What scandals? It never rains on Super Bowl party

Sun Jan 25, 2015 4:55pm EST
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By Steve Keating

PHOENIX (Reuters) - From domestic violence to deflated footballs, scandal and controversy have hung over the National Football League this season but no matter how dark the clouds it never rains on the Super Bowl parade.

North America's most popular sport has seen as many hits off the field as on it during a turbulent 2014-15 campaign but marches on toward next Sunday's highly anticipated championship game between the Seattle Seahawks and New England Patriots.

Alleged skullduggery surrounding the Patriots use of deflated footballs in a blowout of the Indianapolis Colts in the AFC title game has been an unwanted distraction during the run in to Super Bowl week but the hotel rooms are full and private jets pack Phoenix area airports, unloading their cargo of A-listers and high-rollers ready for a week of VIP partying.

"The fact is Americans just love football," George Belch, marketing professor at San Diego State University told Reuters. "They hit these speed bumps, things happen but the public just can't seem to get enough of it.

"It is kind of surprising in a way because you would think with the domestic violence concerns, the concussions, the violence in general in the game .... in some way it just keeps on going."

The NFL seeks to guards its integrity as zealously as offensive linemen protect their quarterbacks but the league and Commissioner Roger Goodell have taken more than a few jarring sacks.

For much of the season the NFL lurched from crisis to crisis.

Images of Baltimore Ravens running back Ray Rice punching and dragging then-fiancee Janay Rice out of an elevator were graphic and alarming, forging a disturbing link between the NFL and domestic violence.   Continued...

Seattle Seahawks' Breno Giacomini (68) holds the Vince Lombardi Trophy at Century Link Field after the NFL team's Super Bowl victory parade in Seattle, Washington February 5, 2014. REUTERS/Jason Redmond