2023 Super Bowl

Fox’ Super Bowl commentary was trite, yet Bob Costas’ and Chris Berman’s were ear-catching



Since the Super Bowl is actually a made for TV event, featuring a series of commercials interrupted by several minutes of football, no analysis of the event should exclude the commentary leading up to and after the Big Game.

As usual, in my opinion, the pedestrian chatter can only be appreciated by TV masochists and sadists, football fanatics, network bean counters and legal bookies who bet that their misleading “no loss” commercials will entice viewers to gamble.

Listening to the TV commentary reminded me of two adages:

1) “Too many cooks spoil the broth,” meaning that if too many people are working on the same product, the end product may not be as good as if only a dedicated few worked on it, and

2) “The cream (usually) rises to the top,” meaning that those with the best skills will be known.

Here’s my take on adage # 1:

I attempted, unsuccessfully, to watch a fair portion of Fox’s marathon pre-game television coverage but couldn’t take the ‘done to death commentary’ which include such incisive questions like, “What does it mean to be in a Super Bowl,” and “Did you sleep last night?” and the rehashed to death subjects that Philadelphia Eagles Jalen Hurts and Kansas City’s Bengals Patrick Mahomes would be the first two Black quarterbacks to compete against one another in the same Super Bowl, one in which the Kelce brothers also made history by being the first siblings to oppose one another in the Big Game. The ridiculous coverage given to their mother. It was as if there weren’t enough story lines to fill all time slots. The story lines on Fox and on other outlets were so repetitive that it could have been used by people with insomnia as a sleeping aid. Of course, what would a Super Bowl be without the NFL attempting to convince people that football and the American flag are a daily-double!

My take on adage # 2:

While I thought the game commentary by Kevin Burkhardt and Greg Olsen was excellent, I felt the best TV was provided by two people who had no connection to Fox, the game’s network broadcaster.

ESPN’s Chris Berman provided viewers with excellent after the game interviews, including ones with winning coach Andy Reid and his MVP QB Patrick Mahomes. Unlike Fox’ pre game show football panelists, all of whom predicted that Philadelphia would win, Berman for the second straight year picked the winner. He said Kansas City would win by three points, 29 26. Berman also correctly said the Rams would defeat the Cincinnati Bengals by three points in last year’s Super Bowl, which the Rams won 23-20. He got the winning teams correct but the scores wrong. Well, very few people are perfect.

But the best commentary about the Super Bowl was on CNN, when Jim Acosta interviewed Bob Costas on Feb. 11. Instead of providing the usual cliché driven talk that’s been a staple of the Fox lead-up to the Super Bowl game, Costas provided an in-depth analysis of what’s right and wrong with the Super Bowl, including  what the NFL could learn from baseball. Not surprising. Once again Costas showed why he is the cream of sportscasters.

The game itself made for exciting TV, unlike the trite commentary by most of Fox’ pre and post game talent. But Kansas City was not the only winner. So was Fox, which televised the game and charged up to $7-million for a:30 second spot.


Arthur Solomon

Arthur Solomon, a former journalist, was a senior VP/senior counselor at Burson-Marsteller, and was responsible for restructuring, managing and playing key roles in some of the most significant national and international sports and non-sports programs. He also traveled internationally as a media adviser to high-ranking government officials. He now is a frequent contributor to public relations publications and consults on public relations projects. He can be reached at arthursolomon4pr (at) juno.com.

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