Super Bowl Promoters Make Offensive Calls

What do the Fall Creek Baptist Church in Indianapolis and have in common?

They've both drawn a flag from promoters of this Sunday's Super Bowl, but with markedly different penalties.

The National Football League slapped the church with a legal warning not to feature the Super Bowl on a large screen at a church-sponsored party. Why? The pastor is asking for a small fee to cover refreshments, which the NFL regards as shameless profiteering.

Keep in mind that saloons all over Indianapolis, Chicago and elsewhere will be featuring the Super Bowl on their big screens while charging for seats and drinks.

There's more. According to The Indianapolis Star:

“The league even took exception to the church's plan to influence nonmembers with a video highlighting the Christian testimonies of Colts coach Tony Dungy and Chicago Bears coach Lovie Smith…. 'While this may be a noble message,' NFL assistant counsel Rachel L. Margolies wrote in a follow-up e-mail, 'we are consistent in refusing the use of our game broadcasts in connection with events that promote a message, no matter the content.'”

Oddly, the NFL doesn't seem troubled by GoDaddy's message.  The Internet domain provider has become famous by running porn-flavored spots during the Super Bowl.

As GoDaddy founder and CEO Bob Parsons told a press conference, “These spots have really made the company….We were lucky that [last year's spot] offended somebody so the ad was canceled. It created tremendous publicity.”

Enough to try it again this year?

“Never once were we trying to get ads rejected,” Parsons said with a straight face.

Sure. This year, GoDaddy produced two more sordid spots.  One features pitchwoman Candice Michelle affecting porn poses reminiscent of the film Basic Instinct. The other shows office mates arguing over domain names that imply adultery and incest, the latter hinting at a man “doing” his own mother.

Parsons said he couldn't for the life of him figure out why some people might find these ads in poor taste: “I can't even imagine what's offensive on the ones that they rejected.”

CBS, which is broadcasting the Super Bowl this year, is playing the same game Fox played last year.  Reject some deliberately offensive GoDaddy ads, accept a milder version, and still drive traffic to the GoDaddy Web site.  Wink, wink. The NFL is fine with this.

Parsons also turned up smirking on Fox News Channel's Hannity & Colmes, along with the porn babe pitchwoman, whose wholesome activities in one of the rejected spots included playing with her breasts, sucking her finger and spreading her legs.

When asked by Kirsten Powers, who was filling in for Alan Colmes, whether they were concerned about children watching, both Parsons and Candice answered with versions of the classic scoundrel's dodge: “Kids see worse stuff, so it's okay.” 

Parsons:  “Come on now. Do you keep your children from going to the mall? Because our ads don't show anything that your children wouldn't see if they go to a local mall…” He went on to note that cheerleaders often wear less than Candice does in the ad.

Toeing the liberal line, which means pitching softballs to cads, Powers followed up with a big smile and a question to Candice, who was clad in a tight T-shirt.

Powers: “Candice, let me bring you in here. What do you think? Do you think the ads are being unfairly treated?” 

Candice:  “Uh, well, you know, I think we're definitely being pinpointed, um, you know.  But like Bob said, there's nothing more than, you know, what you see on the cheerleaders on the sideline—as a matter of fact, I have a lot more clothes on than what they have, or, you know, even going to the mall…. It's you know, it's just, um, kind of like being over-judged a little bit.”

Sean Hannity, who looked plainly embarrassed at Fox's pandering, rejected the nonsense and said the GoDaddy guests were far from innocent naifs and were actually marketing “geniuses” for creating banned ads and then calling attention to them.

“We're accused of that,” Parsons said, barely containing his mirth, “but our intentions are pure.” 

Last year, after Fox had to cancel a spot at the last minute, the negotiated settlement netted Parsons two Super Bowl game balls, one of which he twirled during the press conference. He was very happy.

The score just before kickoff: GoDaddy: Zillions. Church: Zilch.

Things might be a little different in Heaven's version of the post-game show.

Robert Knight is director of the Culture and Media Institute,, a division of the Media Research Center.