That date did not go well. You spilled coffee all over yourself before that presentation. Work is miserable. You need a break, and you love football. Or maybe you just love parties.
You have woken up during Super Bowl week with a renewed determination to make it to the game for once in your life and witness football history in person. How much is it going to cost you?
Unfortunately and predictably, a lot.
There are all sorts of all-inclusive packages that will deliver you to Arizona in style and bring you back bankrupt. The “Ultimate Big Game Adventure” — brought to you by a partnership with Magellan Jets and Uncommon Events — will fly you to Phoenix on a private jet, arrange a four-night stay in a hotel in West Scottsdale, secure a couple VIP tickets to the Waste Management Open Golf Tournament and a pair of lower end-zone tickets for the Super Bowl, to which you will be driven in a Suburban or Escalade — for the low, low price of $235,000.
Slightly more plausible, for most of us at least, are travel packages pulled off by CIRE Travel, which is “a concierge style travel agency specializing in white glove travel support.” The company is sending one client to the Super Bowl and reported these prices:
• A round-trip, first-class, non-refundable flight from NYC to Phoenix would be about $5,900.
• A five-star hotel stay would run you about $1,500 per night.
• Black car to/from the airport: $300 each way.
If you have the money to burn, by all means, set it aflame. But for our purposes, let’s focus on what a cost-efficient trip to see Super Bowl LVII on Sunday between the Eagles and Chiefs would look like. Can you and a friend spend three days and two nights this weekend in Arizona and come home with your proverbial (and literal) arm and a leg? Let’s draw up an itinerary and pray our kids (or future kids) don’t want to go to college, anyway.
You want to be in Phoenix early Saturday, ensuring you have a full day to enjoy yourself among the revelers and rattlesnakes. You want to return to New York on Monday, when you will be among the millions to tell your boss you aren’t feeling well (which, in all honesty, will be true). With time at a premium, let’s narrow it down to direct flights.
Your best and cheapest bet, as of Wednesday afternoon, was a Delta flight from JFK at 7 a.m. on Saturday, which will get you to Phoenix at 10:50 a.m. MST. Your return flight leaves at noon on Monday and should land at JFK at 6:45 p.m.
The cost for this bargain-basement, round-trip ticket, including taxes, fees and the mysterious charges that always pop up? $1,528.80.
The total for you and your pal: $3,057.60.
You and your friend establish some ground rules: Sure, there are sketchy options that include bunk beds and eight people to a room, but you decide such extreme frugality defeats the purpose of this getaway.
The cheapest deal out there at a hotel appears to be at the Travelers Inn in Phoenix, where you and your friend will share a room and probably will not be entertaining. No free breakfast, but the coffee and tea in common areas will come in handy. It’s a 20-minute ride from the airport and a 20-minute ride to the stadium, both doable.
A travel agent warned that many hotels in a Super Bowl host city will have a minimum stay of four nights. This lodging, thankfully, can be shorter term.
Double queen bed, non-smoking, for two nights, including taxes and fees, will total $332.
There are cars to rent, which would be convenient, but also lead to some headaches. A “premium sports car” — a Dodge Charger GT or similar, Expedia says — can be grabbed Saturday and dropped off Monday morning for a total of $150.02.
But if you are driving everywhere, you also are parking everywhere. The cheapest parking reservation at the stadium, as of Wednesday afternoon, was going for $127 on SeatGeek. Throw in a few bucks for gas, and you realize ride shares will be less pricey.
An Uber calculator shows a ride from the Phoenix Airport to the Travelers Inn should be about $28. A ride from the hotel to State Farm Stadium is listed at about $15, but surge pricing undoubtedly will balloon the total. Let’s say, conservatively, it costs three times as much on game day, so getting to the stadium and leaving it will run about $45 each. One more $28 car share will take you from the hotel back to the airport on Monday.
$28 + $45 + $45 + $28 = $146 of car rides. (Let’s make it $165 because you, of course, tip.)
Super Bowl tickets
Maybe you know someone who knows someone, and a ticket magically appears. Maybe you trust that ticket scalper on the street. But more likely, you will be scouring the ticket-resale marketplace.
As of Wednesday afternoon, the cheapest pair of tickets on StubHub were in section 404, row 9. You’re high up and desperately hoping that much of the action comes to this end of the stadium, but hey, you’re in State Farm Stadium without an obstructed view (not including the drunken ogre sure to be sitting in front).
Here is the approximate view:
The cheapest pair of tickets available — after the initial ticket price and “fulfillment and service fees” — will cost you $9,847.
Stadium food and drink
A hot dog at last year’s Super Bowl cost $12. A “classic beer” went for $13, and a 25-ounce can of Michelob Ultra — “premium beer” — would run you $17.
The prices are not known for this year, but it’s reasonable to assume they will escalate with inflation (and because the NFL and its teams know however much they charge, fans will pay).
