Tuesday, February 8, 2011

12 comments Some Super Bowl Traditions Need To Change

The NFL, at its heart, is a business. So when they take advantage of the Super Bowl for financial gain, I cannot feign surprise. But some traditions, while highly profitable, need to go.

1. Super Bowl Location

I have long been a proponent of home-field advantage at every stage of the playoffs. In the MLB, NBA and NHL, one team has that advantage. While the methods may be flawed (I'm looking at you, baseball), one of the essential factors in sports plays a role. Why should Green Bay, a #6 seed, be rewarded once they reach the Super Bowl with a neutral location? The goal of the NFL season is to win the Super Bowl, not just grace its money-hoarding field. Green Bay may have played well over the last 5 weeks, but so has Pittsburgh. Something should separate them. Something should indicate that one team has an earned an advantage over the other. Once the Super Bowl comes around, regular season success is ignored faster than player safety (If I'm in the CBA bargaining room fighting on behalf of the Union, I would love to hear the owners attempt to reconcile the 18-game schedule with player safety. Almost as much as I'd love to have sat in on a Pacman Jones/Goodell meeting.) Home-field should be that dividing line, the better team the same advantage they have had throughout the playoffs.

The rules for home-field, however, should not be based on seed. Although the current system exemplifies the best, yet flawed solution, the Super Bowl allows for a chance for it to be corrected. Instead of having the higher seeded team host the game, give it to the team with the better record, the closest indicator we have of a team's ability. If that can't settle the issue, here are the other tie-breakers.

1. Record
2. Record against common opponents
3. Seed

2. The Halftime Show

Not because it was atrocious (I choked/laughed/fell out of my chair when Bleacher Report called it the best Halftime show ever). Not because it probably costs the NFL money they do not want to spend. Simply because of its length. Although it made no difference this year, any ounce of momentum gained at the end of the 1st half cannot carry over when halftime takes an hour. In 2008, James Harrison had his 100 yard INT return to end the half. But instead of Pittsburgh coming out and dominating the second half and putting the game away (as that huge swing would have suggested), they fell flat. In fact, until the final drive, Arizona owned the 2nd half. This year the Black Eyed Peas continued their massacre for so long that Aaron Rodgers took all his pads off and joked with teammates while the festivities went on. I'm not saying Rodgers should not relax, but you don't get up from dinner midway through to watch TV. Sure, you may stop eating for a moment to catch your breath and digest a little, but ultimately dinner is relatively uninterrupted. And since football and food are clearly analgous, this halftime atrocity cannot continue.

3. The Post-Game Confetti

I, like everyone else, love confetti. While it may be annoying when it hits your face, its symbolic gesture far outweighs any negativity. I merely ask that they delay the confetti drop for at least 5 minutes after the game. Give the players a chance to find their families (random note of the day: best post-game hug combo in the Super Bowl ever? Eli Manning, scrambling to find someone, bear-hugging Jeff Feagles because no one else wanted to celebrate with the winning QB). Give the players a chance to put on the Super Bowl gear so they don't have to pick confetti out of their hair, pants, and wherever else when they get in the shower. And most importantly, give the losers a chance to get off the field. When you defeat an opponent in pickup basketball, you don't kick 'em while he's down. The shame of defeat is good enough. Don't get me wrong. I'm all for embarrassment and verbal abuse. But the confetti is not merely the winning team proclaiming its win, but the entire NFL essentially saying "enjoy the taste of defeat, assholes."

12 comments:

ivn said...

I think that guy from Bleacher Report saying something completely ridiculous for the sake of getting pageviews. either that or he's Slash's agent. but yeah, the halftime show was really terrible. I think Nathan Rabin has written that will.i.am actually provides presentations to corporate sponsors to convince them to allow Black Eyed Peas to become part of their brand (or something like that); they're the most blatantly commercially oriented musical group in America today, which is probably how they convinced the NFL to give them the halftime spot. I can understand trying to go with someone contemporary but I was hoping they'd go with maybe Kanye West or something. perhaps Commissar Goodell was afraid of him doing something crazy. my guess is that if the NFL doesn't have another baby boomer act (I heard AC/DC is available!) we'll get something like goddamn Taylor Swift next year. assuming there's football next year, of course.

didn't the extended halftime show also allow the Saints to plan the onside kick last year? if it leads to shit like that, I'm okay with it. maybe the side effect of the extended halftime allows for fewer blowouts, and after living through the latter part of that dark age where almost every Super Bowl was lopsided I'm not going to complain.

as for the location, it's neutral purely for event planning purposes, so the host city can prepare for accommodations ahead of time. imagine the mad scramble it would be if the Super Bowl location was decided only two weeks in advance. I know that's now how the other leagues do it, but they don't make their championships as much of an "event" as the NFL does.

