Public Relations and the Super Bowl

The NFL stumbled this season.

A Forbes article by Mike Ozanian said the Packers vs. Cowboys game in the divisional round of the playoffs was the only game to have higher ratings than the same time slot in the 2015-2016 playoffs. The NFL needed something to get people excited about the league again.

Super Bowl LI delivered.

What originally appeared to be a rout, something the NFL hated seeing, turned into one of the most exciting games in the league’s history on the sport’s highest stage.

Down by 19 points heading into the fourth quarter, Tom Brady orchestrated perhaps the most dramatic and impressive come from behind victory of all time.

Everyone is talking about the game, and NFL loves it.

With the numbers not out yet regarding the use of social media during the game, there’s plenty of evidence to suggest the amount of interaction will be up significantly from last year.

The Patriots vs. Seahawks Super Bowl from two years ago set the record for most tweets during the big game with 28.4 million, according to CNBC. Last year’s Super Bowl saw a stiff decline in social media engagement, as the lackluster game produced five million fewer tweets.

Given the nature of the comeback win, the players involved and the legal battle over “Deflategate” between the Patriots and Roger Goodell, social media experts predict this year’s game will eclipse the record mark from the Patriot’s last Super Bowl victory.

The game is not the only aspect of the night that put the NFL in the positive spotlight. Lady Gaga has received rave reviews for her dynamic halftime performance that included some acrobatic stunts from the top of the stadium, as well as an incredible use of lighting and set design. Usually, the halftime show is something that struggles and draws negative reviews, but the majority opinion regarding Lady Gaga has been overwhelmingly positive.

Forbes went so far to say that regardless of the champion of the actual game, Lady Gaga should be considered the winner of the evening.

Between her performance, one of the most dramatic games of all time, being the first Super Bowl to ever go to overtime and, especially after a 25-point comeback, the NFL is the biggest winner of the evening.

Aside from a down year in the advertising aspect, the NFL saw everything go according to plan and better. It was all positive publicity, and for a league that struggled to generate excitement this year, it was a perfect ending.


Brendan Keany is a senior at Waynesburg University. He majors in sports broadcasting and sports communication, and his heavily involved in the school’s Department of Communication. He works as a sports broadcaster for WCYJ-FM, a television announcer for the Waynesburg University Sports Network, a producer for the national sports debate show “Plead Your Case” and manages the Op/Ed Section of the Yellow Jacket.

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