Programming note: Watch coverage of today’s Super Bowl announcement LIVE NOW on CSN Bay Area, or streaming LIVE NOW on CSNBayArea.com
Welcome in advance, America. From us to you, here at Ground Zero of the 50th Super Bowl, from the moment your plane hits the tarmac to the moment you replane, let us be your guides to the manifest joys of ingress, egress, access and excess that will inundate you when you arrive.
In about a thousand days. That should give you enough time to plan, with a bit guidance, your trip to our place.
Or, more accurately, our places.
If the game is held on Feb. 7, 2016, it will be 993 days from now. If it is the week after, and the NFL has never been shy about extending its schedule, it will be an even 1,000. How very serendipitous of them.
But whatever the number, you should understand that things are kind of spread out here, more than it looks on your average Google Map. You're probably staying in San Francisco so, if you're going to the game, leave a few hours. Traffic is likely to be unkind unless you shuttle.
Then again, if you want to go north to the Wine Country, leave a couple of hours, too. Same for Carmel, Big Sur and Clint Eastwood's front lawn. And if you want Lake Tahoe, figure four, minimum. What we¹re saying here is, rent a car, and don't plan on using it on game day.
You should also save up for this trip, because we do like to extract tourist money. We're actually quite good at it, to the point where we have extended this skill to things like real estate, food, clothing and education. It's the price we pay for not living in lung-crushing humidity, so you'll end up paying it too in short, plan on some sticker shock.
Pack for everything. We have microclimates, a fancy meteorologist's way of saying you can actually sweat like a team of oxen while freezing half to death. Think of it as 144-hour malaria, and it won't seem so bad. So yes, bathing suits and parkas are the order of the day.
You will eat well wherever you stay, and you will walk off those calories because parking will be problematic. It¹s problematic now, so for Super Bowl week, it will be borderline laughable. If you're eating in town, take a cab. If you're heading for one of our many friendly bridges, then you can get the rental car out of the valet lot, where it will sit at a nice round nightly figure that will make you cry.
If you are just coming for the experience, well, these things typically don¹t get crowded until Friday, so come early. You'll have a fighting chance of seeing things without waiting in statuary lines, and that will not be possible come the weekend, when the fans of the teams come in.
Oh, and if you come because your team is in it, feel free to wear whatever team accoutrements you wish. Especially if the 49ers and Raiders aren¹t in the game. If one of them makes it, you may find that the locals are not quite as enthusiastic about your arrivals. But other than the odd "(Your Team Here) Sucks," you¹ll be fine.
And if neither local team is a participant, expect a lot of "Oh, who cares?" from the locals. Like every other place on earth, we learn toward the provincial, so if you start chanting, "Let¹s Go (Your Team Here)," you may hear a response like "Get Off My Lawn Or I¹ll Call The Cops."
We're funny that way.
I mean, we're great hosts and all swell folks, every manjack of us but big sporting events that don't directly involve us can be a bit of a lukewarm sell because we just don't have all that much experience at it. The only other Super Bowl ever held here featured the 49ers, and the only other parallel for massive infusions of outworlders was the 1994 World Cup and even then, we only got one-ninth of the business.
We've had the America's Cup and the X Games and a fairly recent Major League All-Star Game, which are pretty location-neutral events, but for the most part, we are fairly new to this sort of thing. We're quick learners, though, and in the thousand or so days before kickoff, we will be as charming as hell. You'll really come to like us, and we will do our gosh-darnedest to like you, too.
That'll be $135.50, please. And don't look so shocked. We're just trying to get you in the Super Bowl spirit.
Ray Ratto is a columnist for CSNBayArea.com.