WASHINGTON — The Super Bowl is an overhyped, commercialized waste of a Sunday evening that serves only as an ode to violence, greed, testosterone and cheating to get ahead, glorifying the absolute worst aspects of contemporary America.
God, how we love it!
And so do the celebrities who walk among us.
More than 115 big names from entertainment, news, sports and politics have predicted the winner of the big game and its final score -- we don't make it easy -- in the 2013 Scripps Celebrity Super Bowl Poll. The pick: San Francisco, baby.
Whichever star picks the right team and gets closest to the final score will be crowned this year's Super Sage, succeeding Detroit Tigers ace right-hander Justin Verlander, who correctly picked the New York Giants last season. Since the poll began in 1986, the glitterati have nailed the Lombardi Trophy winner 18 times.
Incoming Secretary of State John Kerry, who took time out from his recent confirmation experience, and "The Donald," businessman Donald Trump, are among those going with San Francisco.
Kerry acknowledged that his prognostication efforts are often imperfect -- noting his mistaken expectation a few years back of going to bed one night and waking up the next day as the president-elect.
"As a Patriots fan, part of me wishes they could both lose. But I have to move on," Kerry said. "If I had to predict one, I'd say the 49ers pull it off 27-21, but, then again, I got out of the predictions business after November 2004."
Trump, who picked the 49ers 24-21, was unusually succinct: "Great defense."
Despite the obvious X's and O's expertise on display, you may not want to bet the paycheck on some of the forecasts.
"I have a 5-year-old daughter, so I've stopped following sports, so I don't even know who's playing," said actor Evan Handler of Showtime's "Californication." "Um, well, at least go with the East Coast, I guess. The Ravens. Score? I haven't got a clue."
Tobin Bell, who plays Jigsaw in the mayhem-filled "Saw" movies, enlisted a higher authority to declare the Ravens a 47-24 winner.
"I held a Ouija board to my head and the score jumped out at me," he said. "Who am I to argue with spirits?"
And who are we to argue with Jigsaw? He can be a mean dude.
Many of those siding with the 49ers cited the emergence of quarterback Colin Kaepernick, who seemed to arise from nowhere, using both his arm and his legs, to lead San Francisco into the grand finale.
"I'll tell you who I want. I want the kid, what's his name, Copernicus?" said actor Richard Schiff (Toby in "The West Wing"), elevating the second-year man out of the University of Nevada to the exalted status of a 16th-century Polish astronomer who theorized that the planets revolved around the sun.
"Yeah, his name is Copernicus from here on out,'' said Schiff, who predicted a 38-34 San Fran win, adding, "It's something about this 21st-century-quarterback thing. They can run, they can pass, they can do everything. It's exciting to watch."
Olympic gymnast Jordyn Wieber, who knows a bit about winning, backs the 49ers because "they have more passion and focus." Take that, blackbirds!
Those opting for the Ravens generally cited the influence of linebacker Ray Lewis, considered one of the all-time greats even before he started dousing himself with deer-antler-velvet spray (don't ask), who is playing his final game Sunday after 17 years in the NFL.
"My pick will be the Ravens," said saxophonist Branford Marsalis. "I think they have consistently played well on both sides of the ball, and Ray Lewis' retirement has them playing with even more energy."
This year, adding even more legitimacy to the proceedings, the poll can cite a highly placed source in the intelligence community. Former CIA Director Mike Hayden, who served in that position under Presidents George W. Bush and Barack Obama, is calling it for the Niners.
"Pretty evenly matched teams," Hayden said. "But SF's defense will keep an inconsistent Flacco in check. And in the second half, Kaepernick's mobility will punish an aging Baltimore defense."
No telling what sort of Black Ops were used to draw this conclusion.
But really, isn't Super Bowl Sunday just about the food? Nia Vardalos, writer and star of "My Big Fat Greek Wedding," says she doesn't even know who's playing Sunday.
"I'm going to a party," she said. "All I know is I'm bringing the chicken wings."
(Contact Bill Straub at email@example.com.)
(Distributed by Scripps Howard News Service, shns.com.)