Athens Review, Athens, Texas

February 11, 2013

Yeah, there’s a game, but I’m just listening to the words!

Joe Elerson
The Athens Review

ATHENS — It looks like CBS and the Super Bowl could be in trouble once again.

For those of you who watched Super Bowl XLVII last Sunday, Baltimore Ravens quarterback and Most Valuable Player Joe Flacco let out a celebratory F-bomb on national television.

It seems natural when players win the biggest game of the year that they would say the first thing that comes to mind.

In the end, an average of 108.4 million viewers tuned in to the game, compared with 111.3 million a year ago when the New York Giants defeated the New England Patriots on NBC.

CBS said it was the third-most-watched program in television history, behind last year's Super Bowl and 2011’s matchup between the Pittsburgh Steelers and the Green Bay Packers, which garnered 111 million viewers.

Of those viewers, I am curious how many people stuck around to see the celebration between Flacco and teammate Marshal Yanda.

For Flacco, the emotions were high since this was his first Super Bowl victory and he tied Joe Montana and Kurt Warner by throwing 11 touchdowns with no interceptions in the playoffs.

Now according to an article on, a watchdog group says it wants the Federal Communications Commission to act after CBS aired Flacco and another player using a curse word.

Both incidents happened right after the Ravens defeated the San Francisco 49ers, 34-31, in a Super Bowl that had more than just a language issue.

The other issue, which is not one to get the network in trouble, was the unfortunate 35-minute delay in which half of the lights at the Mercedes Benz Superdome went out during the third quarter of the game.

I did not take offense to the slip, but did notice it clearly as I was watching the celebration following the game.

Words like that come naturally with many football players, but this is one of those times where it gets noticed because there was not a time delay for the live coverage.

Should they have had the time delay set for the post game celebration? Absolutely.

The Parents Television Council made their feelings known after the game.

“Now nine years after the infamous Janet Jackson incident, the broadcast networks continue to have ‘malfunctions’ during the most-watched television event of the year, and enough is enough,” PTC president Tim Winter said.

I remember the incident in 2004 when Justin Timberlake and Janet Jackson had the incident with her wardrobe malfunction and the backlash it caused.

It does seem interesting to me that CBS had a time delay prepared for the halftime show with Beyonce, but they would not have one set for problems which would arise with on-the-field conversations with players and coaches.

It seems to me the networks would find more ways to protect viewers from hearing such words, but the FCC defines profanity in a different way.

“The FCC has defined profanity as ‘including language so grossly offensive to members of the public who actually hear it as to amount to a nuisance.’  Like indecency, profane speech is prohibited on broadcast radio and television between the hours of 6 a.m. and 10 p.m.,” the FCC policy reads.

With Flacco’s slip, I think this issue will be in the news for a couple of days but we will most likely forget about it because it happens more times than we imagine.

Should we put blame on Flacco for the word, or on the network for once again making a mistake during the nation’s biggest game of the year?

I say the blame should be placed on CBS for not having a delay ready or for the announcer’s to not recognize and apologize for the slip.

But that is what happens in the world of sports and it will most likely continue to happen for years to come.

Sports on television will always have some issue among watchdog groups or commentators, but one thing is for certain it will always bring fans to the games or their televisions to see just how great they perform on the biggest stage.

No matter how an athlete shows their celebration, I will always be intrigued as a fan to see just what is said following a postgame celebration.

Joe Elerson is a staff writer for the Athens Review.