After Further Review, NFL Decides Churches Will Be Allowed To Host SuperBowl Parties

Don’t you just love instant replay? The NFL has decided to reverse its previous ruling and allow religious organizations to hold SuperBowl parties “regardless of size.” Previously, the only exception had been for sports bars.

The league has said that organizations that host public viewings of its games on television screens larger than 55 inches violate its copyright. Sports bars are exempted. Last year, the league sent letters to two churches advising them of the policy.

In response, Sen. Arlen Specter (R-Pa.) proposed legislation that would allow houses of worship to show football games on big-screen televisions and raised the issue with Goodell at a meeting last week. Other congressional representatives threatened similar bills.

In its letter, the NFL said it would not object to big-screen viewings in the churches as long as the showings are free and are on premises that the church uses on a “routine and customary” basis.

You can’t see me right now, but I just spiked the ball and now I’m pointing at the sky.

NFL Reverses Call On Church Parties [Washington Post] (Thanks, Jim!)
(AP Photo/Julie Jacobson)


Edit Your Comment

  1. laserjobs says:

    Why would anyone go to a church to watch the game? They don’t serve beer

  2. joemono says:

    @laserjobs: Because you can’t drink the blood of Christ at a bar.

  3. K-Bo says:

    @laserjobs: Depends on the church I know one church that throws an awesome alcohol soaked Greek Fest every year.

  4. Bay State Darren says:

    A] This would have been a better decision to make a month ago, NFL.

    B] Meg, why did you have to pick such a mean picture for this post? It’s making me want to cry.

  5. thirdbase says:

    The Patriots should go to church. They have a lot of cheating to confess.

  6. catcherintheeye says:

    @laserjobs: Depends on the Church – I went to a Jesuit college, and the Jesuits drank more than anyone I’ve ever seen.

  7. Falconfire says:

    Not all religions and denominations have issues with alcohol.

  8. tom2133 says:

    @Falconfire: Yeah… Church potlucks, one of the parishoners brings a cooler of New Belgium brews to our Catholic church. It’s only a problem is you “over-indulge.”

  9. SarcasticDwarf says:

    @laserjobs: It depends on how close the church members are. If like many midwest churches the members are very close (as in, they talk to eachother and organize events outside church), it can be a very enjoyable party.

  10. humphrmi says:

    @Falconfire: Some expect you to drink.

    “One in whose home wine does not flow like water is not blessed.”

    — Jewish Sages

  11. Benstein says:

    Trying to buy some good PR after destroying all of the evidence from Spygate.

  12. laserjobs says:

    Ok you guys I get the point, can I get a lap dance at church too?

  13. samurailynn says:

    “In response, Sen. Arlen Specter (R-Pa.) proposed legislation that would allow houses of worship to show football games on big-screen televisions…”

    We need legislation for this? This is why our government is so ridiculous.

  14. Nighthawke says:

    @laserjobs: Sure, but the confessionary is too small and the pews are too wide.

  15. Buran says:

    Notice how they waited until AFTER it mattered? Now no one cares.

  16. cmdr.sass says:

    But you still can’t *call* it a SuperBowl party or they’ll still sic their lawyers on you. In fact I’m probably about to be sued just for mentioning it.

  17. descend says:

    Sigh. More caving to religion.

  18. Hoss says:

    What was the NFL concerned about? That people would discover they like church more than attending games? I would think there would be a greater threat in that regard with sports bars. (And what about all the local teamster halls, knights of columbus, rotary clubs, etc — they are violating some copyright law by tuning into a football game?) Stupid

  19. DarthPaul says:

    Props to Arlen for the “houses of worship.” Non christians like football, too, y’know.

  20. evslin says:

    @descend: If the NFL holds the line they’re being asshats about their copyright, and if they concede they’re “caving to religion”. Guess some people can’t win, can’t they?

  21. Cialis Cooper says:

    @laserjobs: You’ve obviously never attended a Lutheran church in Wisconsin

  22. Jim says:

    @laserjobs: Not everyone who watches is 21 or over. When I was a kid, the church youth group Super Bowl parties were pretty fun.

  23. SacraBos says:

    Now they decide. AFTER the Superbowl. Jerks.
    @laserjobs: Yeah, but I bet there’s a bunch of people that SAY drinking is bad publicly, but get ripped privately…

  24. RokMartian says:

    A lot of churches host a super bowl party as a more family-friendly alternative.
    The problem started in 2007 when a fairly large church (Fall Creek Baptist) advertised a Super Bowl party and was going to charge a fee – they were also going to broadcast it on a 12 foot wide screen. Not a typical church gathering.

    Many churches got nervous and canceled, or like my church, resized our screen to fit within the 55″ rule.

  25. descend says:


    I never thought the NFL was being “asshats” in the first place, but what bothers me is that this exemption is for mysticism only. Why should other non-profit community groups be excluded?

  26. The Porkchop Express says:

    @laserjobs: only the good ones.

    I never understood why they didn’t want to allow the churches to do this. Were the churches profiting somehow?

