As the beer cools and the testosterone surges on this mega-day of professional football, a network of feminist activists has orchestrated a national campaign to ask males to stop beating their wives and girlfriends after the Super Bowl.

In an effort to combat what the Associated Press and CBS have labeled a "day of dread" for women, the organizers have prevailed on NBC, broadcaster of the Super Bowl, to air a public service announcement against wife-beating before tonight's big game. "Domestic violence is a crime," the announcer intones.

Despite their dramatic claims, none of the activists appears to have any evidence that a link actually exists between football and wife-beating. Yet the concept has gained such credence that their campaign has rolled on anyway, unabated. Last week, it produced:A news conference near Super Bowl Central in Pasadena, Calif., declaring Super Bowl Sunday "the biggest day of the year for violence against women." An interview on "Good Morning America" in which Denver psychiatrist Lenore Walker claimed to have compiled a 10-year record of violent incidents against women on Super Bowl Sundays. A story in the Boston Globe declaring that women's shelters and violence hot lines are "flooded with more calls from victims {on Super Bowl Sunday} than any day of the year." Announcement of a nationwide phone bank to field calls about domestic violence during the Super Bowl and seek funds for the phone bank, by Fairness and Accuracy in Reporting (FAIR), a media watchdog group with an active feminist wing. A public relations mailing from Dobisky Associates in Keene, N.H., warning at-risk women: "Don't remain alone with him during the game."

Some experts on domestic violence, however, are dubious.

"You're dealing in an area where there's a lot more folklore than fact," said David Silber, chairman of the Department of Psychology at George Washington University and a longtime scholar of domestic violence. "I know of no study documenting any such link" between football and/or Super Bowls and domestic violence. "And I know the literature very well."

"I don't think anybody has any systematic data on any of this," said Charles Patrick Ewing, a forensic psychologist and author of "Battered Women Who Kill."

Yet Ewing is quoted in the release from Dobisky Associates declaring "Super Bowl Sunday is one day in the year when hot lines, shelters and other agencies that work with battered women get the most reports and complaints of domestic violence."

"I never said that," Ewing said. "I don't know that to be true."

Told of Ewing's response, Frank Dobisky acknowledged that the quote should have read "one of the days of the year." That could mean one of many days in the year.

The news conference in Pasadena Thursday cited a study purporting to document a link between domestic violence in Northern Virginia and games played by the Washington Redskins in 1988-89.

According to an AP story on the conference, Sheila Kuehl, managing lawyer of the California Women's Law Center, said a study by sociologists at Old Dominion University in Norfolk found police reports of beatings and hospital admissions in Northern Virginia rose 40 percent after games won by the Washington Redskins during those years.

But when asked about that assertion, Janet Katz, professor of sociology and criminal justice at Old Dominion and one of the authors of that study, said "that's not what we found at all. "

One of the most notable findings, she said, was that an increase of emergency room admissions "was not associated with the occurrence of football games in general, nor with watching a team lose." When they looked at win days alone, however, they found that the number of women admitted for gunshot wounds, stabbings, assaults, falls, lacerations and wounds from being hit by objects was slightly higher than average. But certainly not 40 percent.

"These are interesting but very tentative findings, suggesting what violence there is from males after football may spring not from a feeling of defensive insecurity, which you'd associate with a loss, but from the sense of empowerment following a win. We found that significant. But it certainly doesn't support what those women are saying in Pasadena," Katz said.

Kuehl, who described the study at the news conference in Pasadena, could not be reached at her office. She later returned the call but did not leave a number where she could be reached.

Linda Mitchell of FAIR, who appeared at the news conference with Kuehl and made similar links between domestic violence and Super Bowl Sunday, said she recognized at the time that Kuehl was misrepresenting the Old Dominion study.

Did she, as a representative of Fairness and Accuracy in Reporting, challenge her colleague?

"I wouldn't do that in front of the media," Mitchell said. "She has a right to report it as she wants."

And what of psychiatrist Walker, who made the case on "Good Morning America" for the link between domestic violence and football? She was out of town when called Friday, but her office referred callers to Michael Lindsey, a Denver psychotherapist and authority on battered women.

"I haven't been any more successful than you in tracking down any of this," Lindsey said.

And the Boston Globe article, citing "one study of women's shelters out west" that "showed a 40 percent climb in calls" to shelters and hot lines on Super Bowl Sunday?

Globe reporter Lynda Gorov said she never saw the study but had been told about it by FAIR. FAIR's Mitchell said the authority on it was Walker. Walker's office referred callers to Lindsey.

"You think," Lindsey asked, "maybe we have one of these myth things here?"

Could be. Part of what's going on, apparently, is the twin phenomena of media convergence and media orchestration, in which causists show up wherever the most TV lenses are focused, hoping to piggyback their message out to a global audience of millions.

Said author/psychologist Ewing: "It's true there may be an agenda on the part of some people to have this issue put forward just now. They can force NBC to put on those {public service} spots."

In her appearance on "Good Morning America" with Walker, FAIR Women's Desk coordinator Laura Flanders said NBC's broadcast of the public service spot was the result of a "nationwide campaign" mobilized by FAIR and groups like the Women's Action Coalition and "national and statewide anti-domestic violence coalitions."

However, NBC spokesman Curt Block said the anti-abuse coalition was "only one of many groups hoping to get their message out to the very large Super Bowl audience" and said NBC made the decision to help them "because their cause is a good one" and not because of any link, real or imagined, between domestic violence and football.

As for the anecdotal evidence of such a link that the advocates cite, Ewing said, "I think the best you could do would be to go to some women's shelters and ask people."

Dan Byrne, coordinator for domestic violence at the House of Ruth here in the District, said "we've never run any figures" on such things after the Super Bowl or Redskins games. If there had been the sort of major yearly increase feminist critics of the Super Bowl were describing, wouldn't it have come to his attention?

"Well, yes." And had it? "No."

Grace Osini, educational coordinator at the District shelter called My Sister's Place, said flatly that her shelter has noted "no increase at all" in calls or admissions after either the Super Bowl or any other football game. "I'm a sociologist myself," she said. "When I heard those figures on television, they didn't add up to me either."

"You know," Lindsey said, "I hate this. I've devoted 14 years of my life trying to bring to the public's attention the very serious problem of battered women. And when people make crazy statements like this, the credibility of the whole cause can go right out the window."