Friday, February 02, 2007

NFL Tells Fans: Skip Church, Go To A Bar Instead

Don't get me wrong here. I love football. I love playing football. I love watching football. I also plan to host my own Super Bowl party. But, I am starting to sour a little on the powers that be who run the NFL.

The NFL sent a letter to a church in Indianapolis last week warning of infractions if they went ahead with their plans to host a Super Bowl party to support the Colts. Dr. John Newland of Fall Creek Baptist Church says his church was planning to play games, have snacks, and watch the game on a projection screen. They also planned to charge an entry fee for the game.

Now if the league was just trying to put an end to the church charging admission, I would not have a problem with this story. But even after the church agreed to drop the admission fee, the NFL still balked. According to league rule, it prohibits mass out-of-home viewing of the Super Bowl except at bars and other businesses that show televised sports as part of their everyday operations.

Let me get this straight. The NFL is saying it is OK to go to a bar, where people are drinking and smoking and I'll bet yelling and cussing at the TV screen, but it's NOT OK to go to church?

For years, we've heard the mocking term "NFL stands for No Fun League", but I think this takes that to a whole new level.

The church says it certainly plans to comply, and was not clear if they will party at all.

HOWEVER, according to WRTV Channel 6 in Indianapolis, the Second Baptist Church in Indianapolis WILL proceed with its plans to show the game, using a rear-projection TV screen, even though the NFL says they aren't allowed to show the Super Bowl on a TV larger than 55 inches.

Rev. David Greene said, "the NFL implied it has a problem with the venue and medium that local churches conduct ministry. We want to save souls by any means necessary. Football, traditional service, street ministry -- it doesn't matter."

The NFL backpedaled a bit today, saying the NFL "has absolutely no objection to churches and others hosting Super Bowl viewing parties as long as they do not charge admission and show the game on a television of the type commonly used at home."

Just in case you are interested, you can contact the NFL at 280 Park Avenue, New York, NY 10017. (212) 450-2000.

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