After 51 consecutive Sundays without a Super Bowl, a "big game"-starved nation will finally have their prayers answered this weekend when the San Francisco 49ers and Kansas City Chiefs meet at Super Bowl 54 down in Miami. The biggest day on the American sports calendar means one of the biggest traffic surges for online publishers, who have debased themselves year after year in pursuit of the honor of answering the following question more often than their competitors: What time does the dang game start?
This para-contest began nine years ago after the Huffington Post stumbled into SEO gold and did monster traffic on a legendary post now only accessible through the Internet Archive entitled "What Time Does The Superbowl Start?" If you would like to know what time the game starts, well, too bad. You have arrived at the wrong blog post, and also you’re an adult, you can figure it out with a simple Google of your own. Rather, herein lies the answer to an even better question: What time does "What time does the Superbowl start?" start? This is a trickier question to answer than it should be, as several publications—looking at you, CBS Sports—update old posts to gasp for air atop the Google search results. Thankfully, cached versions of most posts exist. To the scorecards!
Country Living: January 7, 12:07 a.m.
Bleacher Report: January 16, 3:00 a.m.
Bleacher Report: January 19, 4:44 p.m.
Bleacher Report: January 19, 5:02 p.m.
Bleacher Report: January 20, 2:00 a.m.
Newsweek: January 20, 4:20 a.m.
Bleacher Report: January 20, 5:00 a.m.
Fox News: January 20, 6:12 a.m.
Washington Post: January 20, 9:48 p.m.
Los Angeles Times: January 21, 11:06 a.m.
Bleacher Report: January 27, 7:00 a.m.
Bleacher Report: January 27, 8:04 a.m.
TechRadar: January 28, 8:14 a.m.
SB Nation: January 28, 11:00 a.m.
Bleacher Report: January 29, 5:00 a.m.
Cosmopolitan: January 29, 8:02 a.m.
The Oregonian: January 29, 12:10 p.m.
For The Win: January 29, 12:29 p.m.
USA Today: January 29, 1:09 p.m.
Business Insider: January 29, 1:15 p.m.
Sporting News: January 29, 4:55 p.m.
Sports Illustrated: January 30, 5:34 a.m.
Bleacher Report: January 30, 8:00 a.m.
NBC Sports: January 30, 3:01 p.m.
CBS Sports: January 30, 11:00 a.m.
CBS Sports: January 30, 12:00 p.m.
Oprah Magazine: January 30, 2:56 p.m.
CBS Sports: January 30, 3:30 p.m.
NBC Sports: January 30, 3:30 p.m.
Sporting News: January 30, 3:30 p.m.
Newsday: January 30, 3:45 p.m.
NBC Sports: January 30, 5:09 p.m.
CBS Sports: January 30, 5:25 p.m.
CBS Sports: January 30, 8:15 p.m.
CBS Sports: January 30, 8:25 p.m.
CBS Sports: January 30, 9:00 p.m.
CBS Sports: January 30, 9:30 p.m.
NJ.com: January 31, 8:37 a.m.
CBS Sports: January 31, 9:25 a.m.
CBS Sports: January 31, 10:00 a.m.
As usual, Bleacher Report’s former dominance has given way to another year of on top for CBS Sports. The breadth of outlets getting in on the game has narrowed compared to previous years, with all due respect to Cosmo and Oprah’s magazine. This could be due to some kind of switch in the algorithm that only CBS has cracked, which makes sense from Google’s perspective since they give you the actual start time right at the top of the page for every possible related search term (“football time,” “kickoff time big game,” “chiefs niners start time” etc.). Enjoy the big game, whenever it starts.