By Jeff Moeller
Has the Super Bowl lost some of its luster?
When it comes to sports and most things, I’m a traditionalist. Always have been, always will be. Let’s keep it simple. We don’t always have to try and reinvent the wheel.
Unfortunately, in recent years, the NFL has done its best to generate as much revenue as they can, and this year’s $7 million tag per 30-second commercial is a testament to it. Piecing it together, a company can spend in the $10 to $20 million range to compose a testimony about their product.
In reality, the Super Bowl is just another football game today, usually played with two teams who may already have played each other in the same season or the previous one. It’s something you can’t control because of fate, but the league’s revamped scheduling can have the likelihood of a matchup.
Fortunately, the Chiefs and the Eagles have never met in the postseason, and they last met in the regular season in 2021 with Kansas City posting a 42-30 victory.
Dating back to my first Super Bowl memory that I can remember in 1970 – can’t think back to my ‘69 Jets – watching the game was a mega event in my life. It was right there with the MLB and NBA playoffs, and even the Stanley Cup. The sense of finality to a sport had a uniqueness to it.
The Super Bowl in the 1960’s, 70’s and 80s had kickoff times at either 1, 2 or 4 p.m. In 1991, the NFL changed the start time to either 6:10 or 6:30. That opened the door for four hours of pregame hype.
Those four hours were fine for the first couple of years, but then they got boring. How much analyzing can you do?
Today’s pre-teens and teens won’t be glued to the sets like we were many moons ago. Instead, they will be texting away, probably without any thought of the game.
Age does have a way of changing your perspective.
The final hour leading to the kickoff is the worst with teaser after teaser about when that kickoff will finally happen. At this point, do you find yourself wanting the game to just begin? That is, unless you’re at a party, easily consuming more than the 2,000-calorie-a-day- average.
Some of the recent Super Bowls have begun with a rapid, intense pace, while others have lagged behind in the early going.
That can bring us to the halftime show, which once was a novelty, and now seems to project an underlying political view. Once, the halftime show was one the entire country could easily relate to, but the appeal has changed.
There also is the category of commercials, once a must-watch every year in anticipation of a series of blockbuster ones that will stay with us for quite some time.
However, the effectiveness of commercials have also taken a hit, most of them avoiding a clear-cut meaning like some classics in the past.
I understand it is the NFL’s showcase like the NCAA has turned March Madness into an extravaganza. They want to have a nearly four-hour broadcast from start to finish and in essence, it can be an eight-hour show from the pre-game.
Yet there already is some scuttlebutt around about moving the game to Saturday.
Still, we should be thankful that it is one game that could involve a four-home package. When was the last time you watched a college football broadcast?
As far as the length of the game, there are school districts in Pennsylvania that will have a two-hour delay Monday morning because of having the Eagles in the Super Bowl.
Yes, and I do understand that it is one of the most successful broadcasts with ratings and needs to reach all possible markets around the world.
In all, the NFL likely won’t revert its ways of keeping it a simple football broadcast. The game has evolved into a product of the current culture in which every sport has felt the need to change its format to properly adapt.
Did you really watch any of the new Pro Bowl format? Or when was the last time you watched the MLB, NHL, or NBA All-Star Games?
Like you, though, I will be watching the Eagles’-Chiefs’ skirmish Sunday night, and it has the making to be one of the classics.
I will watch some of the pregame hype, but it will be brief. During halftime, I’ll be doing something else. For me, the game maintains the sad sense of finality to the season, and a reminder on how simple it once was.
(Columnist Jeff Moeller writes for SportsDay and Florida Sports Wire.)