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Taking stock of the big game
Viewers reasons vary, but bowl is super spectacle
stock up 1 jd
Wal-Mart associate Keith Moulder stocks a shelf with potato chips as the Cumming store prepares for the Super Bowl rush. - photo by Jim Dean
Super Bowl one of top five 'food occasions,' see Business.
He wakes up to ESPN in the morning and checks sports updates online when he gets home.

Sure, Griffin Caracciolo is just 11 years old, but he knows his stuff. Especially when it comes to the Pittsburgh Steelers, who face the Arizona Cardinals on Sunday in Super Bowl XLIII.

The die-hard fan, who attended Steelers training camp last summer, was confident early on that his team could be Super Bowl bound. But it was a game against the Dallas Cowboys that sealed the deal.

“They beat them in the fourth quarter down by 17 points,” Caracciolo said.

For Pam Rainwater-Law, Sunday isn’t about statistics or the pressure of a big game. Rainwater is rooting for the Cardinals to honor her late mother, Claudia.

“My mother, who passed away a few weeks ago, her favorite bird was the cardinal. Everything in her world was cardinals,” she said. “So in her memory, I’m going for the Cardinals, because that’s what she would want me to do.”

Regardless of their reasons, Caracciolo and Rainwater-Law will be among the countless Forsyth County residents tuning in to the media spectacle that is the Super Bowl. Kickoff is set for 6:30 p.m. on NBC.

Some viewers watch for the commercials, others the halftime extravaganza. For still others, it’s an occasion to gather with family and friends.

Rainwater-Law’s allegiance to Arizona spans just a couple of years, but it’s strong enough to pit her against her husband, Bob Law, who favors the Atlanta Falcons.

“We’re a house divided,” she said. “He’s mad because the Cardinals beat the Falcons [in the playoffs].”

Rainwater will watch the game with a dozen or so friends from Browns Bridge Community Church.

While this year’s game has more meaning, Rainwater said she’s “always watched Super Bowls, mostly for the commercials because I was in advertising for so long.”

Rainwater said her favorite Super Bowl commercial was from 1985 when Michael J. Fox magically drank from a photocopied can of Pepsi.

An aunt and uncle steered Caracciolo toward the Steelers. And for nearly half his life now, he has followed the team, even attending four games.

While Cardinals quarterback Kurt Warner is a former Super Bowl champion, Caracciolo is quick to note 20 Steelers players have also won a title.

He expects Pittsburgh to triumph Sunday by 10 points, though he wouldn’t be surprised if they won by as many as 30.

“They have the No. 1 defense in the NFL,” he said. “The No. 1 against the pass and the No. 2 against the rush. Their offense isn’t as good as their defense, they only average up to 300 yards a game, but their defense has only allowed 300 yards in one game.”

That defense will be tested by the Cardinals potent passing attack, which has carried this year’s surprise team.

If they win the Super Bowl, however, it won’t surprise Rainwater-Law.

Her prediction for Sunday? Cardinals, 27-24.

E-mail Jennifer Sami at jennifersami@forsythnews.com.