You may wonder why so many ads and so much printed copy makes reference to “The Big Game,” and does not mention the words Super Bowl. First, as a newspaper, we are reminded each year that the term Super Bowl is a registered trademark of the NFL, and along with that comes a great deal of restrictions.
The NFL is notorious for guarding its intellectual property rights to the full extent of the law. As the most popular and most profitable sporting event in the United States, the Super Bowl is clearly the NFL’s most prized trademark, and rules governing its broadcast and appearance are, accordingly, very strict.
Without the clear permission of the NFL, newspapers and other media may not use the following terms or images: “Super Bowl,” “Super Sunday,” The Super Bowl Logo, “NFL,” “AFC” OR “NFC,” “The National Football League,” “American Football Conference,” “National Football Conference,” and any team name or nickname.
Newspapers may state the following terms and information without the NFL’s permission: “The Big Game,”“The Professional Football Championship Game,” the date of the game, the names of the two competing cities, as long as the team names are not mentioned, and most importantly any statement mocking the fact that the NFL doesn’t allow the media to use any of the forbidden terms.
Of course, because we have syndicated columns and stories from the Associated Press who do have permission to use the forbidden terms, you will certainly be aware of this Sunday’s event. But for those wanting to advertise specials and for our local writers who want to talk about the “game”, copy will have to say something like this:
Enjoy “The Big Game” this Sunday between the teams from New England and Seattle fighting to be the winners of “The Professional Football Championship.” Or for a business their ad might say, Give us a call, we have Pizza, Subs, and Chicken Wing “Big Game Specials” all to make your viewership of “The Big Game” more enjoyable.
But, no matter how you say it, we hope you enjoy “Big Game Sunday” with family and friends. And, if football is not you thing, spend a day at the Northeast Classic Car Museum in Norwich to see the more than 160 “classic cars” on display.