The Fall Creek Baptist Church in Indianapolis planned to host a Super Bowl party Sunday, charging a small fee to cover the cost of snacks. Their plans, which included broadcasting the game on a 12-foot screen, were designed to give fans a more wholesome option in venue over the traditional sports bar. The problem is, in doing so, they would be violating copyright laws.
According to the Indianapolis Star, the NFL caught wind of the church's plan through its web site last week, and issued a letter demanding they cancel the party. The church offered to drop the fee and absorb the cost for refreshments themselves, and to quit using the term Super Bowl to promote the party. But that wasn't good enough. The NFL says the church can't project the game onto a 12-foot screen. In fact, it can't use anything with a screen larger than 55 inches. And only one viewing screen is permissible.
So, seeing no point in having a Super Bowl party they couldn't promote as a Super Bowl party, and in which many of their guests would not be able to see the game itself, the party likely will not happen.
Of course, the NFL doesn't have a problem with you going down to your local pub and watching the game. You know, the place where you can pay for beer and food while viewing multiple big-screen shots of the big game.
Pastor John D. Newland told the Star, "It just frustrates me that most of the places where crowds are going to gather to watch this game are going to be places that are filled with alcohol and other things that are inappropriate for children. We tried to provide an alternative to that and were shut down."The NFL is well within its rights in shutting down Fall Creek, but I have to wonder if they should maybe choose their battles more wisely. It doesn't appear the church was using this as an opportunity to profit on the NFL, unlike all the bars, pubs, and restaurants that host annual events do every year. So what kind of message are they sending by shutting down this particular get together? They're saying it's better to go to a bar and watch the game with a bunch of drunks than to enjoy it as a family activity.
Perhaps this philosophy is part of the reason the NFL rarely goes a week without having a player arrested.