Many of the fields that are home to NFL teams are now covered in Astroturf rather than natural grass. The losing team in Super Bowl 43, the Arizona Cardinals, play on grass while the winners, the Pittsburgh Steelers, play on Astroturf. The championship was played in Tampa Bay on grass, therefore the type of turf had nothing to do with the outcome of the game. I have previously opined that Astroturf is significantly greener than grass when carbon and water footprints are compared. Maybe the greener team won the Super Bowl. Actually the greenest team in the NFL is the Philadelphia Eagles the cross state rivals of the Steelers. Besides the fact that the Eagles uniforms are green, their owner Christina Lurie has instituted a massive recycling program at their stadium. The Eagles are the first professional sports organization to purchase renewable wind energy for the operation of their stadium. Also they produce bio-diesel from the waste cooking oils and fats that are used in the team’s and stadium kitchens. Of course the Eagles stadium in South Philly is Astroturf.
The least green thing about Super Bowl is the number of fans who arrived in their private jets to witness the game in Tampa Bay. It was estimated that over 400 private jets were used to ferry the rich and the famous to the championship game. These "turbofans" undid the entire efforts of being green that the Eagles accomplished in the entire season. One of the announcers, John Madden, who lives in the San Francisco Bay Area has a fear of flying and he and his entourage made the trip to Tampa Bay in his Madden Bus. Two years after Madden graduated from Cal Poly the school suffered a terrible incident in which 16 players were killed in plane crash. This accident as well as Madden’s admitted claustrophobia are the reasons why this hall of fame player, coach and now TV announcer travels from game to game in his bus. Madden should also be admitted to the Green Machine hall of fame as bus travel leaves a far smaller carbon footprint than air travel.
The Super Bowl was watched on TV by some 98.7 million people. That all these fans remained off the roads and freeways for three or four hours also had a positive effect on our collective carbon footprints for that short period of time. If only each Sunday was Super Bowl Sunday the USA could meet the requirements of the Kyoto Protocol by simply being couch potatoes. The Vince Lombardy Trophy was presented to the Steelers by the ultimate Green Machine – Joe Namath. Joe wore the green NY Jets jersey with number 12 in his Super Bowl III victory some forty years ago.