NFL yields to churches on Super Bowl viewing: Reverses ban on widescreen TVs

The National Football League will now allow churches to air live showings of the Super Bowl on a screen of any size, reversing a previous ban on widescreen TVs.

Members of Congress, including Senator Orrin Hatch (R., Utah), and church leaders had objected to the NFL’s rule that churches could not hold Super Bowl parties featuring TV screens larger than 55 inches, even though sports bars routinely do.

“For future Super Bowls, the league will not object to live showings—regardless of screen size—of the Super Bowl by a religious organization when such showings are free and on premises used by the religious organization on a routine and customary basis,” wrote NFL commissioner Roger Goodell in a February 19 letter to Hatch.

Senator Arlen Specter (R., Pa.) introduced legislation February 4 that would allow churches to show the Super Bowl on widescreen TV. But the NFL said a law is not needed, and its new policy will begin with the 2009 Super Bowl on February 1. –Religion News Service