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Wednesday, January 28, 2004

Super Bowl Super Bowl Super Bowl - There, I Said It
A lot of people are referring to a "big game" on February 1, 2004 in Houston, Texas.

For example, Texaco Aviation has posted a "Flight Crew Guide to The Big Game February 1, 2004":

Come to Houston, Texas this coming February 1 as Houston’s Reliant Stadium will host the largest football game of the year. Houston has been preparing for this event and all indications are that everything will be ready for this great event.

Similarly, Phoenix Arizona radio station KTAR sponsored a "Gridiron Challenge" in which you could "[w]in a trip to the Big Game February 1, 2004":

3. Prizes:
a. Two (2) tickets to pro football's big game in Houston, Texas, Sunday, February 1, 2004.
b. Two (2) roundtrip tickets from Phoenix to Houston on America West Airlines.
c. Two (2) nights accomodations at a Houston area hotel Saturday, January 31, 2004, and Sunday, February 1, 2004.
Total value of prize package: $3,500

If you check these web pages, you will notice that there is a two-word phrase that does not appear anywhere on these pages. The first word of this phrase starts with an S, the second with a B. Yes, these pages talk about a "big game" in Houston, but never explicitly state that this game is commonly known as the...Super Bowl.

I'm not sure why there is this reluctance. From what I can tell, "Super Bowl" is not a trademark. The NFL lawyers put the following statement at the bottom of the superbowl.com page:

© 2004, NFL Enterprises, L.P. NFL and the NFL shield design are registered trademarks of the National Football League. The team names, logos and uniform designs are registered trademarks of the teams indicated. No portion of this site may be reproduced without the express written permission of NFL Enterprises and SportsLine.com. NFL Enterprises and SportsLine.com take no responsibility for third-party material appearing in any bulletin board or chat sections of this site. All rights reserved.

(Incidentally, you may note that I have just reproduced part of the site without permission. Rut roh.)

Well, it's a mystery to me.

Incidentally, the list of official sponsors (who presumably can say the magic words "Super Bowl" all they want) include a number of companies:

The sponsors have saddled up as Pepsi, General Motors/Cadillac, Wachovia, Pizza Hut, Sony PlayStation, H&R Block, Radio Shack, Ford, Monster.com and America Online join CBS when it rides into Houston, Texas for a week of Super Bowl programming featuring all the events, the hoopla and the fun capped by the main event: SUPER BOWL XXXVIII.

Note that there apparently is not an official computer, an official motorcycle, an official general-purpose search engine, an official grocery store, an official song (I, of course, support "Binky the Doormat"), or (of course) an official cigarette.

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