Bronco and Seahawk fans are more than just thrilled their teams are playing in ultimate game for this season in America's favorite sport.
While Denver and Seattle are hundreds of miles from Northwest Indiana, next Sunday's Super Bowl XLVIII on Feb. 2 Groundhog's Day 2014 offers more reasons to tune-in besides fans' football devotion.
Viewers annually flock to television screens for what ranks as the season's finale to football.
Each of the last three Super Bowls rank in the top three positions in Nielsen's Ratings all-time viewing audiences. Even the four most-viewed programs of 2013 were the Super Bowl and Super Bowl Related, including the Super Bowl "blackout" delay when the Superdome lost power for more than a half hour, followed by sky-high viewership for both the Super Bowl post game and the Super Bowl kickoff.
Fans rate several reasons why each year's Super Bowl events rates as "must-see TV," citing the Super Bowl's heralding of sports stars, headlines, personal interest stories, hometown heroes and the natural appeal of feuding conflict, with one team celebrating in triumph while the other meets defeat.
"I grew up watching football; I played football," said Billy Hansen of St. John. "Football is a way of life."
Eric Miller of Munster said he's intrigued by the match-up of the Broncos' No. 1 rated offense taking on the Seahawks' No. 1 rated defense.
"Of course I'll be watching," he said.
While some fans don't know where they will be tuning in, they know they will be finding a front row seat in front of a television.
"I do everything spur of the moment," Hansen said, while explaining he'll be rooting for the Broncos. "I'm a Manning fan."
Hansen is not alone in his rooting for former Indianapolis Colt Peyton Manning. Shari Bravo of Highland said she is also a Manning fan.
The two are among the Colts fans who appreciate the significance of the future Hall-of Fame Quarterback to the Colts organization. Although the Colts cut Manning nearly two years ago, Manning brought two AFC championships and the Lombardi Trophy to Indianapolis, the team's only such honors since the Colts moved from Baltimore.
But not all Indiana residents are rooting for the Broncos.
Bravo said her husband is cheering for the Seahawks.
"We're a house divided," she said.
And for fans of Indiana's college teams, while the Broncos' and Seahawks' star quarterbacks hail from the universities of Tennessee and Wisconsin, each Super Bowl-bound team has a player from Notre Dame (Golden Tate, SEA; David Bruton, DEN) and Purdue (Cliff Avril, SEA; Shaun Phillips, DEN).
Tom Schott, associate athletics director of communications for Purdue University's West Lafayette campus said Purdue congratulates its two alumni of its "Den of Defensive Ends" and the athlete's prestige becoming "the latest Boilermakers to play in the Super Bowl...It should be an outstanding match-up between Denver and Seattle."
Many party guests who gather at Super Bowl festivities also admit the commercials, now billed as the multi-million dollar snippets of creativity and water cooler buzz, are a draw as entertaining as the big game.
"Fifty percent of the people watching the game are watching for the ads," said David Shoffner, from Pavone Advertising, creators of SpotBowl, one of the largest websites dedicated to advertising and Super Bowl commercial polling.
"[The Super Bowl] is an artificial national holiday. People expect to be entertained. Advertisers are trying to raise the bar and deliver that entertainment value. I think it's the only entertainment event of the year where people take their bathroom break during the game instead of the commercials. And when the commercials are on, everybody gets quiet watching the ads."