When it comes to the Super Bowl, Americans throw a few penalty flags

Consumer Reports’ survey reveals the top gripes with the big game

Published: January 23, 2015 12:30 PM

They must be peeved about a an official making a bad call against their team.

What’s not to like about the Super Bowl, that annual early-February football fiesta? Apparently a lot, according to a recent nationally representative survey of 1,015 Americans conducted by the Consumer Reports National Research Center.

The top three most-cited gripes are about the on-field action: Forty-six percent of Super Bowl watchers say that referees’ bad calls are highly annoying; 44 percent cite arrogant players; and 43 percent say unsportsmanlike conduct peeves them. (Watch our video, above, to see the differences between men and women when it comes to these issues.)

Check out Consumer Reports' top 10 TVs for Super Bowl XLIX and our top 10 TV bargains for the game

Farther down the list of gridiron grievances (see all the gripes, below):

  • 34 percent of watchers are highly annoyed when their own team does not make it to the Super Bowl.

  • 33 percent dislike TV cameras focusing on rowdy or drunken fans in the stands; the excessive media coverage before, during, and after the game; and long supermarket lines when picking chips, drinks, and other nosh on game day.

Of course, these issues haven’t stopped people from tuning into the game—68 percent of American adults have watched the Super Bowl either on television or at the stadium, in part or in its entirety, at least once within the past three years. (Find out how to stream the Super Bowl for free.)

One final gripe from a colleague: Since the Super Bowl, now in its 49th—make that XLIXth—edition has become something of a national holiday, the NFL should move the game to Saturday. (The TV audience will tune in.) Imagine being able to sleep in on a Sunday after all that pigskin partying.

—Susan Feinstein


Percent highly annoyed

Bad calls by officials


Arrogant players


Unsportsmanlike conduct by players


Their team didn’t make it to the Super Bowl


TV camera focusing on rowdy or drunken fans


Excessive media coverage before, during, and after game


Long supermarket lines when getting chips and drinks on Super Bowl Sunday


Cleanup after a Super Bowl party


TV commercials that are suggestive or provocative


Lots of commercials


Losing money in a Super Bowl betting pool


Dull game commentary by announcers


Over-the-top halftime shows


Focus on drinking alcohol


TV timeouts, when the game is stopped for advertisements


Uninformative player interviews


Next-day hangover or eating-related complaints (e.g., heartburn)


Long break between conference championship games and Super Bowl


Focus on binge snacking


Pregame show


Hosting a Super Bowl party


Having to watch the game on current TV (which could be better)


Having to attend a Super Bowl party


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