A Bad Day for the NFL

Feb 04, 2013 -- 11:18am


Super Bowl 47 gets an A grade for entertainment and drama and it was an event loaded with delicious human interest stories. But when the emotions of the Ravens’ 34-31 victory over the 49ers have dulled and the crocodile tears of Ray Lewis have dried up -- as well as the memories of his Elmer Gantry screaming -- this Super Bowl will be remembered for a power outage and New Orleans’ swan song as a host city.

The power outage was a major embarrassment for the NFL and it’s reasonable to think a major financial hit as well. How many dollars will be ultimately lost because of lost viewership after the 34-minute delay in the third quarter? Think advertisers were happy to have their $3-million, 30-second commercials shown long after millions of casual NFL fans had left the parties and turned out the lights? Obviously Super Bowl 47 had another huge TV audience, but it still didn’t live up to enormous expectations.

As for New Orleans, many felt this would be the city’s 10th and final Super Bowl. It is city still struggling to recover from Hurricane Katrina and the power outage sent that message loud and clear.

Even if there had been no power outage it is doubtful New Orleans will get another Super Bowl. Incredibly, we now live in a world where stadiums/arenas are considered ancient when they’re still teenagers. It seems like just yesterday the Superdome was regarded as a modern miracle, sort of like the 9th Wonder of the World. Already, however, it is regarded as too small and not modern enough for the NFL’s grandest performance.

You’d have to live in Fantastyland to think New Orleans will build a bigger and better Superdome. The city – in fact the entire state of Louisiana – lives teetering on the brink of bankruptcy. Corruption among its leaders is as commonplace as 5-star restaurants.

Once upon a time the NFL regarded a city’s ability to throw a party as the No. 1 criteria and its climate as No. 2, but those days are long gone. (For the record, no city can party as well as Nawlins.) Now it is about the stadium and how high a bid the city will make. Corporate America runs the Super Bowl, not the fans. The fact New York City will host Super Bowl 48 in non-domed stadium is all the proof you need. The people that matter to the NFL will be warm and cozy in the two-year-old stadium’s dozens of luxury suites.

When I awoke this morning after only a few hours sleep to write about Super Bowl 47 I surprised myself when my first thoughts weren’t about the Ravens’ great start and the 49ers incredible comeback. They were about how the power outage was symbolic of a decaying city, the end of an era and a rare blackeye for the NFL.

I did have a couple of happy thoughts. The power outage did take some attention away from a fraud and a hypocrite. (Of course I’m talking about Lewis.) And I thought how the media would have had a field day ripping Jacksonville if there’d been such a fiasco when our city hosted Super Bowl 39.

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