Dylan said...

ivn,

I'll go with Slash's agent on the Bleacher Report guy.

If AC/DC did the halftime show, that would be amazing. I think the halftime show is for the top stars of contemporary times (Black Eyed Peas are second tier) or the top stars of the past.

I don't know if the extended halftime show is what allowed the Saints to plan an onside kick. It was already probably part of their gameplan heading in, and it's not like it takes much to say, we're doing an onside kick. But you could be right. There definitely was more time to mull over whether it was a good idea or not. And I will not complain about closer games, as well. I just think it's taking away a natural part of the game.

In terms of planning, I completely understand your point that it gives more time to prepare. But preparation could start during the AFC/NFC Championship week. And if, in the off chance that it eventually happens, the host team actually makes the Super Bowl, they may be playing at home 2 weeks before in the Championship game anyway. But considering the NFL's resources, I doubt that they would not be able to get it together with two weeks' notice.

Big J said...

Murph,

I think you should insert "head-to-head result (if applicable)" as the second tiebreaker, between overall record and record in common games.

Also, overall record technically wouldn't be a tiebreaker, so head-to-head would be the first tiebreaker, common games would be second and seed would be third.

JD

Martin F. said...

I'd actually toss out overall record, since teams are in different conferences, and one is often much weaker then the other. I'd go head to head, then vs common opponents, but mainly I'd just leave it alone. By rotating the location, you get some on grass, some on turf, so other then bad weather, you get a variety of conditions.

rich said...

Something should indicate that one team has an earned an advantage over the other.

Dylan, as much as it pains me, I have to disagree with this. Since the NFL championship is determined by a one winner take all game, a neutral site is kind of necessary. When the goal is to crown the best team, having a one game championship in an actual home stadium would be horrendous. Would GB have had a chance to win if the game had been held in Pittsburgh?

Along those same lines, you say Why should Green Bay, a #6 seed, be rewarded once they reach the Super Bowl with a neutral location?

As a 6 seed, GB had to win three road games to make it to the Super Bowl, including the top two seeds.

Pittsburgh's reward for being better in the regular season were two home games. So not only did GB play each game on the road, they also played another game to get to the Super Bowl.

The thing about the playoffs is that regular season success gets you three things:

1. A playoff spot
2. A chance at home games
3. A chance to only play 2 games instead of 3.

I think that by the time you get to the SB, the playing field should be as level as possible to determine which team is the "best."

In every other league, they play enough games that home-field advantage isn't as big of a deal as it would be for the Super Bowl.

As for the halftime show, the main problem I have is that I never know how long halftime is going to last, so I have to keep flipping back to Fox every 5-10 minutes so I don't miss the actual game.

Martin F. said...

Another thing I would change is not sell tickets for seats that don't exist, like they did this year. The NFL apparently had nobody in charge of taking control of that situation at the stadium, but most likely had a half dozen guys watching on monitors to make sure no player had their socks to high, so they could fine them. From all other reports, they lied about the assistance they gave the people at the game, saying they received free food and beverages, when that didn't happen. It seems that the NFL came about their 3x ticket value by looking at the Texas statute which covers ticket fraud, and that the offer is just enough to cover them as make goods. What I want to see is fraud charges brought up for selling tickets to seats that didn't exist. They had plans for them, but as of the day before the game, still didn't know if they would even be completed.

To repeat, didn't even know if they would be completed. Not "hadn't yet been inspected", but not even finished being installed. This is so indicative of the power and control that the NFL and it's owners want to have, but can't ever seem to be able to wield. they want the players to give them back hundreds of millions of dollars, but don't want to have to open their books to show why they need it. "Just trust us, we're losing money." Sure, the way fans should trust that yo'd actually have the seats ready for the game.

