This Sunday's big game may be headlined by million-dollar athletes' touchdown dances and billion-dollar companies' hit-or-miss commercials, but America's hard-working hourly workers have been the game's biggest supporters since the days of leather helmets and 50-cent hot dogs.
When you watch the game with 162.9 million of your friends and loved ones this Sunday, keep an eye out for the special workers we’re highlighting below. And remember, any 50-cent hot dog you find in 2012 is best paired with a $5 antacid.
4. The world-famous beer man
Any stadium, any sport: The beer man is the stadium's most popular, overworked beverage vendor. And then there is Michael Lewis, the former Budweiser beer truck driver turned speedy NFL wide receiver and return man for the New Orleans Saints. Lewis, who never played football in college, brought the best Cinderella story to the gridiron since Rudy suited up for Notre Dame. The record-setting "Beer Man" now serves as the Saints’ ambassador. We hope they've hooked him up with some fancy new wheels; beer trucks get worse gas mileage than space shuttles.
3. The crusty stagehand
It will take more than 500 workers to rig the sets, lighting and sound for Sunday’s halftime show alone. Stagehands work an 85-hour week leading up to the event, making a very respectable $24/hour. Those hours can make one weak and famished. Luckily, our hungry carpenters and electricians had the Material Girl herself, Madonna, to buy them all Papa John's pizza. Madonna will be performing at the halftime show this Sunday when we're eating pizza - except we have to buy our own.
2. Stars for a day
When you see Hyundai's commercial spot featuring its Alabama factory and 200 employees humming the "Rocky" theme song, get pumped. The Hollywood big shots could have cast real actors for the commercial, including James Vanderbeek, Jessica Simpson, Morgan Freeman and 197 others. But they instead chose to go with the real workers, who proved to be naturals. You know what would be funny? Teaching James Vanderbeek, Jessica Simpson, Morgan Freeman and 197 other actors how to build a car. If anything worked, hopefully it would be the airbags.
1. Pigskin packers
Here is something you've probably never, ever thought of while ordering nachos on a Sunday, shuffling around your fantasy football line-up or day-dreaming about Tom Brady: hey, where do footballs come from, anyways? A leather-chapped stork? No. Famous football coach Vince Lombardi’s garden? Not quite. A factory in the tiny town of Ada, Ohio? Ding ding! Since 1941, every football used has been handmade by the plant workers at Wilson. And this year, when the big game is played just down the long, winding road in Indianapolis, the footballs will have a homecoming, of sorts. So will the employees; Wilson is taking them all to Indianapolis.
Enjoy the big game. And if you're working, we hope the game is completely unwatchable and utterly boring. You'll have a better Monday morning than the rest of us.