Saturday, February 6, 2010

Stop the hype and Super Bowl pick

Tomorrow, we finally reach the end of two weeks of relentless hype. It is the type of hype that makes Donald Trump seem humble and modest. Of course, I am writing about the Super Bowl.

In the interest of full disclosure, I must admit that I am a big football fan. It does not matter whether it is high school, college or professional football. If I get the chance to watch a game, I usually do.

For example, a few years ago I had to attend a wedding on a Saturday afternoon in October. Just after the ceremony ended and right before the reception was to begin, I slipped out a side door so I could get an update on the Tennessee/Alabama game that was being played that day.

After I heard the score, I slipped back into the reception without anybody noticing.

It was the perfect crime.

However, as much as I enjoy football, all the hype leading up to the Super Bowl is a big turn off. I have tried to avoid ESPN and CBS as much as possible this week. ESPN usually takes high-profile sporting events and re-hashes the same information until a person gets a splitting headache.

CBS has fallen into the same category with this year's game because it is their turn to televise the event. Then again, who can blame them? Each year, the Super Bowl is one of the most highly rated programs. Therefore, CBS can charge advertisers large amounts of money for commercials that they cannot any other time.

Additionally, commercials are often the 'story inside the story' when it comes to the Super Bowl. Many companies leak the content of their commercials in order to drive up interest, causing viewers not to leave their televisions during a timeout.

In many ways, the game is a perfect storm for advertisers. How often do viewers avoid bathroom breaks just to see what the content of a commercial may be? Not often, but this is what will happen tomorrow.

As for the National Football League, the game is an exercise in public relations that is rarely seen. The Winter Olympics later this month will not get the positive publicity that the NFL has received over the last couple of weeks.

The NFL's ability to spin and control its image makes the league the envy of all other large corporations. This is because many of the negative aspects of the sport will hardly be discussed this weekend.

I have always wondered why the media has been so willing to drink the 'NFL Kool-Aid' when covering the Super Bowl. If anything else, this should be the perfect time to press the league on important issues because the whole world is watching. There are many questions the league needs to publicly address.

For example, how much progress has the league made in determining the long-term health consequences players deal with because of repeated concussions? What is being done to assist former players who must have hip and knee replacement surgeries based on injuries they received while playing pro football?

Additionally, the league's collective bargaining agreement is set to expire soon, and there have been rumors that team owners may lock-out the players prior to the 2011 season. If the most successful sports league in the world is on the edge of a work stoppage, one would think that is pretty big news.

Then again, this is just a game and maybe that is where the focus should be.

So, like with any Super Bowl column you have read this week, here is my prediction.

Colts 31 Saints 24...please, no wagering.


Tenn Irish said...

Who dat say who dat? How the mighty have fallen! One of the best SBs I've ever watched.

Chris said...

I agree, it was a great game. With my UT roots, I was pulling for Peyton and the Colts. However, there is no way I can feel bad that the Saints won. It was an important win for their city.

Joltin' Django said...

Over the past couple of weeks, the NFL Network has shown several classic Super Bowls in their entirety. It was amazing to watch the Jets-Colts classic and marvel that it was just a big game and not a spectacle like the Super Bowl's become in recent years.