As Super Bowl XLIV (44 for the roman numeral-challenged) nears, the sports media will break down way too much film, determine the best player at each position and continue to bash the Pro Bowl (did you watch it?). The news media will look for the non-sports stories like ‘Is Archie Manning rooting for his son’s Colts or his old team, the Saints?’ And everyone will attempt to fix the Pro Bowl (just google it). But what about the Super Bowl? Here are a few ways we can improve upon one of our nation’s top secular holidays.
Move the game to Saturday night or Sunday afternoon
Because the Super Bowl starts so late on Sunday night, younger kids can’t stay up for the whole game and many adults have to tone down the party or face after-effects the next day. According to an MSNBC article (see Myth #5) millions of people will have Super Bowl-itis the day after the big game. It seems like a logical solution to shift the game to the night before or start it earlier on Sunday afternoon. There are already a few playoff games played on Saturday so there is precedence and having the game on that day ensures no day-after calls to the office or a half-ass effort to make it through the day. If playing a football game on Saturday seems inappropriate since Sunday is known for football then just move the game to earlier in the day. This is more in line with a typical football start time anyway. Make it a 3:00 CT start so it isn’t too early for the west coast but still early enough for the east coast and Midwest that people can still be ready for the work week. As the Super Bowl is must-watch programming for even most non-sports fans, I don’t expect any significant ratings drop in a Saturday night or Sunday afternoon start time.
Fix the Halftime Show
This one is obvious to everyone except the networks that broadcast the Super Bowl. Ever since the “wardrobe malfunction of 2004”, the networks are afraid to produce anything too current or edgy. So we end up with groups like The Who, Paul McCartney, The Rolling Stones, Prince and Bruce Springsteen. No offense to those bands but none of them belong on the Super Bowl stage in the 21st century. It’s time to allow the MTV producers to show they can learn from their mistakes and give them back the reigns to run the show.
Make the AFC vs. NFC matchup more exclusive
Right now each team plays 4 out-of-conference games each year. When the Super Bowl started it was meant to be a battle between the best of the AFL vs. the best of the NFL. Just because the 2 conferences are under one corporate umbrella it doesn’t mean we have to make the final game less dramatic. Right now we see NFC vs. AFC match ups on a weekly basis but the Super Bowl would be that much more interesting to true football fans by making it the only NFC vs. AFC game of the year.
Expand the Stadium Rotation
Of the last 10 Super Bowls, half were played in Florida. Football is played in the fall and winter which is generally cold. Why limit the Super Bowl to only warm climates or dome stadiums? Is there really a harm in playing the biggest game of the year in 20 degree weather or on a snow covered field? While less than 100,000 people will watch the game in person, millions will watch on television so the effects of cold or snow aren’t really so bad and it keeps the game truer to its origins.