Why Confetti Cannons, Pyrotechnics, and Sports Don't Mix

Wise GuidesCorrespondent IJune 12, 2009

The Orlando Magic have been getting some heat for that premature celebration the other night when confetti rained down just prior to the final buzzer. They were about to win the first Finals game in team history and apparently the guy operating the confetti cannons had an itchy trigger finger.

Maybe there's an assumption that fans in Orlando, numbed by years of observing contrived celebrations and fake happiness at that big amusement park nearby, wouldn't know the game was over and that their team won until the confetti flew.

Actually, I'm picking on Orlando now because the truth is these pre and post game celebrations in the NBA have been over-the-top for years.

David Stern made the news last year when he commented on it after observing some pregame shenanigans before a playoff game.

Here's part of what the Commish said: "I think they're ridiculous. I think that the noise, the fire, and the smoke is a kind of assault that we should seriously consider reviewing whether it's really necessary, given the quality of our game."

Well, I might have an argument about the quality of the game (particularly regular season ones), but otherwise he was right on the mark. In that interview, Stern almost apologizes, saying he's just not in the demographic that enjoys blaring rap music, fire, and explosions before indoor sporting events.

It was kind of odd to hear David Stern sounding so timid (at one point he says, "I'm going to get in trouble for this") because I always thought of him as the Tony Soprano of sport's commissioners. Anyway, he closes by saying, "I think we've gone over the top."

You think? That's kind of like Jeffrey Dahmer saying, "I think I went a little too far." The off-court distractions at NBA games have become so pervasive, and have been going on for so long, that fans have essentially been trained to not cheer—except, of course, when that noise meter comes on the big screen.

Otherwise, they just sit passively and wait for the dance team to come out, or the mascot to launch t-shirts into the stands, or the frisbee-catching dog to do his thing. It sounds like the circus.

Stern should have taken note years ago when he realized the loudest cheer at many NBA games is when the home team goes over 100 points, meaning free Big Macs for everyone in attendance. The second loudest is when the noise-meter comes on.
I'm kind of picking on the NBA, but they are not alone in this. The confetti cannons are certainly blasting away at the end of the Super Bowl, and the NFL has had its own awkward endings.

In Super Bowl XXXVI, when New England's Adam Vinatieri lined up for a 48-yard field goal that would win the game over the Rams, there were seven seconds left on the clock. Well, it doesn't take seven seconds to kick a field goal, even one that long.

If you watch this grainy replay you'll see that there are three seconds on the clock as the ball sails through the uprights, then the clock is just allowed to run out. The players storm the field and, yes, the confetti cannons go off.

Oh well. It was only the Super Bowl.