This Sunday will be Super Bowl 54, with the San Francisco Forty Niners playing the Kansas City Chiefs. This will be the last time you see the names of the teams, in this blog. The first Super Bowl was in January 1967, and the powers to be in the NFL, decided to make this a unique game. Pete Rozelle, the commissioner of the NFL at time, gets a lot of credit for bringing professional football to the top of the rung, in professional sports. This is one place, where he went off the rails. Everything the NFL did, and continues to do concerning this game, is just succumbing to the whims of the television networks, who do not have the games best interests at heart. Lets face it, the Super Bowl is nothing more than the NFL Championship game, just like the World Series, the NBA finals, and the Stanley Cup finals is to those sports. Maybe football has a bit of an inferiority complex, because it is only one game that decides their championship, rather than a series. During the playoffs, you never hear that old adage, the NFL use to sell, that any team can be beat any other team, on any given Sunday. Where did the NFL go wrong when it started the SUPER BOWL. Let me count the ways.
First, they decided to play the game at a neutral site. The reasoning was they wanted to make weather less of a factor in such an important game. This, despite the fact that some of the most iconic games in NFL history, have had weather has part of the equation. The very next year was the famous Ice Bowl of 1967. There was also the feeling, that this was too important of a game for one team to have a home field advantage. The result of this was giving the fans, who had supported the team for all those years, the shaft. In this day and age, it takes most fans their life savings to go to the Super Bowl. This ended the electricity of the home field created by those home field fans. Just think of all those terrible towels at Three Rivers Stadium, or Hines Field, if the Steelers would have been able to play some of their Super Bowls, at home. Thank God, that the other professional sport leagues did not follow this idiotic thinking. The home field is what gives the other sports that special feel for their championship series and games. Pro football will never have this, and they really don’t care, since everybody is getting their pockets lined.
The decision to have two weeks between the conference championship games and the Super Bowl. Another decision to increase the hype, but in my view led to games that were not very well played. Athletes are creatures of habit, and back when the Super Bowl started, there were no bye weeks and no first rounds byes. Once the season started the games were played every week with no breaks until boom, 2 weeks off till the Super Bowl. Even today there is a debate, if a first round bye is a good thing in the playoffs. I think the two weeks off is less of a factor today, because teams do have bye weeks during the season, and the bye week in the playoffs. There is no need to take the two weeks off, other than to increase the hype of the game, and give people a chance to make travel arrangements. The game has gotten lost in the shuffle of what the Super Bowl has become, a non football event.
Yes, here is the final coup d’etat. Because of the HALF TIME SHOW, half time at the Super Bowl is about twice as long as the regular season. Half time during the regular season is about 15 minutes. The Super Bowl halftime usually takes about 30 minutes. To hell with what the players are use to, and the natural flow of the game. This would be like making the 7 inning stretch in baseball 15 minutes, during the World Series. You have to wonder, do players warm enough before the start of the second half. Then there is the commercials. Many times you see on social media, that someone says, I only watch, because of the commercials. A new use for the DVR fast forward the game and watch the commercials. This is pro football at its finest. You have to wonder if the players realize how insignificant their championship game is, or are they just too concussed to know. The Super Bowl is still one of the most watch events in the world, so nobody really cares, that it is being watched for all the wrong reasons. The NFL has taken a great game and turned it into a carnival. Last years version was about as dull as it could be, so is this finally starting to affect the players. This years Super Bowl, sans the New England Patriots, is one of the most anticipated in a long time. Everyone is expecting it to be a great game. Sunday, we will find out if the players are more interested in winning a championship, or watching J Lo perform at halftime like the rest of the world.