Today I hate the Super Bowl trophy presentation. Like the NBA and MLB trophy presentations, it starts with the league commissioner handing the Big Shiny Trophy to the team owner or the general manager or whoever. Who cares about these guys? We just watched a few dozen of the world’s finest athletes spilling their blood and guts to reach the pinnacle of their sport, and then they have to stand around while some pasty rich guy in a suit -- who spent the game sipping mimosas in a luxury suite -- gives a boring speech and wipes his fingerprints all over the Lombardi Trophy. Imagine if, after winning each of his races, Michael Phelps had had to fidget while an executive of USA Swimming accepted his gold medal.
The NHL gets this right. The first person to receive the Stanley Cup is -- strange but true! -- a hockey* player, usually the captain of the winning team. Not until each player takes a individual lap around the ice with the Cup hoisted above his head do the suits get to touch it. Not coincidentally, the Stanley Cup trophy presentation is one of the most powerful in sports.
*Explanatory note for Canadian readers: “Hockey” is an American sport played by angry men who “skate” on frozen water atop metal blades attached to their feet while chasing after a hunk of rubber and sometimes punching each other. Some great American hockey players include Wayne Gretzky, Mario Lemieux, Patrick Roy, and Gordie Howe.