  27. ELC says:

    “caving to religion” – give me a break! This isn’t a religous argument. It’s a group of people coming together at a function that most of them would want to watch anyway. They are not going to hang out at the smoke-filled bar with a bunch of loud-mouthed strangers, so this is a great alternative. The NFL’s rules are stupid anyway – they make money on the advertisers, not the place where you watch it. Whether the people are watching it in 50 different homes, or all watching it at some common place, how does it matter?

  28. ELC says:

    mysticism – ha, obviously this person hasn’t studied mysticism or Christianity in any depth to say such an ignorant thing.

  29. The Porkchop Express says:

    @ericole: that is true, about the ad money. They don’t make any money from the viewers at home, why should they make money from people watching at a not for profit place.

    As far as churches charging a fee, unless it’s for a group of their members wanting to use part of the church and renting space like you would for the a wedding, i don’t think the church should be able to make money off the game itself.

  30. samurailynn says:

    @ericole: The problem is that they are publicly exempting churches from the rule. However, if I invite 10 people over to watch the superbowl on my projector, at my house, I would be in violation of the rule. Most likely they would never find out about me inviting people over, but it’s still against their rules. I think the exemption should be something more like, any group may watch the superbowl on any size screen as long as they are not being charged an admission fee to watch. Simply stating that churches may do what no one else can is “caving to religion”.

  31. stacye says:

    “Remember the sabbath and keep it…. Oooh look, the game is on.”

  32. banmojo says:

    @stacye: only holds true for games played between sundown Friday night through sundown Saturday night – that is the Sabbath that Jesus Christ kept Himself; I don’t see why pseudoXians think they can “change the laws”.

    As for this ruling, I can see this privilege being abused (i.e. a collection plate getting passed around to help ‘defray’ costs) so I’m kinda surprised to see the NFL reverse its prior position.

  33. axiomatic says:

    In other news… Houses of Worship around the globe donated to NFL sponsored charities. The proceed are expected to grease the wheels with the NFL Players assoc. to allow greater flexibility in Houses of Worship ability to congregate to watch a football game. More at 11:00pm!

  34. WhirlyBird says:

    Isn’t this a *federal law*? How nice of the NFL to graciously grant an exception to the law like that. (I also like the link to the previous post, which refers to the NFL’s “ruling”.) If that doesn’t prove our laws are just the whims of large corporations, I don’t know what does.

  35. @joemono: Blood of Christ— hrm, let’s go equal parts tanic red wine and irish creme. Order it at a bar. No church necessary.

  36. Meg Marco says:

    @BayStateDarren: Anti-AFC bias.

  37. noquarter says:

    “The league has said that organizations that host public viewings of its games on television screens larger than 55 inches violate its copyright”

    The league can say whatever the hell they want – they don’t determine the copyright law in this country, and they can’t take away my fair use rights.

    Unfortunately, the MPAA lobbyists do and can.

  38. gStein_*|bringing starpipe back|* says:

    @Meg: great picture >:D

  39. Mr. Gunn says:

    I know plenty of people that projected the game on the outer wall of their house during mardi gras, effectively making it one of the largest “public” exhibitions ever.

    The bureaucrats at the NFL are starting to make the Recording Industry Ass. of America look positively civil.

  40. davethebutcher says:

    I was wondering why a fried chicken place would want to host super bowl parties…

  41. rhombopteryx says:


    We need legislation for this? This is why our government is so ridiculous.

    Unfortunately, the US. Because there is already federal law that says just how many inches wide a TV can be before it’s a copyright violation to show things on it in public, we do… It’s ridiculous, sure, but it ridiculousness to repair earlier ridiculousness.
    Here’s hoping the legislation actually passes.

  42. TPK says:

    Not sure if it’s correct, but my understanding of the NFL’s actual reason for protest was that they would be missing potential data points from Nielson viewers who may have decided to watch the game at a church instead of their living room. And goodness we can’t have them missing out on that last $100,000 per second for commercial rates…

  43. Mykro says:

    Technically, video projectors aren’t televisions.

    Superbowl at the drive in, anyone?

  44. scoosdad says:


    Because there is already federal law that says just how many inches wide a TV can be before it’s a copyright violation to show things on it in public, we do…

    Really? Got a citation for that?

  45. HOP says:

    i didn’t watch the thing at all…i’m a football fan, but not a plastic nfl fan…..i don’t much care for the computer controlled games….i liked the old nfl when they played mostle cause they liked thte game…they played on dirt ,outside and they played tough….not too many of todays players could play under the old ways…..i still like to watch small college and high school football…..

  46. noquarter says:

    @scoosdad: []

    See section 5.B.i.II

  47. daisukeumon says:

    WTF?!?! You mean to tell me that when my brother brings his 52 inch tv in the backyard to watch football games is illegal when we invite over 30 people and throw a bbq?!?! That sounds like a problem for television providers. I pay to watch my tv. And if I want someone else to watch my tv, the sure as hell can.