While CBS has cause to celebrate with the Super Bowl's high ratings, they're also in a bit of trouble over an F-bomb that was dropped during the celebratory footage broadcast immediately following the Baltimore Ravens' win against the San Francisco 49ers. In unsurprising news, the Parents Television Council is not happy with Joe Flacco's exclamation and are hoping action is taken against CBS.
You may have heard it live, if you were watching the Ravens celebrating their win of the Super Bowl Sunday night. The team's quarterback Joe Flacco declared the situation "fucking awesome!" to a teammate he was approaching, likely not realizing he was on live television at the time (or not caring because he just won the Super Bowl). Watch it below, if you missed it.
EW says the PTC is looking to the Federal Communications Commission (otherwise known as the FCC) to take action against CBS over the incident.
“Despite empty assurance after empty assurance from the broadcast networks that they would never air indecent material, especially during the Super Bowl, it has happened again,” said PTC president Tim Winter. “No one should be surprised that a jubilant quarterback might use profane language while celebrating a career-defining win, but that is precisely the reason why CBS should have taken precautions. Joe Flacco’s use of the f-word, while understandable, does not absolve CBS of its legal obligation to prevent profane language from being broadcast – especially during something as uniquely pervasive as the Super Bowl. The instance was aired live across the country, and before the FCC’s designated ‘Safe Harbor’ time everywhere but along the East Coast.”
It's like nipplegate all over again! The 2004 incident that featured Janet Jackson's infamous wardrobe malfunction during the halftime show also happened to be a year CBS broadcast the event. Having that well known mark on their record likely doesn't help in this situation. In fact, Winter brought that up specifically in his statement, saying "Now nine years after the infamous Janet Jackson incident, the broadcast networks continue to have ‘malfunctions’ during the most-watched television event of the year, and enough is enough."
EW says CBS had a time-delay set during the game's halftime show and one of the post-game analysis, but the footage we saw after the game when the Ravens were celebrating was live, which means there was no way they could have muted out the exclamation before it broadcast.
I always think too big a deal is made of swear words on television, especially in this case when it's used in jubilation (and not, for example, as a hateful or negative exclamation), so it's hard to take the PTC's side here, but I'm sure many others were put off or outraged by Flacco's use of the F-word. Maybe CBS will consider a tape delay in the future to avoid situations like these.