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Super Bowl alternatives
5 Tips: From counter-programming to faking it at the watercooler on Monday, here's other ways to spend your time on Sunday without missing out.
By Gerri Willis, CNN/Money contributing columnist

NEW YORK ( - For many people, this weekend marks the height of all sporting events -- the Super Bowl.

Buffalo wings aside, if you're like the 35 percent of people who don't plan on watching the Super Bowl this year, 5 Tips is here with alternative ways to spend your Sunday, while also helping you join in the watercooler conversation on Monday.

1. Know the stats

While the Super Bowl will be playing across the screens of million of home nationwide, there are still a number of people who don't plan on tuning in. In fact, 136 million folks said they planned to skip out on the game.

So what is everyone else doing? Almost 22 million folks are going to be throwing a party. Another 53 million are going to a party and about 8 million are hightailing it to a bar or restaurant, according to a poll by the Retail Advertising and Marketing Association. And how important are those commercials? They're the reason why 18 percent of women tune in according to the report.

2. Counter-program your day

Take advantage of the Super Bowl distraction and enjoy a day with those less enthralled with watching the game. You will find the streets ominously devoid of male human presence. So just enjoy the ghost town while it lasts. You may want to hit your local stores or indulge your inner movie buff.

Now is the time to catch up on some of the films that scored Oscar nominations that you may have missed. And just think of how short the lines will be at the bookstore, or your laundromat.

You may want to turn your attention to puppies. That's right. Today it's not only football players who have their own Super Bowl! The Animal Planet channel plans to air "Puppy-Bowl II" during the Super Bowl. Puppies will bounce and roll around a play area designed to resemble a football stadium. You'll be able to see instant replays of daring puppy moves and you certainly don't want to miss the kitten half-time show.

"It's kind of like kittens gone wild," says Animal Planet.

3. Super Bowl commercials without the Super Bowl

If you're looking to fit in at the water cooler, one of the things you'll want to be in the know about are the commercials. In fact, almost 20 percent of the Super Bowl audience is watching for the spots alone.

Well, this year, you can skip the game altogether and still see the ads. You'll be able to see them on the NFL's cable channel, its Web site, or on your cell phone.

Can't get enough? The commercials will run six times between Monday and Tuesday next week on the NFL cable channel and on Sprint's mobile network. And some commercials will be available on several days after the game.

4. Get your cheat sheet

Need a way to sound intelligent about the game in case you want to fit in with all the water cooler talk? Here are some facts to make it look like you actually follow the game.

First of all, the Pittsburg Steelers are favored to win, even though they're the lowest ranked team to make it to the Super Bowl, says RJ Bell, the president of sports information Web site But they have the best defense and their chance of winning stands at 65 percent.

A bit of nostalgia may be helping out here. The Steelers won four Super Bowls in the 1970s, but haven't won since. And even though Seattle has one of the best offensive teams, this is the first time the Seahawks have ever been in the Super Bowl.

5. Get the highlights

If all you really want to do is get the big plays and the highlights, you don't have to stick around much after the first half quarter. More people watch the beginning of the game than the end, so at least you'll have some things to talk about.

And just before work on Monday, check out, Sports Illustrated at or and look under the game recap. This will give you the flavor of the flow of the game. will also have a list of highlights from the game. Plus, the biggest plays and fumbles will be singled out.

You may also want to look at the Box Score. Check to see if the winning team had the most total yards. If they didn't, they were lucky.


Gerri Willis is a personal finance editor for CNN Business News and the host for Open House. E-mail comments to 5tips@cnn.comTop of page

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