Did it look like the National Football League didn’t have a crisis plan in place at Sunday night’s Super Bowl LXVII? Some might think so. The biggest signal they sent that maybe they weren’t fully prepared is the terrible job they did communicating what was going on and what they were doing about it. They appeared to leave the teams in limbo, certainly the people in the Superdome and the millions and millions of us watching it all unfold on television.
There is precedent for the NFL not being very forthright with the public. You may recall this was the season we began with replacement referees. And you may recall there were many bad calls but one in particular where a photo captured two refs making the opposite call on the same play. Once again, the NFL had little if any comment about that situation that the world was talking about. Amazingly enough, the referee strike was solved before the next weekend’s games kicked off.
Here is the deal when it comes to crisis. Bad things are going to happen to every organization. And a crisis will never happen when it is convenient. Remember, we all saw it happen on the NFL’s biggest stage Sunday night. While it may have appeared the NFL didn’t have a plan, I’m sure they do. But if it looks like you don’t, then there are only two answers.
One is the NFL has no competition and therefore can afford to be arrogant and not worry about what any of us think. Or, it could be that the NFL had a plan but forgot to follow it. Either way, it’s indefensible in this day and age for a professional organization to be in the midst of crisis and be out of control and not communicating to their key audiences.
The silver lining of the power outage was it gave all of us time to clean up our Super Bowl party messes, get the kids to bed and enjoy the rest of the game.
Photo credit: AP/Matt Slocum and Au Kirk