Super Bowl 2015: 5 Ways Politics are Part of the Big Game

PHOTO: This Aug. 9, 2014 file photo shows an NFL logo on a goal post padding before a preseason NFL football game between the Detroit Lions and the Cleveland Browns at Ford Field in Detroit.PlayAP
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The Super Bowl might be a day of football, commercial-watching, chowing down on chicken wings and guzzling beer, but politics can always sneak in.

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The NFL has come face-to-face with a number of hot-button issues in the past year, most recently the "Deflate-gate" scandal that likely won't go away until after the big game.

Here are a few others:

Domestic violence

The video of Baltimore Raven Ray Rice brought lots of negative attention to the NFL and how it handles players accused of violent behavior.

Rice was suspended for two games in July for hitting Janay Palmer, who was his fiance at the time. TMZ released surveillance video of the assault, leading to public outcry that the NFL didn't penalize Rice more harshly.

The league later suspended Rice indefinitely, but he appealed and got the suspension overturned because a judge ruled he was being penalized for the same transgression twice. News coverage and public discussion about the case led to criticism that the NFL looked the other way when players are reported for crimes like domestic assault.

The league joined with a group called No More to create informational commercials about domestic violence that have aired during every game since October 23, according to the group's website. The ad that will air during the Super Bowl plays audio of a woman pretending to order a pizza while calling 911 because her abuser was in the room. The NFL put new personal conduct rules in place late last year.

Political ads

The spectacle around Super Bowl commercials is almost as big as the game, but the ads can sometimes turn into controversy.

More than one Super Bowl commercial has caused a major stir before and after the game. Political groups sometimes get involved to protest ads like the anti-abortion ad featuring Tim Tebow in 2010.

That commercial, created by the conservative Christian group, Focus on the Family, discouraged women from having abortions -- though it didn't use the word. It aired during the Super Bowl even though CBS had rejected ads with a strong political message in the past. Groups like the Women's Media Center protested the decision and even created a counter ad slamming the network.

Money changing hands

In the past, the Super Bowl has doubled as host for both on and off-the-record political fundraisers.

The money train goes the other way too. The NFL, teams, and owners donate hundreds of thousands of dollars to politicians throughout the year. The New England Patriots donated the most in the last two election cycles, totaling almost $154,000 to political candidates and parties, according to Fusion.

Economic gain

Mayors and governors often compete to host the Super Bowl in their city or state, claiming that the event is a boon to the local economy. But the jury is out on whether being the host city actually makes the economy better.

Super Bowl XLIX is projected to bring $500 million in economic impact to Arizona, according to its website.

This number may be overstated and is difficult to measure. Economists disagree about whether the benefit of hosting the Super Bowl lives up to the NFL's promises, according to Patrick Rishe, a professor of economics at Webster University in St. Louis, in a commentary on

Human trafficking

Along with the supposed influx of cash to the region that hosts the game there's an influx of people -- and not always in a good way.

Major sporting events like the Super Bowl or World Cup are said to prompt surges in human trafficking, defined by the US State Department as "obtaining a person through force, fraud, or coercion" and can include forced labor or prostitution or involuntary servitude.

Local agencies and activists have worked to help those who might be victims of trafficking. Thousands of people were trained on how to recognize trafficking for the 2012 Super Bowl and resources were distributed to help potential victims seek help.