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TELANDER: Super Bowl week sprays to all fields

As visitors can attest there’s plenty more New Orleans than this gigantic sign for Super Bowl. | Charlie Riedel~AP

As visitors can attest, there’s plenty more to New Orleans than this gigantic sign for the Super Bowl. | Charlie Riedel~AP

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RAVENS VS. 49ERS
5:30 P.M. Sunday, Ch. 2

Updated: March 4, 2013 6:33AM



Now we find out! This guy, Mitch Ross, who reportedly supplied the Ravens’ Ray Lewis with deer-antler spray, never saw Lewis use the stuff.

Makes sense. What was Lewis going to do? Start spraying on the street? In the office? On the phone?

After all the chatter this week about deer antlers and their growth-hormone powers, I half- expected Lewis to have sprouted horns by now.

There is yet a chance the Ravens’ entire offensive line will have Rudolph-red noses light up in unison on audibles.

AS FAR AS DRUG-TAKING GOES, I would be surprised to learn many Super Bowl players are not taking some kind of human-growth hormone. Banning something without having a test for it is kind of the description of futile, don’t you think?

THIS SUPER BOWL XLVII is shaping up as one so full of distractions and side issues that the game actually might play second fiddle to the noise around it.

The enthusiasm for each big hit will be countered by thoughts of ensuing brain damage.

Mothers will watch with pleasure while their subconscious selves are chanting, ‘‘My son will never play this game!’’

Gay and lesbian viewers and supporters will marvel that 49ers cornerback Chris Culliver said, ‘‘I don’t do the gay guys, man. I don’t do that. Got no gay people on the team. They gotta get up outta here if they do. Can’t be with that sweet stuff.’’ And then, of course, Culliver claimed that was ‘‘not how I feel.’’

This attitude was complemented nicely by 49ers linebacker Ahmad Brooks and nose tackle Isaac Sopoaga claiming they weren’t involved in a pro-gay and lesbian video last summer, even though they were. Which came on the heels of former 49ers offensive tackle Kwame Harris beating up his gay ex-boyfriend and getting charged with domestic violence. Which came on the heels of that weird, female-impersonating ‘‘catfish’’ guy admitting his love for Notre Dame linebacker Manti Te’o.

The deal? There are gay players everywhere in football. Just as there are gay people everywhere. Some are good guys, some are jerks. Like everybody else. And some day, at great physical and public risk, an active, star NFL player will come out. And I think it might not be that long from now.

‘‘WE WILL ALWAYS make sure player safety is a main focus,” NFL commissioner Roger Goodell said in his annual news conference during Super Bowl week. Right.

That should be changed to, ‘‘We will always try to avoid being sued by injured players as best we can.’’

THE TELEVISION ADVERTISING — $4 million a minute — that envelopes this game is so important that a Harris poll from last year found two-thirds of all women viewers and nearly half of all men are at least as interested in the ads as they are the game.

Remember, a lot of folks couldn’t care less if the 49ers beat the Ravens, or vice-versa. It’s about the office pool, the chow, the beer, the ads that tell us sheep-like humans what to buy. Or at least until the next Super Bowl.

USA TODAY’S AD METER, its 24-year real-time ranking of the best commercials, has the 1993 Michael Jordan-Larry Bird game of H-O-R-S-E for McDonald’s as
No. 1 all-time. And haven’t we eaten a lot of McDoubles since?

No. 2 is Jordan playing hoops with Bugs Bunny for Nike in 1992. We’ve bought a lot of Air Jordans, too. And does this tell us anything about the charisma of Himself?

MY FAVORITE, and one I hope the creatives can duplicate: The little kid on the beach who sucks himself inside a Pepsi bottle. Then his annoying sister hollers, ‘‘Mom, he’s done it again!’’

THROUGH THIS SUPER BOWL drama and silliness runs the retirement of Lewis. Like a mud vein in a large sea fish, his role in those two knifing murders from more than a decade ago run right along with him.

‘‘I LIKE TO SENSE IT. I like to feel it. I like to have the ball in my hand,’’ said Ravens quarterback Joe Flacco. I like him as the winner.

NEW ORLEANS THOUGHTS: This city is flat. It’s hard to get over the feeling that something like Hurricane Katrina will flood it again.

THE FOOD IS crazy good. Went to an 11-table restaurant called Coquette with pal Rick Morrissey and had little plates of indescribable stuff that was like eating paintings off the wall.

SOME HALF-DRESSED female on the second floor of a ‘‘bar’’ threw a necklace of purple beads my way on crowded Bourbon Street.

I put ’em on.



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