Do we need to hear from the president on Super Bowl Sunday?

Since 2004, the networks have conducted Super Bowl Sunday interviews with presidents. The interviews, which usually air during the afternoon as part of the pre-game coverage, provide a way for presidents to reach a large audience comprised of people who normally do not follow government closely. On the other hand, the Super Bowl is a sports event. Do we really need to hear from the president?

Here are three opinions from students in a Media and Democracy course at St. Bonaventure University.

Anna Holohan:

How much value do these interviews actually have? In my opinion – not much. The interviews are too brief to have much of an impact on viewers. While past interviews have been around 10 minutes long, this year’s interview with President Joe Biden was just over three minutes. This is simply not enough time to have any sort of meaningful discussion, and it does not allow the president enough time to convey a lasting message. 

The presidential interviews are short to begin with, and it does not help that they are aired within the pre-game coverage, which is typically five hours long. This coverage contains hours of other stories and advertisements, and the interviews simply get lost in the programming. Furthermore, the pre-game coverage is greatly overshadowed by the game itself, which viewers pay much more attention to.

The value of the interviews is also low due to the nature of the content, which the average viewer will most likely already know or have an understanding of. For example, Biden mainly discussed the pandemic and the lack of black coaches in the NFL, the former which is incredibly familiar to all Americans, and the latter which is likely obvious to anyone who regularly watches football.

One may argue that these interviews do have some value due to their ability to reach a wide audience, including some who may not be well-informed about politics. While this argument does have some merit, the wide reach of the interviews is not enough to make them completely valuable. As discussed, the interviews are not long enough to communicate any information beyond what the general public already knows, including even those who are not politically aware. These sorts of people will probably not pay much attention to the interviews anyway, as they are likely to be viewed with disinterest.

Ultimately, the Super Bowl presidential interviews have little value. They are short, often overshadowed, and do not convey meaningful information to the American population. There is nothing wrong with these interviews, but there is also not anything particularly valuable about them either. Perhaps the president should stick to the news.

Alexis King:

Interviews before the Super Bowl are a way for presidents to reach viewers who may not normally watch or follow them closely. Although this is a way to gain access to a large audience, it is unnecessary to do so.

Many want to be able to sit down and enjoy the Super Bowl and not have to listen to more politics, especially if it’s from a president they may not be fond of. The news in recent times is all very political, with the two main political parties always going back and forth about what they believe is right for our country, especially now during the pandemic. Most of these political news channels bring negative energy, and the Super Bowl should be one entertainment event where politics is left out as much as possible.  .

Despite feeling this way, there are some people who do enjoy hearing the president speak before the Super Bowl, and are interested to hear his thoughts and predictions. However, there isn’t much relation between the president speaking and the Super Bowl other than the fact that they both generate large audiences.

Mason Livingston:

The interviews with the presidents on Superbowl game day could have many benefits.

Many people in our country do not actively follow along with what the current administration is up too. According to a study involving almost 4,000 Americans, almost 80 percent follow politics casually or not at all. This means that many people tuning in are probably unaware of important political issues making the news such as Russia’s plan for invading Ukraine, current COVID-19 updates or status of the economy.

Showing the large population of citizens who watch the Super Bowl that the president is also watching can bring a sense of connection, especially if the interview stays game focused. A very light amount of politics should be discussed before the game. Very specific party agendas or deep issues could make viewers upset or even trigger dispute between friends and family at Super Bowl watch parties.

We should keep the tradition going but keep the topic on the upcoming big game. The idea of having the president speak though may catch the attention of many viewers and get them to question more about current political information. It is a simple way to remind people of what is happening in the political world and that they should stay informed on problems that could impact all of us.

Categories: Jandoli Institute, Media, Politics

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