MINNEAPOLIS, Minn. Tomorrow’s Super Bowl LII, or “52” as it is known outside the Roman Empire, will be the longest football game of the current season, but for officials of the CBS Television Network, that’s a different sort of problem than you might expect. “A Super Bowl is usually an hour longer than a regular season game,” says CBS Under-Assistant Director of Programming Chuck Sanders. “That’s not enough.”
NFL officials, upon further review, agreed. “I think we’ve lost sight of what the game’s all about,” says Ernie Doak, who works in the league’s Finance Department. “It’s not just about concussions and end-zone pantomimes of ‘Duck-Duck-Goose,’ we’re here to make money off commercials.”
And so the NFL will add two higher levels of review from official calls on the field; an interlocutory court in the VIP Lounge at U.S. Bank Stadium here, and a final Supreme Court of Appeals located in the Federal Building and U.S. Courthouse in downtown Minneapolis. “Supreme” when used in reference to an adjudicatory body means “ultimate” or “final,” and “interlocutory” is a fancy word that shows this reporter went to law school.
Last year advertisers spent $419 million, at $5 million per thirty seconds, on a barrage of entertaining spots hawking their products, a figure that annoying charities say would be better spent making the world a better place. “Five million dollars could buy kale soup for every homeless person in the Minneapolis-St. Paul region,” says Lizbeth Ort-Glincher, a fund-raising consultant. “They’d just throw it out, but that’s not the point.”
Both the NFL and CBS recognize the disparity between the riches the Super Bowl will generate and the poverty found in the poorest nations on earth, but insist they are only responding to marketplace considerations. “I know you could literally buy some countries for that amount of money,” says Doak. “On the other hand, where would you put them?”