Let’s guess the hot dogs will be $13 each and a “cheap” beer will run you $14 a pop. You and your friend buy one apiece.
Two beers, two hot dogs: $54.
We are not going to speculate on the other misadventures you can enjoy in Arizona. Parties will be everywhere. Jimmy Eat World, the Gin Blossoms and Major Lazer will be playing at the Super Bowl Experience at Hance Park, where surely you can waste plenty of time and money. This week in Tempe, Stephen A. Smith was signing copies of his book in meet-and-greets that cost $33.90. There might not be many stranger ways to spend money, but we’re not here to judge.
For the purposes of this story, we’ll ignore the fun you can have in your downtime, trying to keep the trip as inexpensive as possible.
So, $3,057.60 in airfare, $332 in lodging, $9,847 in game tickets and $54 in concessions means you and a friend can pay $13,290.60 to go to the Super Bowl for a weekend on a lark.
The conclusion, at least from this view: Super Bowls are plenty of fun from the couch, and maybe that date wasn’t so bad.
Today’s back page
An earlier version of the back page led with the Knicks’ own major trade:
Hours before the Durant blockbuster, the Knicks also got a jump on the NBA’s Decision Day.
The Knicks will land Portland’s Josh Hart, ESPN reported late Wednesday night, on the eve of the trade deadline. Known to be heading to the Trail Blazers in the trade, which was not complete, are a protected 2023 first-round pick and the out-of-the-rotation Cam Reddish, Ryan Arcidiacono and Svi Mykhailiuk.
Hart, a veteran wing, should help the Knicks’ struggling second unit — and create a question about who remains in a rotation that head coach Tom Thibodeau has boiled down to nine. Though maybe more moves will come after the acquisition of Hart, who was a Villanova teammate of Jalen Brunson (watch an elated Brunson react to news of the Hart trade).
Elsewhere Wednesday night, the Lakers, Timberwolves and Jazz reportedly finalized a three-team deal that sent D’Angelo Russell back to Los Angeles, along with Jarred Vanderbilt and Malik Beasley, as Los Angeles makes a push to get LeBron James and Anthony Davis help for a playoff run.
Mike Conley and Nickeil Alexander-Walker would head to Minnesota. Russell Westbrook ostensibly would be dealt to the Jazz, though they may buy out the guard. Utah also was set to receive a 2027 Lakers first-round pick, Juan Toscano-Anderson and Damian Jones. The trade was not yet official.
Postcard from Phoenix
The Post’s team of football writers are in Phoenix this week to cover the Super Bowl. What’s it like to be there and take in the sights and sounds leading up to the big game? This edition is from Mark Cannizzaro, who found a less football-focused slice of life:
Larry and Claudette Suderman were sitting in quiet conversation at the bar over a couple glasses of white wine and a pie for lunch on Wednesday at one of the most celebrated pizza joints in the country. Claudette turned to Larry at one point and said, “Oh, the Super Bowl is here this week?’’
Pizzeria Bianco sits in the epicenter of Super Bowl week in downtown Phoenix. The convention center where the massive NFL Experience takes place is a block away, Super Bowl 57 banners hang off of nearly every building and roads are blocked off the regulate the crowds.
Yet the Sudermans, who came from Manitoba, Canada and are spending three months in nearby Yuma, Ariz., to get away from the sub-freezing temps and snow, were oblivious to the Super Bowl buzz.
“We’re from Canada and I’m not a Super Bowl — that’s football, right? — I’m not a big sports fan,’’ Claudette said. “I had no idea. It’s quite busy around here.’’
“We were wondering why the hotels were so expensive and why everything is full and … oh, that’s why,” Larry added. “Now it makes sense.’’
Chris Bianco, the owner of Pizzeria Bianco and a native of The Bronx, was hanging out behind the bar while the Sudermans noshed on their pizza and drank their wine. Though though he won the James Beard Award for Best Chef Southwest in 2003 (the first pizzaiolo to receive the honor) and has been a fixture on food and restaurant television, Bianco is a man of the people, greeting customers on their way in and out of his restaurant. Pizzeria Bianco, which has been recognized by some publications as the best pizza in the country, regularly draws five-hour waits on the weekend — and that’s when it’s not Super Bowl week.
Read more from the Super Bowl:
🏈 Meet the Super Bowl’s most gifted person with the ‘voice of an angel’
🏈 Inside the secret talks and future of Tom Brady and Fox Sports
🏈 How Giants let this Eagles star slip away in 2021 draft
Good sense & sky hooks
One person in basketball history has been able to score like Kareem Abdul-Jabbar did. About as many can communicate as well as he does.
After LeBron James broke the Lakers legend’s points record Tuesday night, Abdul-Jabbar — whose relationship (or lack thereof) with LeBron has been speculated about plenty — explained in a Substack post why he’s thrilled a new record has been set and why he and James have never been close.
