We spend the weeks before the Super Bowl watching loops of highlights and anticipating how popular brands will use their four-million-dollar ad slots, but rarely do we do both at the same time. However, this year is special. After we’ve trampled on all obvious storylines—the retirement of Ray Lewis, Harbaugh genetics, Kaepernicking, etc.—the real clue to Super Bowl XLVII may come down to a pair of Visa commercials from five months ago.

Visa launched their NFL Fan Offers campaign in the fall, giving football fiends the chance to win prizes like Super Bowl tickets or a hangout session with John Madden. To promote the program, Visa ran two significant commercials: one for the Baltimore Ravens, and one for the San Francisco 49ers. With respect to DVR, you may be vaguely aware of NFL Fan Offers, because FOX and CBS ran the commercials so many times each Sunday that I was almost ready to petition for the “Can You Hear Me Now?” guy to come back in their place.

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