Super Bowl XLII | Greening the Gridiron

sb003 Super Bowl XLII | Greening the Gridiron

While the Giants and the Patriots are ready to play the game of their lives this Sunday, the NFL isn’t playing around at all. They say they’re very serious about reducing the impact of Super Bowl activities on the local and global environment.

Does that mean the pigskin is made of recycled or plant-based material, the players will be sporting hemp uniforms and the Gatorade is organic? Heck no. Rather, the NFL is taking a much more subtle behind-the-scenes approach to greening America’s biggest game. So subtle is their approach, in fact, that it came as news to me that they’ve been greening the Super Bowl for the past fifteen years.

I was stoked to hear of the League’s green initiative. For starters, the Super Bowl’s energy is not just fan-driven. Renewable energy (wind, solar, geothermal and landfill gas) is provided by the local utility company, Salt River Project, to power the University of Phoenix’s stadium and that other huge venue that’s a sheer Eden for lovers of the game — the NFL Experience Football Theme Park.

While the energy aspect is certainly impressive, the remaining supposedly green plans left me a little disappointed. Perhaps not as crestfallen as Lawrence Tynes was when he missed his second field goal that almost cost the Giants an NFC championship, but you get my drift.

But here’ are additional green plans the NFL is rolling out for Sunday’s game: collection and donation of extra prepared food — in conjunction with Waste Not, a local food recovery organization. (Okay, that’s a no brainer.) There’s also a planned donation of decorative and building materials as well as office supplies to local non-profits. (Makes good sense to me — who wouldn’t want little football sticky pads?) And solid waste will be diverted from local landfills through the recycling and reuse of potential waste materials. (I wonder if the losing team has that duty…)

So, how green will Sunday be? Well, the pigskin won’t be green, but Tom Petty’s guitar will be powered by green and the Super Bowl winners will make lots of green (while the losers will be green with envy). And while most Monday morning quarterbacks will be questioning plays made, others might be questioning the ones not made — like avoiding the serving of tens of thousands of plastic bottles, chilling on the confetti, amping down the pyrotechnics and using organic sod that’s chem and pesticide free. And I bet you the painted field lines could somehow be more natural.

But unlike the players on the field, the NFL gets points for effort – at least from me. Good going NFL, you made some respectable plays.

Remember, there are no winners and losers on the green gridiron!



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