The following is a schedule of activities that players, coaches, and officials engage in at the Super Bowl site.
- Sunday evening (or Monday morning) - Teams arrive on site. When the Super Bowl and conference championship games were separated by only one week, arrival was typically on Monday afternoons. Also, in the past two games, the starting dates have been staggered. The Indianapolis Colts arrived on Monday morning of Super Bowl XLI, after the Chicago Bears ' Sunday night arrival. The year before, the Pittsburgh Steelers waited until Monday to get to the site of Super Bowl XL, while the Seattle Seahawks had already spent Sunday night in Detroit. Both the Steelers and the Colts explained their decisions by saying that an extra day in their own cities was better for preparation and focus than the NFL's prescribed plan (and coincidentally, both teams won their respective games).
- Monday - The teams practice for the first time. All practice sessions are held at pre-determined venues and are closed to the public and also to the media, with the exception of an NFL Films camera crew and pool reporters. A series of press conferences follows.
- Tuesday - On "Media Day," all players and coaches are required to attend and answer questions from media members assembled on the field at the game venue. Estimates of the size of the media crowd range upwards of 3,000.
- Wednesday and Thursday - More practices and press conferences are held.
- Friday - The commissioner of the NFL (currently Roger Goodell) gives a "State of the NFL" address, then answers questions from the media. Also, the team's head coaches appear at the last pregame press conference. After that, no one participating in the game will make a public appearance before Sunday's kickoff.
- Saturday - No activities by players or coaches are scheduled. The calendar is dominated by special events (see below) and by celebrity appearances.
- Sunday - The game kicks off at about 6:25 p.m. Eastern time. Teams leave from their hotels several hours before that. (It should be noted that teams often switch en masse from one hotel to another during the weekend to protect their privacy.) The televised pregame show begins at 2 p.m. Eastern time and the last few minutes are devoted to an entertainment show. Following are the team introductions, " The Star-Spangled Banner," and the coin toss. Halftime entertainment and the postgame trophy ceremony follow.
- Monday - The winning coach and the game's most valuable player appear at one final press conference in the morning.
It's not just about football, though.
There are many annual events that are conducted in association with the game. The NFL Experience is a theme park -like attraction that aims to share the excitement of the game with those who cannot buy tickets to see it. The attraction includes football-themed games, skills challenges, and special events. Proceeds go toward the NFL's initiative of afterschool education.
- Taste of the NFL is a food sampling event that has been held annually since 1992. The menu includes items from every city or area with a NFL team. Guests sit at tables alongside current and former players. Proceeds benefit America's Second Harvest and other hunger relief programs.
- The NFL Alumni has an annual "Player of the Year" dinner honoring top players and raising money for its charitable efforts. In recent years, the organization has expanded its Super Bowl week lineup to include bowling and golf tournaments.
- The Super Bowl Gospel Celebration combines gospel music performances and Christian testimonies from athletes and celebrities.
- A recent addition has been a " block party " held the night (or more) before the game. This features food and live entertainment and is free to the public. The Super Bowl XLI block party was a three-day event; however, the Super Bowl XLII host committee will only stage a one-night event, "Super Bowl Saturday Night," at Tempe Town Lake.
- The Pepsi Super Smash concert series is another recent addition, in which top recording artists perform at an adjacent venue. The events are televised.
- Since 2004, a gala, black-tie "welcome event" has been held in each city. The first, which was held in Houston, Texas, was hosted by Jim Nantz of CBS Sports and featured comments by former president George H.W. Bush.
- Other events may be added by local organizers. For example, in 2007, "Spike," the mascot of the SB XLII host committee, held a tour of 42 different cities in the state of Arizona (42 = XLII in Roman numerals). At each stop, usually a public event or festival, Spike gave out a game ball to a city official. The last game ball was to presented to the city of Glendale at the opening of the NFL Experience on January 26, 2008. ]
The Super Bowl has been designated a National Special Security Event by the United States Secret Service and the Department of Homeland Security every year since 2002, the year of Super Bowl XXXVI. That means that the stadium and surrounding area face increased security measures, especially on game day. Among other things, this means that the once-ubiquitous blimps (according to NFL Films ' Steve Sabol, Super Bowl XXI had four of them) have been grounded.
So now you know (sorta) what goes on during Super Bowl week and afterward. It's fun. It's a lot of hard work. But for the city that hosts it, it publicity, tax revenue and exposure for years to come. Even with a wardrobe malfunction.