Anonymous said...

You do know there is no way in hell the location thing will ever change.

I mean think about GB trying to host a SB. It would be an epic clustereff.

Hell even NE would be a disater. I can only imagine how awful RT1 would be

rich said...

Martin,

I love how the NFL reacted to that. One of the quotes I saw said that the NFL had "hope" that the temporary seats would be good to go.

Hope? Never crossed your mind in the week before the Super Bowl to think of a better plan B than to shove these fans into the basement of the stadium to watch the game at a bar?

They also charged people a couple hundred dollars to stand outside the stadium. That's a major power trip right there and considering it is Jerry Jones, I guess I shouldn't be surprised.

The worst part of the whole thing is that the NFL really didn't offer much.

A 2400 refund? You'd pay that in airfare and hotels.

A ticket to next year's game? Whose to say it'll be as exciting as this year's? What if it's Carolina and Buffalo? Why would a Steeler or Packer fan want to go to that?

And my final complaint: these temporary seats seem to be the ones that the teams sell to season ticket holders. Why are the actual fans sitting in temporary seats? Why can't you give the temporary seats to the corporate execs who don't give a crap about the game and put actual fans in seats that you know will be there?

Bengoodfella said...

Ivn, Bleacher Report articles are crazy. I even have a tag that says this. It's a terrible site, and I am not sure it has gotten much better, but I am not surprised something crazy like that was posted. I can respect opinions, but not when they don't make sense.

Also, I read the NFL is looking at Mellencamp and some country acts for the Super Bowl in Indy next year. So...good call.

That was the worst halftime show ever. Ever. I would rather see N'Sync perform again. I am not kidding. At least I would have a chance to laugh at that point.

Dylan, I have to say I agree with Rich on the homefield advantage thing. I think Green Bay showed they deserved to be on a neutral field against Pittsburgh by winning three straight games on the road. I am with Rich on this one. I say this mostly because I don't ever want to see a Super Bowl in the home stadium of a team.

I will say I like the idea of the halftime show being shortened. It's ridiculous. I think they should consider not doing music at halftime and doing something else. I am not sure what else though.

Confetti annoys me. It may just be because I am OCD, but I have nightmares about having to clean it up. They could do away with it, but waiting until after the trophy is presented or something would be nice.

Rich, if the Super Bowl is Carolina and Buffalo, I will gladly purchase the ticket of anyone willing to sell it to me. I will pay whatever the price. There's a solid 0.043% of people who think that's a really exciting Super Bowl. I guess what I am saying goes to your point though, what Packer/Steelers fan wants to attend a SB without their team in it. Maybe some, but not all would want to travel to it.

Martin F, don't think the players union wasn't taking notes about seats that weren't inspected yet having been sold. It is not incredibly difficult to paint the owners as out of touch and money hungry after something like that.

Dylan said...

Big J,

I totally forgot about head to head result. That would obviously be first.

Rich,

I think it's fine that we disagree on this one. While I understand your point that Green Bay and Pittsburgh have already had their advantages/disadvantages, I think it's important to maintain one of the most important aspects of football in the Super Bowl. Home-field advantage is one of the staples of football.

Martin,

Good point about the fraud issue. The NFL will always do what it takes to cover their ass, and nothing more. It's just funny because ESPN has made the NFL seem like charitable gods.

Anon,

Of course none of this is realistic. I do think, though, that the NFL has the resources to pull offsomething of the Super Bowl's magnitude in two weeks. Clearly they never will try, however.

BGF,

If the Panthers make the Super Bowl when it comes to NY, I will sell you my ticket out of my pure generrosity.

Bengoodfella said...

That sounds great. I will hold you to that.

I did like the analogy of football and food. They ARE clearly analogous, just ask John Madden.

I think there are so many good performers that could be on during the halftime show. Why not have an actual good act perform? Like someone who isn't above the age of 60 and doesn't rely on technology or the use of cover songs to put on a good show?

Super Bowl 2013 said...

Yeah man! I read your post. Its make me feel better. Thanks once again.