How the Super Bowl goes green

Erik Siemers, Business Journal staff writer

Erik Siemers is a staff writer for the Portland Business Journal.

There’s Lynn Swann’s leaping catch, John Riggins’ touchdown scamper, William “The Refrigerator” Perry’s endzone dive, and Scott Norwood’s heartbreaking missed field goal.

Yet somehow in the pantheon of seminal Super Bowl moments, the great recycling initiative of Super Bowl XXVIII in Atlanta gets overlooked.

“Even the greatest greening programs on Earth often times get lost in the shuffle,” said Jack Groh, environmental program director for the National Football League.

Super Bowl XLVI this February in Indianapolis’ Lucas Oil Stadium will mark the NFL’s 19th year of instituting environmental initiatives at the world’s largest and most high-profile annual sporting event.

It’s OK with Groh, the guy charged with organizing sustainability initiatives around the league’s special events, that those efforts get lost in the enormity of the game.

Getting noticed isn’t the point.

“We’re not doing it for that reason. We didn’t do it as a PR campaign," said Groh. "We did it as part of our operations. Environmental principals are about greater efficiency and reduction of waste. How is that not a good business practice?”

That message resonated in Portland this week, where Groh was among the featured speakers in the first-ever Green Sports Summit.

The event was the product of the Green Sports Alliance, a nonprofit formed in March to work with sports teams and venues to enhance their environmental performance.

As one of the largest and most successful sports leagues in the world, the NFL took center stage at the event, where Groh was joined by David Krichavsky, the NFL’s director of community affairs.

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@ErikSiemers | esiemers@bizjournals.com | 503-219-3418

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