly (0-4) and Fran Tarkenton (0-3) being mentioned in that same breath.
By comparison, Joe Montana (4-0) and Terry Bradshaw (4-0) have the most wins without a Super Bowl loss. Granted, that was a different era, and QBs are asked to do much more in today's NFL. That hasn't stopped Eli Manning (2-0), the man who handed Brady his first two losses.
I'm not down on Brady. He's a great QB, and one of the most elite the game has ever seen. But if he reaches the mountain for No. 6 and emerges at 3-3, it's certainly going to make headlines and is something to think about in conversations about the best QB of all time.
Ethan Grant is a featured columnist for B/R's Breaking News Team. Check him out on Twitter.