Sunday, February 4, 2007

Why I Didn't Watch Even One Down of Super Bowl XLI

If you haven't already heard, the Indianapolis Colts have won Super Bowl XLI. Oops, can I even say that? "Super Bowl," I mean.

From SportsIllustrated Online:
The NFL has nixed a church's plans to use a wall projector to show the Colts-Bears Super Bowl game, saying it would violate copyright laws. ...

Initially, the league objected to the church's plan to charge a fee to attend and that the church used the license-protected words "Super Bowl" in its promotions. ...the NFL objected to the church's plans to use a projector to show the game, saying the law limits it to one TV no bigger than 55 inches. ...

NFL spokesman Greg Aiello said the league's long-standing policy is to ban "mass out-of-home viewing" of the Super Bowl. An exception is made for sports bars and other businesses that show televised sports as a part of their everyday operations. ...

"It just frustrates me that most of the places where crowds are going to gather to watch this game are going to be places that are filled with alcohol and other things that are inappropriate for children," [the church's Pastor] said. "We tried to provide an alternative to that and were shut down." ...
Furthermore, my own church ran into a similar problem. In a message they sent out to members, they cited the following for canceling their Super Bowl party:
...the NFL has stated that churches hosting Super Bowl parties are in copyright violation if:
  1. They use the copyrighted name "Super Bowl."
  2. Charge an entrance fee.
  3. View the game on a screen larger than 55 inches.
While we have disagreements with the policy of the NFL, we are finding it difficult to get clarity on the true legalities on such short notice. We would be in violation of #3.... We are choosing to do what we always teach: do the right thing and take the high ground. We are canceling the party....
So, if you didn't catch it in there, as far as the NFL is concerned, it's okay to watch the Super Bowl in your own home, or the home of a friend, or at a bar. Places where you might be tempted to drink to excess and make a public nuisance of yourself if your team should win (or lose, even). But it's not okay to gather together with other members of your church inside the church building and watch the game. Does anybody else see anything wrong with this?

If you got those same people together that planned to watch the game inside the church building and took them to the local bar to watch the game, allowed them to eat all the free peanuts they can hold and not buy one drop of alcohol, the NFL would presumably be okay with that, but I'll bet the bar owners would be pretty upset.

So, the Indianapolis Colts have just won Super Bowl XLI, and I watched exactly none of the game. Not one minute. Not one down. Not one touchdown or interception. Not even one of the extremely over-priced commercials that gets so much hype every year. And I'm sure the NFL didn't miss me. But you know what, I didn't miss the game, either. Instead, I got to enjoy some time with my wife and son watching the "Scooby Bowl" on Nickelodeon.

Go Scooby!


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