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Super Bowl Sunday [cont.]

Urban legends, myths of the Super Bowl

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2. Increase in spousal abuse?

The allegation that violence against women increases on Super Sunday, first raised by the watchdog group Fairness and Accuracy in Reporting, remains controversial because the only evidence ever put forth to support it was anecdotal. Cecil "The Straight Dope" Adams lays out the skeptical side of the story in a column dated April 2000, and About.com's own Buddy T. rebuts the skeptics in his 2001 coverage of what has come to be characterized as a "good ol' boys' backlash."

3. Spike in avocado sales?

Without question, the Super Bowl is one of the major events accounting for the largest share of avocado sales annually — 69.6 million pounds was the figure projected for last year's Big Game — but not the major event. According to the California Avocado Association, Cinco de Mayo now ranks first in holiday avocado sales in the U.S. (source: The Packer).

4. Most pizza deliveries in a single day?

True. In 2008, Domino's alone projected home deliveries of more than 1.2 million pizzas on Super Bowl Sunday, a 30 percent increase over normal Sunday traffic. Papa John's projected a 50 percent increase. "Pizza has become to Super Bowl Sunday what eggs are to Easter. Or candy canes to Christmas," reported USA Today in 2004. AP crunched the 2011 numbers.

5. Disneyland / Disney World become ghost towns?

False. Business at the theme parks is slower on Super Bowl Sunday than on typical weekend days in January, but "not much slower," a Disney spokesperson has been quoted as saying (on MSNBC).

6. Super Bowl outcome a stock market indicator?

To date, it has been accurate more often than not, says Forbes. "The theory holds that when a team from the original National Football League wins the championship, stocks rise," explains Forbes writer John Dubosz. "When a team from the now-defunct American Football League wins, that's bearish." The so-called Super Bowl Indicator has an astonishing 85% success rate — not that I'd recommend staking your portfolio on it.

Find out more:

MSNBC's Bill Briggs surveys these and other Super Bowl legends with a more caustic eye in "Super Bull," as does Charlie Patton of the Florida Times-Union. Economist Mike Moffat debunks an urban legend holding that the outcome of the big game predicts overall economic growth for the year. Cecil Adams plumbs the depths of the toilet flushing legend, and while he's at it reveals what became of that guy who used to hold up the John 3:16 signs at televised ball games — not that you should necessarily care.

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