For the price of a Super Bowl ticket, $75, I could live my remaining athletic years in peace. For the price of a single Super Bowl ticket, I could buy a putting stroke.

No longer would cries of anguish roll across the entire golf course, and at least one county line, when a two-foot putt failed to even lip out. No longer would putters be launched toward Pluto. For $75, a brilliant golf doctor surely would prescribe proper relief; soon, balls would routinely be slam-dunked.

Unless the golf doctor shook his head and said: "Son, you're terminal."

Anyway, that is what I would do with what it costs to watch Super Bowl XX on Sunday. Others may be more practical, or more charitable.

Think about a $75 ticket to watch a football game. Or in the case of the National Football League, $75 to be on hand while the Chicago Bears and New England Patriots butt heads between pitches for cars and beer on television.

Every seat in the Superdome goes for $75. That is $15 more than 84,059 paid for Super Bowl XIX last year at Stanford Stadium.

Pretty outrageous, right?

Pretty cheap, actually.

Very likely, the Super Bowl ticket is the most underpriced of any major team sporting event. You could do a whole lot more worthwhile for $75, but that is not the point. The NFL could get a whole lot more than $75 if it wanted.

Most economists are race-track touts in tweed. Still, I believe I stayed awake long enough in college to absorb this basic lesson about the American Way of Life: Selling price is supply meeting demand.

That is why Cabbage Patch dolls cost so much two years ago; they were astonishingly popular and the supply was limited. That also is why pencils and advice are so cheap; they're all over the place.

So the price of an item should be what just about anyone who can afford it is willing to pay. Which is why $75 for a Super Bowl ticket is such a bargain.

My friend Pete is the best illustration. A working stiff like the rest of us, he has gone to many of the recent Super Bowls.

I told him tickets this year were $75 instead of $60.

He said: "No problem."

One should not assume that another Pete, commissioner Rozelle, has suddenly gone naive and soft. Or that the NFL sees itself as a brawny Salvation Army.

Profit still is more important than the fullback up the middle to the owners. But when they shovel in nearly $14 million a year each from television, they can price Super Bowl tickets at perhaps a fifth of market value.

A fifth?

Do I mean that the NFL might be able to fill every seat in the Superdome Sunday if it charged $375 for each ticket?

I do.

I base that price on what the going rate seems to be for each of the two tickets nonparticipating players in the league are allocated. Although it's illegal, there are reports that some players are getting about that much from brokers around the country.

At $300 to $400 per ticket, those brokers still are making money. It might be in the form of inflated prices for some other service in a Super Bowl "package," such as airfare or hotel rooms, but the ticket is the precious item.

Although it argues to the contrary, I believe the NFL adores scalpers, because scalpers certify an event as being significant. If the street price of a ticket is not sinful, the game must not be very attractive.

For instance, have you ever heard a peep about scalping for any game in the history of the U.S. Football League? Or for "101 Dalmatians"?


People reportedly are trading Super Bowl tickets for lavish vacations. Rumors of long-suffering Chicagoans paying more than $500 for tickets are rampant.

The NFL loves it.

With a $75 ticket, the NFL has the best of all worlds. More than enough income from another deep-pockets source, and fans panting to get inside the arena.

This was not always so. The Super Bowl always has been for pro football supremacy, but that was not always a cause for hype by the media or enormous self-worth by the players.

It snowed the day of the 1948 championship game between the Eagles and (Chicago) Cardinals in Philadelphia. It snowed so badly that the Walter Payton of his time, Steve Van Buren, thought the game would be postponed and turned over in bed for more sleep.

Just to make sure, Van Buren called the Eagles' coach and some players. Neither this new-fangled gadget called television nor the familiar and popular radio had breathless bulletins every few minutes. There was little pregame publicity.

When the coach and teammates failed to answer, Van Buren figured the game still was on. So he left his home in Drexel Hill and took a bus to an elevated train. Later, he transferred to the subway and got off seven blocks from Shibe Park.

With the brave fans, Van Buren walked those seven blocks in the blizzard. In a 7-0 victory, he scored the Eagles' touchdown.

A couple of generations later, Van Buren-like performances would have been cause for hours of interviews and a phone call from the President. Quietly, Van Buren retraced his snowy steps -- and was home for dinner.

For the first Super Bowl, 19 years later, the top ticket was $12. Incidently, that was the only Super Bowl that did not sell out, it being new and also in blase Los Angeles.

Look for a $100 ticket in a few years.

Look for my friend Pete to chirp: "No problem."