Super Bowl XLIX: Pressure on the NFL


The NFL really needs Super Bowl XLIX to be a huge success. There will be astronomical television ratings as there always are, but the league really needs this game to be exciting, entertaining, and compelling enough to end this tumultuous season on a somewhat high note. For a season that was clouded in more controversy than ever before, the NFL needs the Seahawks and the Patriots to put on a good show.

Last year’s Super Bowl was basically unwatchable unless you were a Seattle fan or a Peyton Manning hater. The NFL can’t afford another blowout to end this season on, not after the season of scandal after scandal. It doesn’t help that the Super Bowl will feature one almost universally hated team against a pretty unlikeable team.

For the casual NFL fans, who make up the majority of the viewing audience of the Super Bowl, you have the New England Patriots, now accused of what could be a pattern of cheating involving using underinflated footballs to gain an advantage in ball security but could be absolved of most of their guilt if it’s found that the NFL officiating crew failed to properly check the balls used in the AFC title game. The deflate-gate scandal has been losing steam since the NFL came out to say that no determinations will be made until well after the Super Bowl.

The Patriots were looking at a chance for salvation, to get a post-Spy Gate Super Bowl win and ultimately put their “cheating” moniker to bed but instead it’s only brought their last cheating scandal back into the forefront. Bill Belichick and Tom Brady have spent the last week basically publicly dare the NFL to prove they did anything wrong. You have the owner, Robert Kraft, coming out and demanding an apology if and when the NFL can’t prove anything, which is probably likely that they actually can’t prove anything.

If the Patriots win the Super Bowl, what does the NFL do if they can determine, after their “investigation” is complete, that the Patriots at the very least cheated in the game that got them there? More importantly, does the public even believe what the NFL concludes from their own investigations anymore?

On the other side of the field you have the Seattle Seahawks, who aren’t really strangers to breaking the rules themselves either. Since 2010, the Seahawks have led the league in player PED suspensions. Seahawks coach Pete Carroll, basically lit the match the torched the University of Southern California’s program for NCAA violations before he dipped just before the sanctions hit.

You also have Richard Sherman, at best a polarizing figure, and Marshawn Lynch, who’s refusal to cooperate with the media has gotten about as much attention as the Patriots’ deflated balls scandal. Can you imagine if the Seahawks win the Super Bowl and Lynch is voted MVP and refuses to even say “I’m going to Disney World!”? That would be the perfect cherry on the PR crap sundae this season has been for Goodell and the NFL.

There’s a lot of pressure on the NFL and these two teams to make this game so good we all forget what a horrendous train wreck this season was for Goodell. Here’s to a good Super Bowl, I hope they can put on a good show.

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