Super Bowl Parties

Is your church having a Super Bowl party today? It's likely, I know several churches I've been a part of have over the years. We've rented rooms and big screens to do so and it's always a lot of fun, even though I don't care about football.

This year, if your church is planing one, you might want to make sure you have your lawyer on speed dial:

NFL spokesman Greg Aiello said these gatherings are fine, as long as the churches stay within certain guidelines. That's where Fall Creek Baptist Church in Indianapolis went wrong.

The church planned to charge admission to cover the food tab for its party and show the game on a big screen using a projector. It also promoted its "Super Bowl bash" on the church Web site.

Those are some copyright no-no's. The league's long-standing policy is to ban "mass out-of-home viewing" of the Super Bowl except at sports bars and other businesses that televise sports as part of their everyday operations, Aiello said.

Places are prohibited from charging admission to watch the Super Bowl, and the law prevents them from showing the game on a TV bigger than 55 inches. [link]

Question to the NFL: Is this really the message you want to send? That you are absolutely in favor of making money off of the game as long as it's from alcohol and not to support the youth group? Really?

I'm sure you are well within your rights and that this is standard issue stuff, but come on. This is a gathering of friends - most of whom wouldn't watch the game if it weren't for these parties. Frankly, in these gatherings, in my experience they are often more interested in your advertisers than he game! In that sense, they're ideal viewers. Do you really want to pull the law out here and shut them down?

So I guess many parties have gotten canceled. Some churches, however, don't care. Thumbing their noses at the NFL, they are having their parties anyway:

The get-tough policy hasn't moved officials at Reynoldsburg United Methodist Church.

Last year's Super Bowl party for young people at the church, 1636 Graham Rd., attracted about 150, said Matt Holley, the church's communication coordinator. It's free and open to the public. Those who attend are asked to bring a snack.

"They've got bigger things to worry about," he said of the NFL. [link]


Question for these churches (two others are quoted in the article): Is this really the message you want to send? That you could care less about the law and obedience if it gets in the way of what you think is best? Really?

I happen to think you have the moral high ground in terms of whether the parties are a good thing or not. But legally, you've got nothing to stand on. If the NFL wants to play hard ball on this, they have the upper hand legally. You are flaunting the law because you believe you're right on some higher plane. But what you are saying to your community is that you are a church that stands for whatever feels good at the time. How do you expect to convert people away from their self-centered, self-directed ways to God's when you show them that you have no bones about bending the rules to suit your pleasures?

Thankfully, the churches mentioned in the MSNBC article said they would not go through with their parties if the NFL was going to enforce the letter of the law. Sadly, the NFL seems to be doing just that.

2 Comments

I think you're right on target. The NFL is sending the wrong message, and so are churches who ignore the NFL's message.

We had one at our house. Our friends Fred and Karen brought homemade tortilla chips, like I remember my mom making when we were kids (we'd ask for "a crispy one") and this amazing chocolate thing and guacamole. Carmen brought guacamole, homemade pico de gallo. Gary and Jamie - ribs. Etc.

Can we have another Super Bowl next week?



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  • We had one at our house. Our friends Fred and Karen brought homemade tortilla chips, like I remember my mom making when we were kids (we'd ask for "a crispy one") and this amazing chocolate thing and guacamole. Carmen br...

  • I think you're right on target. The NFL is sending the wrong message, and so are churches who ignore the NFL's message. ...

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