When celebrations collide

Today is one of those rare occasions when two unofficial holidays on the calendars of many Americans collide.

It is a day marked by very significant events, and many people are sure to have more than a casual interest in their outcomes.

For, in addition to being Groundhog Day, today is Super Bowl Sunday.

We were watching anxiously this morning as rodents regionally, nationally and internationally famous emerged from their burrows and offered their take on the long-term forecast for the rest of winter. It’s a grouping led by the most famous and accurate prognosticator of them all, Punxsutawney Phil, and while he and some of his fellow woodchucks sometimes disagree, fans across the nation and the world turned the spotlight on many small towns this morning.

Whose forecast is right? Is it Phil’s? What about the thoughts offered by French Creek Freddy, Buckeye Chuck, Gen. Beauregard Lee, Dunkirk Dave, Potomac Phil (in reality a taxidermied imposter) or Wiarton Willie — who calls Bruce County, Ontario, home?

And, not too long after after all of the hoopla about the groundhog has settled, we’ll gather once again, to watch San Francisco and Kansas City face off in Super Bowl LIV. The 49ers will be making their seventh appearance in the Big Game, having won the Lombardi Trophy five times — one less than the Steelers and Patriots, who each have won six times.

Kansas City, meanwhile, will be making its first appearance in the Super Bowl in 50 years.

They’ll play in Miami, the 11th time the Super Bowl has been contested in South Florida, on a day that a growing number of Americans think should be considered a national holiday.

Both of today’s big events are important. While the Super Bowl marks the end of the NFL season, the appearance of the groundhog looks ahead to spring, warmer weather and sun-filled skies.

It’s also a day when it’s good to not get too caught up in all of the hoopla. Keep that in mind, and remember that no matter what the groundhogs said this morning, spring will arrive six weeks from now at 11:50 p.m. on March 19, the Pirates’ pitchers and catchers report to Bradenton, Fla., for the start of spring training on Feb. 10 and we are more than one year away from Super Bowl LV, which will be played Feb. 7, 2021, in Tampa, Fla.