When you think about football, computer scientists probably aren’t the first thing to jump into your head. But with the big game this weekend, that’s exactly how to describe some of the fans who will be rooting along for both the Packers and Steelers. With Google engineering offices in both Pittsburgh, Pa. and Madison, Wis., Googlers in both areas will be glued to our TVs on Sunday along with the rest of the country.

As everyone begins to gear up for their own parties this weekend, we thought it would be fun to see what (American) football fans are searching for on the web.

Across the U.S., Google users have shown that football is the most popular sport, in terms of queries, year after year—ahead of baseball, soccer, basketball and hockey. Surprisingly, two states that don't have NFL teams search for [nfl] the most—Delaware and South Dakota.

You might be surprised at the lengths to which we go in terms of being fans. Take for example, the Packers. Fans in Wisconsin are currently taking a higher interest in our quarterback Aaron Rodgers than pop superstar Lady Gaga.

Pittsburgh residents also have gone Steeler-crazy, with queries for the Steelers running higher than queries for President Obama for most of the season.

Each team is also known for its fan gear: Cheeseheads for Packers nuts and Terrible Towels for Steelers supporters. As of the last week, [terrible towels] are being searched for more than [cheeseheads]. Perhaps the rise in searches for Terrible Towels can be attributed to their dual use: for cheering during the game or, in the event of a Steelers loss, to dry those terrible tears.

As we poked around the search trends, we wondered—could search query volume be the new “Sports Illustrated” jinx? Might Google’s search query volume leader foreshadow the loser of the big game? In examining the data, we’ve found that over the past two seasons, that has indeed been the case. Last year, the losing quarterback, Peyton Manning of the Indianapolis Colts, led the New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees in query volume heading into the game. Brees and the Saints won. Same situation the year before: heading into the big game on February 1, 2009, Arizona Cardinals quarterback Kurt Warner held a significant lead in query volume over Steeler quarterback Ben Roethlisberger. Big Ben and the Pittsburgh Steelers came out on top.

That trend doesn’t bode well for Aaron Rodgers and the Green Bay Packers. The Packers quarterback has maintained an edge in query volume over Steeler quarterback Ben Roethlisberger and is still in the lead as we head into Sunday. Could that mean the Ben Roethlisberger, Troy Polamalu and the rest of the Pittsburgh Steelers will host the Lombardi trophy over their heads Sunday night? Our Cheesehead-wearing Wisconsin engineers are certainly hoping that the data doesn’t hold up!

But it isn’t just about the players and game on the field. Food, the halftime show and the commercials are just as big a part of the celebration. If the minutes in between the game action are your favorite part, YouTube hosts their annual Ad Blitz, a contest where people review and rate the Super Bowl commercials as they air. This year, you can even vote on your mobile phone as you’re watching the game. The winner will receive YouTube homepage glory on February 19, after all the votes are tallied.

Some game watchers pay particularly close attention to the TV during the halftime show. If history is any indication, this year’s act, the Black Eyed Peas, can expect a surge of search queries the day of the game. Past performers [the who], [tom petty], [bruce springsteen] and the [rolling stones] have all had peak interest level during the year they performed at halftime.

For others—especially if your team’s not competing—the best part is always the spread. Searches for food and recipes surge, beginning two weeks ahead of the game, as families start to plan their party. This year, searches for [super bowl recipes] outpace those for [super bowl food] and [super bowl snacks]. Dips of all types are hot this year, with slight differences across the country: searches for [guacamole] are on average 12% more popular in Wisconsin than in Pennsylvania, while searches for [baba ganoush] are 5% more popular in Pennsylvania than in Wisconsin.

If we had our way, it would be all [bratwurst] and [fish boils] in Wisconsin and [pierogies] and [primanti brothers] in Pittsburgh. But with fans all over the country planning their menus, it seems that the big winner in the snack world appears to be chicken. Each year, searches for [chicken wings] hit their peak the week of the game.

So whether you’re a passionate Cheesehead, a proud waver of Terrible Towels or you just enjoy the spectacle, there’s something for you to enjoy around the big game: sports, drama, commercials, music, performance and food! This weekend, Googlers in our Pittsburgh and Wisconsin offices will, with millions more across the world, be on the edge of their couches watching the game and cheering along for their team. Either way, we know that only one Google office will hold bragging rights for the next year!

Googlers in Pittsburgh

Googlers in Madison