Can Peyton Manning win the big one? Can the punishing Chicago Bears defense stifle the high-powered Indianapolis Colts offense?
For many who will tune in on Super Bowl Sunday, the gridiron action is just football filler to endure between commercials. It may seem heretical, but to these viewers, the big game is all about the prolific, high-priced ads.
With companies paying as much as $2.6 million for a 30-second national spot, it's clear that companies believe they have something to say. However, with so many rich sponsors shouting at the same time, who will get heard? That is the question that only history can answer.
With Brian Urlacher's bone-crunching hits and Marvin Harrison's acrobatic catches on display, purists may shake their heads at the way advertising has taken over the game. Most stadiums bear the names of corporate sponsors. Advertiser banners and electronic ads circle the playing field. Yet what scenario do you find more plausible -- the decommercialization of football, or Rex Grossman, Super Bowl MVP?
Don't answer that. The Bears' quarterback is due for the game of his life.
There is an "m" and an "e" in team
Despite the hype behind some of the more lavish campaigns you will see, the most talked-about spots won't feature big stars and costly budgets. Coming off Time magazine's designation of You -- yes, You -- as its Person of the Year, it's only fitting that leading brands would turn to folks like you and me to dream up their next commercial.
To be fair, all five of the finalist submissions are pretty slick. This isn't the Google
PepsiCo isn't the only company that turned to its fans to call the next play. General Motors
Brands on the run
Naturally, it can't all be about You. Many of the big names will be back again this year. Anheuser-Busch
It's a bold move for Coke. The pop star gave us the timeless Mean Joe Greene ad during the Super Bowl in 1980, but it had stayed away from advertising during the game since 1998.
The ad has already sparked a bit of controversy. The National Restaurant Association claims that the spot demeans the profession of the 12.8 million members of the fast-food industry.
And speaking of conflict, it wouldn't be a Super Bowl if domain registrar GoDaddy weren't tripping up the censors. Earlier this month, the company's CEO admitted that two of its three Super Bowl ads had been turned down.
So who will win the big game? With 45.9 million homes tuning in to last year's game, is it any wonder whom the free-spending advertisers are rooting for?
In a game between Bears and Colts, every marketer wants to be a lion.
Longtime Fool contributor Rick Munarriz is a frustrated Miami Dolphins fan, but he can't recall the last time that he didn't tune in to watch the Super Bowl. He does not own shares in any of the companies mentioned in this story. He is also part of the Rule Breakers newsletter research team, seeking out tomorrow's ultimate growth stocks a day early. The Fool has a disclosure policy.