Choking clouds of stench from the exhaust of miles of bumper-to-bumper cars is a guarantee prior to any NFL game, radiating up into the fragile ozone along with the burn-off from thousands of kilowatts of electricity generated by the bright masses of intense stadium lights.
Thanks to tailgating by the thousands, charcoal releases hydrocarbons along with soot particles in such significant amounts that we can understand why the side of our coveted bag of briquettes carries a warning: carcinogens released.
The tragic truth one must draw from this is the slow destruction of our environment through the traditional and thrilling games that people the world over thrive upon.
No, depend upon.
But this is not a reality that must necessarily continue into the future, as spear-headers such as the Arizona Cardinals take the lead to demonstrate to the rest of the NFL exactly what type of changes need to be made.
With help from General Manager Rod Graves, team President Michael Bidwell, and owner Bill Bidwell (among others), the desert skies above the Arizona Cardinals home games will be a little clearer this year.
In a commendable move, an agreement to purchase ten games worth of renewable energy from the Salt River Project was arranged. Saving our consumable resources by using some 95,000 kilowatt-hours of green energy, this power will be harvested from local natural renewable sources.
Among the sources that will be used to operate the University of Phoenix Stadium are power from geothermal generation, "low-impact" hydroelectric generation, landfill gas generation, and wind generation.
Particularly commendable is the landfill gas generation, which not only prevents the depletion of natural resources, but also harvests toxic gases from the air and converts it into energy, a two-fold move that not only prevents air contamination, but also eliminates the production of more air pollution.
With the Arizona Diamondbacks also purchasing renewable energy for a total of six of their games this July, and the Phoenix Suns teaming with the city and APS power in 2008 to install a major solar panel project, it is undeniable that Arizona has the right goals in mind: protecting the planet while giving their athletes a clean and healthy environment to play in.
Super Bowl XLIII, hosted by the University of Phoenix Stadium for the 2007 battle between the Giants and Patriots, was also powered by the Salt River Project. This extremely high-profile event, by going green, was another shining example that makes others take note of environmental issues.
September 13th will be the first game to be played under the dome’s green system, opening the Cards' season against the San Francisco 49ers. Fans hope the fresh air and revitalized cheers will help the team turn around their discouraging 0-4 preseason.
With the city of Phoenix’s goal to become the first self-sustainable city of the 21st century, one can only hope that other major franchises will also follow suit and work to protect the resources of our earth, one football game at a time.