Wednesday, February 03, 2016

True If Not Necessarily Important Story of the Super Bowl

Super Bowl XXV was supposed to have all the NFL-generated hoopla of Super Bowl 50, but the Persian Gulf War got in the way. In retrospect, what this meant in practice was fewer free parties for media and sponsors and a big career boost for Whitney Houston. But at the time, people were genuinely puzzled. How could they reconcile a national mood of sober patriotism with the Bowl's need to be Super in all respects?

Among the puzzled were two 30ish guys in suits this reporter encountered one weekday before the game in the bar of Tampa's then brand-new Wyndham hotel (quite the nicest of the 14 Super Bowl media hotels in which I resided, BTW). A shared cocktail or two with these nice fellows and they confided their background. They were Walt Disney Co. middle managers, among the company execs responsible for putting on the Super Bowl halftime show. And in the manner of corporate go-getters everywhere, the two of 'em were bemoaning what they saw as a missed opportunity.

"If only they (by which he meant the White House), had given us some advance notice (of the war's start date), we REALLY could have put on a patriotic show," one of them said sadly.

After I picked my jaw off the bar, I assured them they'd do just fine in that regard, which of course they did. But let this be a lesson to all future Presidents of the United States. In case of war, make sure to notify Disney CEO Bob Iger before you phone Congress.


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