Thursday, January 31, 2008

Go Long...Go Red

The Big Game is coming up on Sunday. You know, "Super Sunday", the NFL Championship. Alright, the S---- B---. No, I don't have any bitterness about the day in question [despite the fact that, as a native Buffalonian, my hometown team was on the losing end of four straight match-ups]. The problem is the NFL itself. Here in a blog, I'm perfectly free to refer to the game like most people do, the Super Bowl. In my role as a radio broadcaster, however, I am NOT allowed to use that particular phrase. It's a copyrighted trademark of the NFL, and they can, and do, control who can use it. For instance, official sponsors of the game are permitted to use the words when mentioning their participation. Non-sponsors are not [unless they spend money to purchase the right to do so]. In recent years, the NFL has been very protective of their trademark, forbidding advertisers from using it unless they have a legal right to do so [in theory, they also have the right to prevent broadcasters from using team names; ex. "Bills", "Patriots", "Packers". In practice, this distinction is usually ignored, although the current banner atop the league's own web page (

does not use team names [this gets confusing when you realize that New York City has two teams in the NFL (although neither of them currently plays its home games within New York City, or New York State, for that matter), and only regular followers of the league realize that the Giants are representing Gotham on Sunday].

If you think I'm bringing up some obscure rules, be aware that some stations I've worked for over the years have received "cease and desist" orders from the NFL concerning the use of those copyrighted phrases [while we're on the subject, be careful how you use the slang word "three-peat", referring to a three-time champion in sports. Yes, it's ALSO copyrighted (either Pat Riley or Phil Jackson, both three-time champion coaches in the National Basketball Association, owns part of the rights; I forget which, and a search for further information has proved un-helpful. Maybe one of you out there might know?), and unauthorized use can be punished with fine or confinement].

(For the record, I suspect New England will put the capstone on their undefeated season by defeating one [or possibly, both] of New York City's NFL teams)

On another front, February 1st [Friday} is, "Wear Red For Women" Day in the United States. Women [and men, too] are encouraged to wear red, in hopes of increasing awareness that heart disease is the number 1 killer of women (and men) in the US. I've got my red shirt picked out for Friday, and, if you're in the United States, I hope you do, too. Have a nice weekend...

-Mike Riley


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