This year’s Super Bowl match-up between Tom Brady’s New England Patriots and Eli Manning’s New York Giants may have been full of red, white and blue as both teams rely heavily on these patriotic colors, but the event itself was definitely showing signs of green. In fact, this was the 18th year of the National Football League’s Environmental Program, which they are using to bring just a bit more green to the country’s biggest sporting event every single year.
The 2012 Super Bowl – that is Super Bowl XLVI to you super sports fans – was possibly the greenest super bowl in NFL history. That’s right, each year the super bowl is a lot of things: the super bowl is the most watched television program of the entire year. That day also holds the distinction of being the second biggest day for the true great American pass time of eating, second only to the Thanksgiving holiday. It is the largest day for consuming nacho chips and chicken wings, in particular, and the time of year when people buy the most new big screen television sets. Of course it is also the one day of the year when people actually watch the commercials as much as the program itself. So, now that we reminisced about what makes the Super Bowl such a special day out of the 365 in a year, let’s talk about what makes this particular Super Bowl stand out above the previous 45 – this football extravaganza was more green.
It is all Relative You are probably wondering how an event that causes mass purchasing of giant screen TVs from big box electronics stores, causes the flouring and frying of millions of chickens, and means certain consumption for barrels of beer and salsa alike could possibly be green. Good questions. The truth is that in a world that is really only just beginning to embrace the eco-friendly nature of green, the color green is somewhat relative. So, instead of comparing this year’s Indianapolis based Super Bowl to some green building convention or a PETA meeting, let’s look at it in comparison to other Super Bowl’s of the past and see how the event is making moves towards green, moves which we can only hope will continue to develop in future Super Bowls throughout the country.
Running Down the Field of Green The NFL is actually making a very conscious effort to go green. This year the NFL made two major efforts on the path towards sustainability and sports. The main way that the NFL is seeking to go green is through buying green credits. Now, at first this may seem like something of a cop-out, but the fact is that it is challenging to turn such a huge extravaganza of crowds and indulgence green. Sure, the organizers in Indianapolis did their best by offering a lot of public transportation, shuttles and buses to avoid traffic congestions and, peripherally, green house gas emission. But to be honest, at this point offsetting their footprint is probably the best that the NFL can do, and it is certainly an important step in a corporation taking some responsibility for the environment.
So, the NFL worked with Green Mountain Energy to purchase carbon credits; you can see the details on the Green Mountain Energy website. This was done specifically by purchasing renewable energy certificates; in fact, the NFL purchased 15 million KWH of energy, reportedly enough to run 25 million flat screen TVs during the game and microwave 160 million bowls of nacho cheese dip, while they also donated 1,700 trees to be planted in the host city of Indianapolis.
In addition to purchasing these energy credits, the NFL helped organized hundreds of NFL parties; many of these parties worked to raise donations for a variety of homeless charities, helping to feed the masses.
The truth is that these efforts actually show a serious commitment by the NFL to become a little greener. If every sporting institution were to follow this lead we could continue to work solidly towards green, while setting a great example for our sports loving children.