By Nestor Bailly, Contributing Reporter
RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – Early February in Rio de Janeiro brings many things. Searing temperatures, summer thunderstorms, the mounting excitement to Carnival… and for American gringos, the Super Bowl. The 2011 NFL Super Bowl XLV will be on Sunday, February 6th this year, pitting six-time Super Bowl champions the Pittsburgh Steelers against three-point favorites, the Green Bay Packers.
Kicking off in Cowboys Stadium, Arlington, Texas, at 6:30PM CST local time (9:30PM Rio time), the Packers and Steelers are set for an epic battle, both teams having notably passionate fan bases.
The Steelers had a 12-4 record this season, earning the AFC North division title with a win over the Baltimore Ravens 31-24, and now tied with the Dallas Cowboys for most Super Bowl appearances. Starting with quarterback Ben Roethlisberger, who finished with 3,200 yards and 17 touchdowns this year, the Steelers also demonstrated a strong defense throughout the season.
Defeating historic rival the Chicago Bears 21-14 in the NCF Championships secured the Green Bay Packer’s place at the Super Bowl. Led by quarterback Aaron Rodgers, finishing with 3,912 yards, 28 touchdowns and 65.7 percent completion. The Packers completed the 2010 season with a tepid 10-6 record, but placed second in the league for fewest points allowed per game.
“Each team has a ferocious defense, outstanding running backs and excellent coaching. There is one big difference however, the quarterback,” a U.S. sports expert explains. “Green Bay possesses someone as close to a computer as there is. Aaron Rogers makes no mistakes.”
Broadcast in Portuguese by BandSports here in Brazil, this year’s Super Bowl features Christina Aguilera singing the national anthem and the Black Eyed Peas performing the halftime show. To watch the Super Bowl in Rio though, the best bet is to head to Ipanema, which hosts the most gringo bars. Shenanigan’s and Blue Agave both have scheduled Super Bowl events that are sure to fill up fast.
Shenanigans, located at General Osório square, hosts Rio’s best-known Super Bowl party every year and will not disappoint. This year’s “Heineken Super Bowl Blowout” starts at 8PM, costs R$50 (R$20 to get in and R$30 for drinks) and is limited to 200 people.
There will be spontaneous deals on food and drinks, prizes from Heineken, and a 60-inch projection screen with seven smaller TVs around the bar ensures good viewing for all. Specials include buckets of Heineken longnecks six for R$30, Heineken Pints R$8, and 10 BBQ wings for R$10. Perfect for those missing America.
The American Society of Rio de Janeiro will be hosting a Super Bowl event at the Marriott Hotel Copacabana, with discounts on food and drinks. Only members of The American Society are eligible for the discounts, so membership sign-ups will be offered at the entrance to the event.