While the country suffers from a recession, did the Superbowl suffer? I say “no,” and I was a business major in college. Financial disappointments of the Superbowl are not from the recession, but from unrealistic expectations.
Ticket prices for Superbowl XLIII were down twenty percent from last year. This makes sense considering last year two major market teams, one undefeated and one hot since a dramatic Week 17 loss to the aforementioned team, drew higher ticket prices then a game with one major market team and one unloved franchise.
Playboy canceled their Superbowl bash. Playboy is a magazine and the internet, combined with environmentalist “green” thinking is killing magazines. Considering how easy it is to see naked bodies at no charge on the internet, it is no surprise to see Playboy fall. This was also why Sports Illustrated had no post-game celebration.
Superbowl commercial slots were not all filled. The bargain basement price of around three million dollars per thirty-second commercial seems tough to pass on. The truth is the years of the Superbowl being a “best of” commercial forum are over. Advertising breaks are the optimal time to visit the bathroom, refill the beverages and find more food to munch on. Television commercials are not best advertising venue anymore, especially at such a high price tag.
Had advertisers known how close the game was going to be, perhaps they would’ve made the investment. For the second year in a row, a go-ahead touchdown with less than three minutes left in the fourth quarter was not enough. Superbowl XLIII, like Superbowl XLII, was a close game, exciting throughout. Both the Steelers and Cardinals played pass-heavy offense. With such strategy, neither team’s defenses seemed to wear down, making a big play seem possible at any time.
Aside from a ridiculous James Harrison interception, Larry Fitzgerald and Santonio Holmes were the playmakers. For the second time in four years, Pittsburgh beat an NFC west team with a wide receiver winning the MVP award. Considering only six MVPs have been wide receivers, this says a lot about the Steelers of now. The Steel Curtain is long gone.
What we did see a lot of in the big game were the other Terrible Towels: penalty flags. Pittsburgh’s penalties were significant, but Arizona drew more flags for more yards. I couldn’t find an exact statistic for it, but I’m pretty confident that it’s difficult to win any football game – regular season, postseason or Superbowl – with more than the field’s length in penalties. And doesn’t lack of discipline summarize the current era in the NFL best?
Originally published on February 4th in Citizen News (Sherman, New Fairfield Edition)