Superbowl: Christie vs. deBlasio
Bill de Blasio just announced that he’ll be watching the Superbowl at home with his family, like most Americans.
De Blasio said he would stay home to watch with his teenage son, but the decision not to buy tickets to the high-priced event and to publicly say so is in line with the image he crafted during his campaign: that he was a middle-class family man focused on fixing the city’s widening income inequality.
‘I’m very excited that the NFL is hosting the Super Bowl in our area, and we’re working hard to be great hosts of the event,’ de Blasio said in a statement Thursday. ‘I’ve enjoyed participating in all the festivities leading up to Super Bowl Sunday, but I’ve decided to watch the game on TV, just like the vast majority of New Yorkers.’
NYC and NY state representatives aren’t allowed to accept free tickets to the Superbowl, except for some loopholes (gifts from family or somehow finagling it to be part of their official duties). Seems that de Blasio or Cuomo could probably justify that since the game is hosted by their team’s stadium, or something.
Maybe that’s how Chris Christie is justifying it…
Chris Christie, in a stark contrast, will be at the Superbowl “come hell or high water” and will watch it with his guests in a luxury club box at the Meadowlands.
Back in September Star-Ledger reported that Christie would lose his box to NFL control. His spokesman, Mr. Drewniak, said there was no question that he’d be there “come hell or high water”.
He had already gotten past the high water part but probably wasn’t expecting the hell that was to be unleashed. Nonetheless, Drewniak was right. The governor will be there with bells on, so to speak.
He has also been very visible in various Superbowl events during the past week, and clearly had made a lot of big plans that he wasn’t going to allow to be ruined by some hellish, national news level, federal investigation level scandals.
Over the past few weeks, the governor boasted about how he would get to hand-pick two dozen VIPS for a sweet reward: the chance to enjoy the biggest sporting event in the country with him in his luxury suite at MetLife Stadium.
When asked who would control the guest list for the governor’s box at the Super Bowl while co-hosting WFAN’s Boomer and Carton sports radio show on Aug. 26, Christie said: ‘You’re looking at him, baby.’
But as it turns out, the governor’s box will be out of bounds for the governor on game day.
And then WNYC reported that while Christie didn’t have the use of his personal governor’s box for the game, the state has yet another luxury box and he has commandeered that one. So no need to feel sorry for the poor governor not being able to throw a Superbowl party in his own luxury box. He’ll be throwing one in the New Jersey Sports & Exposition Authority’s box:
But thanks to an agency he controls, Christie will get access to box seats on Feb. 2 after all.
Questions to Christie’s office, asking about the governor’s Super Bowl plans and who he would be inviting into his newly-acquired box, went unanswered.
And unlike other governmental entities in other cities that keep lists of visitors to their sports boxes, there’s no record kept by the Sports Authority or the governor’s office as to whom they entertain in those suites.
The invitations probably were sent long before the scandals broke and while they might not have been very interested before, now there are probably a significant number of journalists who will make it their business to find out who else is in that glass box. So even if the governor’s office doesn’t want to talk about it, the public is likely to find out anyway.
This week, Christie was tweeting and joking a lot on Twitter, at times trying to engage Bill deBlasio in some bantering about the New York / New Jersey rivalry. His tweets changed from some rather somber post-inaugural messages to some raucous Superbowl related messages less than a week later. He even retweeted an NJ Transit photo from Hoboken. One can imagine for how long Christie and his team had been planning this fortnight of triumph.
He sent out a picture of himself with the NFL Commissioner.
Blaz didn’t respond. Christie then tweeted directly at him.
But there was no return volley from deBlasio and in fact, no tweets from deBlasio at all about the Superbowl. Christie’s tweets got a bit more serious again as he had planned to bring Cindy McCain in to tackle the issue of sex trafficking as part of his Superbowl week campaign.
And then tonight, deBlasio made the announcement that he’s not attending the Superbowl at all because of ticket prices and his desire to enjoy the game the way that most other Americans do, in order to be true to his populist agenda.
This could be a major blow to Christie, who has taken the opposite, very grandiose approach. He doesn’t seem to realize that not only is this not the best decision for a guy embroiled in multiple, highly visible, corruption scandals but that he is also out of step with the zeitgeist in the region and in the country, given that so many are going through hard times, and the state is a financial mess.
If Cuomo also chooses not to go, it very well may become an issue that the media will discuss widely and sort of a scandal of its own and certainly not helpful for his image. Not only will deBlasio and Cuomo have snubbed Christie in his attempts to engage them in Superbowl mania, they will also trump him politically with their decisions to forego any high price tickets or luxury boxes, opting to maintain a more low key and low cost profile.
Public domain photo by Tommy Gilligan / US Marine Academy.