It’s no secret that hockey is my sport; I created a blog to talk about it. But this Super Bowl Sunday, I contemplated some of the ways that the Stanley Cup Final, as thrilling and brilliant as it is, fails to exceed the Super Bowl in a few ways. The Super Bowl is a huge cultural phenomenon, a can’t miss event every year where even people like me, who can’t name more than one player on either team, sit and watch the game through. So these are my five things the Super Bowl does better than the Stanley Cup Final.
Honorary mention: hockey players are boring as heck. We could use someone as interesting as Richard Sherman.
This is a very nitpicky kind of thing to get on, but why doesn’t the NHL do the whole Roman numerals thing? The NFL is on number 48. Last year was the 120th year of the Stanley Cup being presented. That’s CXX. Next year is CXXI. Come on, that looks so cool. It would lend a sense of gravitas and history to the whole thing and make people go, ahh, this is tradition, therefore it is important.
Personally, I think it’s pretty dang cool to have the Super Bowl take place at a previously decided upon stadium. It gives them a lot of chance to build up the hype surrounding it, no one has “home court” advantage, and it can mean a pretty equal mixing of fans if, like this year, the venue is nowhere near either of the two team cities. (On a side note, the best part of this Super Bowl was the constant panning over New York City before the Met Life Stadium to give the illusion that it’s in New York and not, you know, Jersey.)
Is this feasible with hockey? Well, playoff format in hockey is so different that it probably wouldn’t work, and of course there would be hell to pay if it ended up in, like, Florida at the BB&T Center, but it also could (theoretically) help struggling franchises. It’ll never happen and that’s probably for the best, but I do love the idea of the Giants and Jets fans having to watch two teams from the other side of the country play for the championship in their stadium.
This one, to me, is pretty self-evident. We do get some amazing playoff commercials (last year’s Islanders one is a particular favorite of mine) and enough good things can’t be said about Hockey Night in Canada’s montages. But during the actual games, it tends to be the same insurance and beer commercials over and over and by the time playoffs are over, we all know them by heart. Part of the problem is that hockey playoffs take way more games than football. The Super Bowl is a one day event; advertisers know exactly when the game is going to be and you don’t know for sure in a seven game series which game is going to be the last. Nor do you know for sure what day it’s going to be. But the commercials are a huge part of what makes the Super Bowl such an event, and as great and brilliant as the seven game series is, it does usually prevent any one game from being The Game.
I can’t say the NHL tends to have strong music showings in general — Nickelback played the last awards show they had — and there’s no halftime in hockey for Bruno Mars to jump on a platform at center ice and start dancing away. But again, the music is part of the spectacle that makes the Super Bowl truly fantastic. It’s fun, it makes people tune in and maybe watch some of the game, and it’s something hockey will probably never, ever have.
We do have some badass organists though.
1. Puppy Bowl
“Oh what do I do for a living? I get tackled by puppies.”