from the touchdown dept
It’s that special time of year again where we here at Techdirt need to remind you that, no, the NFL cannot keep you from referring to The Super Bowl as The Super Bowl, full stop. While the NFL stomps around the entire country every year, slapping down bars and churches for hosting Super Bowl parties, all while an extremely unhelpful media plays along, the truth is that most of the bullying the NFL does isn’t over actual trademark infringement. Sure, if some business advertises some association or endorsement by the NFL, that would be trademark infringement. Or if they claimed endorsement of the game or the NFL, that too would be infringing use. But a church simply hosting a Super Bowl party is not trademark infringement.
And, of course, the silliest output of this confusion is people and companies using half-baked euphemisms to refer to the Super Bowl instead. Everyone knows what they’re talking about and, yet, this somehow isn’t infringing. So, were there any confusion, it would still exist, and yet the NFL relents. The most common of these has been “The Big Game”, of course, and its use continues to this day.
Restaurants have taken to calling it the Big Game because the NFL trademarked the name “Super Bowl” and jealously defends its use. But whatever you call it, Dallas restaurants are offering a superabundance of specials and takeout options for Sunday’s game. We’ll just call them Super Bowl specials because we can.
And so can everyone else. Really. Go ahead. This “the Big Game” nonsense is modernity’s “fire in a crowded theater.” But, because trademark bullying works, and everyone is so terrified of the NFL, instead you get this…
Not to be tripped up by trademark hassles, GAPCo got creative in naming their game-day deal. The Superb Owl Sampler includes 12 garlic knots, 12 toasted ravioli (six cheese, six beef), 12 pizza poppers with large ranch and sauces for dipping. The sampler ($55) feeds up to 10 people.
How the hell do you even parody something like that?
But if you really want to get yourself irritated, actual United States government agencies are getting in on this euphemistic bullshit. And the US Consumer Product Safety Commission actually made this all sillier with its own messaging on Twitter.
— US Consumer Product Safety Commission (@USCPSC) February 1, 2021
Why in the name of Tom Brady’s sweaty jock strap would you put out a tweet that names the Super Bowl and then put out an image that uses a euphemism for it? And, related: “the Large Football Game”? I’m frankly tempted to see that graphic as an attempt to poke fun at the NFL for its protectionist nonsense, but somehow I don’t think the USPSC has that much of a sense of humor.
Stop. STOP. Stop giving the NFL a power it doesn’t actually have. Stop acting like the league can somehow gatekeep reality. It can’t. Just call the Super Bowl by its damned name. It’s not Voldemort, after all.