Keep politics out of the Super Bowl

February 01, 2010|By Susan Reimer

I can picture it now.

A triumphant Drew Brees holds the Super Bowl trophy aloft as confetti rains down on him and fireworks explode around the Miami stadium.

A voice asks, "Drew Brees. You've just won the Super Bowl. What are you going to do next?"

And instead the usual plug for Disney World, he says, "I'm going to crisscross this nation of ours promoting heath care reform, banking regulation, immigration reform and term limits!"

The Super Bowl, a national holiday devoted to beer, football and food, has gone political. Heisman Trophy-winning quarterback Tim Tebow and his mom will appear in a pro-life commercial paid for by the ultra-conservative religious group Focus on the Family during the game Sunday.


It's almost a religion in this country that you don't mix sports and politics, but CBS is taking $3 million for the kind of Super Bowl ad it had always rejected: One with a point of view instead of a product to sell.

Mr. Tebow and his mother, Pam, will repeat the family story that she choose not to take a doctor's advice and abort her fifth pregnancy, and look how things turned out. "I wanted a preacher," Mr. Tebow's devout father has often said, "and God gave me a quarterback."

Issue ads have come to the Super Bowl. Where are the Cola Wars when you need them? Where are the football-playing Clydesdales?

The Florida quarterback, who will enter the NFL draft this spring, is outspoken about his faith and writes scripture references in his eye black on game days.

So it's doubtful that he had to be convinced to add this pro-life commercial to draft-day baggage that already includes suspect pro skills.

Though CBS has aired ads from the likes of Al Gore and T. Boone Pickens during prime time shows, it had previously denied a chance to buy an anti- President Bush spot in the line-up of Super Bowl ads that are often more entertaining than the game.

The network has said it is willing to sell Super Bowl time to the likes of Planned Parenthood or NOW if they can come up with the money to present a pro-choice point of view. But fairness and equal time are not the point.

Super Bowl Sunday was the one day in the year when you could count on even the priests making football jokes from the altar. Now we are going to be preached at during the game.

Super Bowl Sunday has always been a day of remarkable national unity, and now that experience will be sullied, if only briefly, by arguably the most divisive topic of the day.

What's next? Sarah Palin in a National Rifle Association ad? How about an ad featuring a pretty little girl picking a flower just as a nuclear bomb explodes?

For heaven's sake, people. This is the Super Bowl, where all of America puts itself into a coma with food and drink while two teams play football before and after an extravaganza featuring a Baby Boomer rock group.

The only time it has been a forum for social commentary was when the winning quarterback or winning coach was black, or when somebody's costume malfunctioned and the FCC got into the act.

Politics belongs on the sidelines on Super Bowl Sunday. The only babies I want to be talking about Monday morning are the E-Trade babies.

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