[02.04.08] Though the New York Giants upset the undefeated New England Patriots in a riveting Super Bowl game yesterday, many churches were not able to enjoy it as they’d once intended.
This year the National Football League (NFL) continued to pull the plug on churches showing the big game to a big crowd, citing it as a copyright violation, reported the Washington Post.
Last year the issue made headlines when the NFL sent a warning letter to Fall Creek Baptist Church in Indianapolis, which, like many churches, hosted an annual party showing the game on a massive TV screen.
This year more churches canceled parties, according to the Post, leading many pastors to question why sports bars can show the game but churches can’t.
“Doesn’t the NFL have enough money already?” said Steve Holley, pastor of Immanuel Bible Church in Springfield, Va., where Holley has been hosting Super Bowl parties for years. “It just doesn’t make sense.”
The answer, according to NFL spokesman Brian McCarthy, is that the league bans public exhibitions of its games on screens larger than 55 inches but by law has exempted sports bars from these regulations.
“We have no objection to churches and others hosting Super Bowl parties,” McCarthy said, so long as they “show the game on a television of the type commonly used at home. It is a matter of copyright law.”