Vincent Safuto’s Weblog

Notes and observations

Super Bowl has one thing going for it

I’m not a football fan, so the Super Bowl isn’t that big a deal for me.

Nonetheless, my life has been affected by it because I worked in the news media as a copy editor and usually found myself on the job on “Super Sunday.” Even if it was just hearing the people in the sports department talk about the game while working on the page, it was a part of my work life.

It has always been an overhyped game, possibly because unlike in other sports it’s the only game for the championship. In baseball, hockey and basketball, the “finals” are decided in several games; in football it comes down to just one.

The Tampa Bay area’s news media has been going overboard in the past few weeks, as if hosting the Super Bowl means something. Even the staid St. Petersburg Times’ Web site has given the game prominent play. If there’s one way to draw attention to your cause, tie it to the Super Bowl and the media will follow.

The game itself is often anticlimactic and sometimes remembered for things that have nothing to do with football. The half-time show often makes more history than the game.

I was working on the copy desk at the Vero Beach Press Journal on that awesome Super Bowl Sunday in 2004 (was it really five years ago?) when the story moved on the wires that one of Janet Jackson’s breasts had been briefly exposed on worldwide television. (See this site on Wikipedia for all the juicy details.)

On Super Bowl Sunday in 2001, I was working in the sports department of the Boca Raton News and watched the game, which was played in Tampa, on a snowy newsroom TV. It didn’t cause too much controversy, apparently, that a sideline microphone picked out the word “motherf—er” shouted by a player as his team ran onto the field.

For all the hype, absurd ads, philanthropic stunts, jingoism and other excesses of the Super Bowl, I do have to hand it to the NFL for one thing, though: at least the game ends at a reasonable time so that it can get into the next day’s newspaper. Unlike the World Series, whose games often don’t start until nearly 9 p.m. and can run into 2 a.m., you can make the first edition deadline with the final score, the game story and more analysis than you can stand to read, and be finished with work by 10:30 p.m.

Maybe Major League Baseball will see reason someday and push the World Series start times back so that games end at a reasonable hour. Maybe baseball will even commit the ultimate blasphemy, and resume day World Series games.

But until then, the Super Bowl is the only game that kids can watch on a school night – at least until the next “wardrobe malfunction.”

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February 1, 2009 - Posted by | Living in the modern age, The business of sports | , , , , , , , ,

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