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Richard Sherman's Big Mouth Will Pay Dividends in the Super Bowl

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Richard Sherman's iconic postgame interview with Erin Andrews was candid, emotional, unsportsmanlike, and definitely EXTRA. Even so, as a sports fan, I loved Sherman's interview because it captured the heart of a city with a big mouth. Last year, Seahawks fans landed in the Guinness Book of World Records for loudest outdoor sports stadium. The fans' noisy uproars in CenturyLink Field has propelled their hometown team to the 2014 Super Bowl.

This weekend the Seattle Seahawks and Denver Broncos will go to war for the Vince Lombardi Trophy -- the No. 1 defense and the No. 1 offense are facing off. Barring a FOX network blackout, millions of people will be glued to TV sets watching an epic game, great halftime concert, and always entertaining commercials. Not to mention, hundreds of local businesses will work to cash in on the Big Game.

According to the NFL Super Bowl Host Committee, as a result of hosting the 2014 Super Bowl, the New York-New Jersey region will generate an estimated $600 million in revenue. However, many professors whom have studied the economics of hosting the Super Bowl, like Dr. Victor Matheson of Holy Cross, believe this to be a "mystery number." The economic impact of sports on local economies has been exaggerated.

"Move the decimal point one place to the left," said Lake Forrest College Professor Robert Baade, who has studied the Super Bowl's impact on local economies, in a National Post article. "The NFL says $500 or $600 million? I think $50 to $60 million would be a generous appraisal of what the Super Bowl generates."

Studies have shown that the economic impact of hosting the super bowl is a mixed bag. Smaller cities, without the grandeur of New York City, benefit economically from hosting the Super Bowl. For example, Indianapolis had gained a direct economic impact of $176 million. On the other hand, the NFL estimated that Houston would have $330 million generated in revenue, but only received $129 million in direct spending. Evidently, the Super Bowl forecasting has been largely inaccurate because of its hopeful estimation methods.

Despite the uptick in temporary hiring in New Jersey, I still don't know whether the Super Bowl will generate big money for my hometown. I am hopeful there will be some economic gain since tourists do not usually visit New York or New Jersey during the winter months. Many economists believe that tourists will spend their money at NFL-Sponsored or corporate events, instead of local mom and pop stores in the New York-New Jersey area.

The NFL's Super Bowl projections are supposed to encourage cities to build taxpayer-funded stadiums. Most sports stadiums are financed with public funds, but taxpayers do not have a say. Nonetheless, the MetLife Stadium was financed with private investors wanting to make their money back. This begs the question: Was MetLife Stadium picked to host this year's Super Bowl due to pressure from investors? Who knows?

Many Americans -- including sports fans -- have been up in arms that the NFL is classified as a nonprofit and believe the NFL should pay more taxes. If sports fans believe nonprofits should only be used to help advance social, environmental, or human justice issues, our assumptions are clearly wrong. This is proof in the pudding that nonprofits do make money, but only operate under a different tax structure.

It is true: Roger Goodell receives $22 million dollar bonuses and IKEA's founder has lifetime royalties. The nonprofit that is the NFL exists to help budding athletes achieve their dreams of playing professional football. Similarly, IKEA is a nonprofit that exists to promote new designers in a marketplace environment. Sports fans buy into the NFL for the same reasons home decorators buy from IKEA: the allure of their products.

This is why I don't understand why many people -- including non-sports fans -- have negatively critiqued Richard Sherman's postgame interview with Erin Andrews. To me, Richard Sherman in football is the equivalent of Charles Barkley in basketball -- they are both highly skilled communicators that know how to get attention. Calling Sherman a "hoodlum" is an incorrect designation for the Stanford graduate; the public took his demeanor in this one instance and wrongfully diminished him to an inapplicable stereotype. However, calling him an "All-Star cornerback" is now historically accurate. This is why the Seahawks pay him top dollar for shutting down the opposing team's top wide receiver and why many fans will cheer him on this weekend.

Regardless of who wins, Richard Sherman's "big mouth" provides extra motivation for the fans and those interested in betting against him. And, even if the New York-New Jersey region does not gain economically, his "big mouth" will pay big dividends for the league. Why? Because "the NFL always wins."

 
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