Here’s why ads refer to the Super Bowl as ‘The Big Game’

The Game That Advertisers Dare Not Name isn’t really about football. You already understand this. It’s about money, business and advertising.

Sure, they’ll play some football at Super Bowl LIII, which stands for 53 for those of you who weren’t forced to take Latin. And the Patriots will win 31 to 25. (I do have 1 and 5 in the office pool, so there is a little wishful thinking on my part.)

You have probably already figured out on your own that companies selling such items as chicken wings, big- screen TVs and cars aren’t allowed to mention the real name of The Game That Advertisers Dare Not Name in their spots.

The long and short of it is: If you don’t pay a fee to the NFL, you can’t use the name Super Bowl in ads. Instead, it has become common practice to call it The Big Game.

The name Super Bowl is reserved for companies that can pay upwards of $5 million for a 30-second interruption of your enjoyment. And then there are those companies willing and able to pay many, many times that amount to commit to multi-year deals that permit them to tack the Super Bowl name and logo onto their products.

Those without deep pockets just call it The Big Game, and we all know what that means. But I find this pretty tedious considering that the blitz of ads starts almost as far ahead of Super Bowl as Christmas advertising does before Jesus Christ’s birthday.

My point here is that I’m trying to come up with some alternate Super Bowl names that would be acceptable to the NFL and relieve the tedium. So I tried calling the NFL this week to see if any of the following names would be OK with the league and not infringe on its trademark.

But I couldn’t get an answer. I did speak to someone in the NFL legal department and she passed me on to someone else, who didn’t call back.

Here are my proposed alternatives: “The Super Game,” “The Biggest Bowl,” “#53,” “The S.p.er Bowl” or “The Supper Bowl.” Or my favorite: “The Game That Advertisers Dare Not Name.”

Just so you know, journalists are allowed to use the words “Super Bowl” because we aren’t selling anything except our words — and, in most cases, those aren’t really worth a lot.

By next year, I hope to bury the phrase “The Big Game” and come up with an alternative. Or maybe I’ll just trademark the phrase “The Big Game” and retire.

Wish me luck in this venture and in 1 and 5 coming out in the game’s score.

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