“It’s as if I won a billion dollars in a lottery and 39 years later someone won two billion dollars,” Abdul-Jabbar wrote. “How would I feel? Grateful that I won and happy that the next person also won. His winning in no way affects my winning.”
There would be good reason for Abdul-Jabbar to root against James. Just ask the 1972 Dolphins, who celebrate each year when another NFL team’s bid for perfection fails. But where others see competition, he sees hope for the future.
“That is the magic of sports,” Abdul-Jabbar wrote. “To see something seemingly impossible, reminding us that if one person can do it, then we all somehow share in that achievement. It is what sends children onto playgrounds to duplicate a LeBron layup or a Steph Curry three-pointer. Or Mia Hamm inspiring a whole generation of girls to come off the bleachers and onto the field.”
Abdul-Jabbar confirmed he and James do not talk much. LeBron is 38, Kareem is 75. They have basketball immortality in common, but that might be all that sits in the middle of their Venn diagram.
“LeBron said we don’t have a relationship. He’s right — and for that I blame myself. Not for anything I did, but perhaps for not making more of an effort to reach out to him,” Abdul-Jabbar wrote. “By nature I have never been a chummy, reaching-out kind of guy (as the media was always quick to point out). I’m quiet, shy, and am such a devoted homebody that you’d think I have agoraphobia. I like to read, watch TV, listen to jazz. That’s pretty much it. For the past 15 years my focus has been less on forming new relationships than on nurturing my old friendships with people like Magic, Michael Cooper, Jerry West, and so on.”
Abdul-Jabbar stopped winning games and kept winning in life.
Numbers to know: The legend of Kareem
As the basketball world celebrates the ascension of LeBron James to the top of the NBA’s all-time scoring list, we thought it would also be appropriate to recognize the man he passed on that list, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, and highlight a few of his (sometimes overlooked) feats:
11,703: The gap in total points scored between Abdul-Jabbar (38,387) and the next closest active player, Kevin Durant (26,684). At his current scoring average of 27.3 ppg, Durant would need another 429 games to pass Kareem. That’s the equivalent of another 5-plus seasons, without injuries.
1,430: The lead Abdul-Jabbar has in all-time blocks over the closest active player, Serge Ibaka. Kareem’s total of 3,189 ranks third all-time behind Hakeem Olajuwon and Dikembe Mutombo.
6,857: The number of rebounds James would have to gather to catch Abdul-Jabbar’s total of 17,440, fourth-all-time. At James’ current pace of 7.5 rebounds per game, that would require another 915 games.
57,446: The number of minutes Abdul-Jabbar logged in the NBA, still No. 1 all-time. That would take James another 102 games to surpass if he is somehow able to maintain his 2022-23 season average of 36.4 minutes per game (at age 38).
1: The number of 3-pointers Abdul-Jabbar made in his 20-year career, out of 18 total attempts.
— Paul Forrester
What to watch on Thursday 📺
The WM Phoenix Open, first round, 3:30 p.m., GOLF Channel
The first big tournament of the year on the revised PGA Tour schedule features 22 of the top 25 players in the world rankings, including No. 1 Rory McIlroy in his 2023 debut, No. 2 (and defending champion) Scottie Scheffler and the scorching-hot Jon Rahm, who is a Scottsdale resident playing in his backyard.
Iowa at Indiana, 6:30 p.m., BTN
Iowa star Caitlin Clark is worth the price of admission, which is approximately zero dollars in this case as long as you have a cable package. The junior point guard and front-runner for national player of the year — not to mention potential No. 1 pick in the 2024 WNBA draft — ranks second in the country with 27.6 points and 8.2 assists per game and adds 8.0 rebounds and a couple of logo 3s each night while she’s at it. Oh, and this is a top-five matchup between the No. 2 Hoosiers and the No. 5 Hawkeyes in the loaded Big Ten.
Bulls at Nets, 7:30 p.m., TNT
The aftermath. What are the vibes in Brooklyn after the Durant trade? Is Cam Thomas trying to put up an improbable fourth consecutive 40-point game or Spencer Dinwiddie and Dorian Finney-Smith making their Nets debuts enough to draw folks to Barclays Center? This is the first game of the rest of Nets history, and it will be interesting to see where they go from here.
NFL Honors, 9 p.m., NBC
This awards ceremony in Phoenix has the potential to be a banner night for the Jets: Garrett Wilson and Sauce Gardner are in position to win the NFL’s Offensive and Defensive Rookie of the Year awards, respectively, and franchise pillars Darrelle Revis and Joe Klecko are among the candidates to be included in the Pro Football Hall of Fame’s next class. Also: the Giants’ Brian Daboll has a good chance to be named the Coach of the Year.
— Jonathan Lehman
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