More than unemployment figures. More than exports and imports. More than inflation or housing prices and the cost of the new iPhone with Verizon service, the most dissected number in the country over the next two weeks will be the point spread for Super Bowl XLV between the Green Bay Packers and Pittsburgh Steelers.
So, let's dissect, shall we?
All week long, heading into the AFC and NFC Championship Games, I had been getting e-mails from bookmakers and analysts predicting what the likely spread in any of the possible matchups would be. Consistently, in a Green Bay Packers-Pittsburgh Steelers showdown, the Packers were anywhere from a 1.5- to a 3-point favorite. And, sure enough, after the Packers dispatched the Chicago Bears in the NFC title game, most books were speculating that Green Bay would open as a 2.5-point favorite over the Steelers (and a four-point fave over the New York Jets but, well, that is moot now).