Winter storm could have impact on Super Bowl XLIV

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. -- No chance of any flakes falling at the Super Bowl. Still, a brutal winter storm that buried Mid-Atlantic residents under several feet of snow could have a big impact on the big game Sunday.

With power and cable television knocked out for hundreds of thousands of residents Saturday, some were fretting about what to do if it wasn't back on in time for Sunday's 6:20 p.m. ET kickoff.

"That's the first thing I thought when I came downstairs this morning," said Lou Kozloff, a vascular surgeon in Rockville, Md., "I was like, 'Oh nuts, I'm going to miss the game tomorrow.'"

The storm could cut down on CBS' expected audience to watch MVP Peyton Manning and the Indianapolis Colts take on the New Orleans Saints in what is traditionally the most-watched event of the year. Then again, if power is restored, the network could benefit from an audience that's even more captive than usual.

CBS officials did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

Kozloff's house had power, but his cable was out -- and he had little hope of it being repaired by Sunday. So, he was already coming up with an old-school plan for viewing the game.

"I think I'm going to be able to find some rabbit ears ... and be able to watch on some dinky TV," Kozloff said. "It's kind of disappointing."

Hall of Fame linebacker Jack Ham, who won four Super Bowl championships with the Steelers, spent Saturday trying to fly back to his home in suburban Pittsburgh. Only one problem: The TV in the family house was out.

"I'm sure somewhere in Pittsburgh will have power where people can watch the game," he said by cell phone from the Las Vegas airport.

Stephanie Novak of Bala-Cynwyd, Pa., a suburb of Philadelphia, said her TV still worked but she fretted about the cable being knocked out by the weight of all the snow and ice accumulating on power lines.

Also, her plans to have a big Super Bowl party for family and friends were in serious doubt because she hadn't been able to get to the grocery store. So much for her husband's "famous wings" and the pulled-pork sandwiches that were on the menu.

Even if Novak had a full pantry, there's no guarantee all her planned guests would be able to make it. Many roads were closed as crews struggled to keep the roads plowed; Novak said she's not even able to get her car out of the driveway.

"It's a great football game, and we would be upset if we missed it," she said. "But it's also about having family and friends over.

"Obviously, it's so much more than a football game."

Copyright 2010 by The Associated Press

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