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2018 Super Bowl: Who ruined the beautiful ‘Brodiums’?

Or is it ‘Brodia’? ‘Bradyiums’?

New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady at an altered Brodium in January
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He’s not much of a football fan, but Super Bowl 2017 was probably pretty sweet for Mark Macek, furniture-maker extraordinaire and proprietor of Austin’s Macek Furniture.

Working with Populous, a global firm that specializes in architecture, design, branding, event planning, and that kind of thing for large public venues, Macek Furniture designed, built, and installed 14 speaking stations—or “Brodiums,” as they took to calling them (because “bro” plus “podium” equals “brodium,” right?)—at Minute Maid Park in Houston that year for a pre-Super Bowl event called Opening Night.

Opening Night is a massive media event that involves, among other things, many interviews with players and other people involved in the Super Bowl. Many of them are broadcast on ESPN2, so the stakes were high.

After many drawings were done and meetings about design and material choices were had with video specialists, sound engineers, branding companies, and creative and network divisions of the NFL, Macek and Populous delivered. The Brodiums were walnut, they were beautiful, and they were on full view before a global audience.

The Atlanta Falcons’ Alex Mack at an original Brodium during Super Bowl 51 Opening Night at Minute (That’s Guillermo Rodriguez of 'Jimmy Kimmel Live!' holding the chicken wing for some reason.)
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After the 2017 Super Bowl played out (New England won, remember?), a moving company put them in storage. All was well and good, another notch in the belt for one of Austin’s best fine-furniture designers.

When they turned up in Minneapolis this year, not so much—at least for people who are interested in the art of design (admittedly, probably fewer than are interested in chicken wings and possession times in this particular case). Reinstalled for Sunday’s Super Bowl (LII) in the Twin Cities, the Brodiums now sport (are covered in, really) bright blue and purple contact paper, presumably the better to highlight Tom Brady’s toque (also, possibly because last year’s had LI instead of LII on them, but it seems like that could have been fixed through less-drastic measures). Sad trombone.

The contact paper, of course, obscures the craft and materials that went into the original Brodiums (Brodia?), and Macek said that the application of contact paper probably means the lovely walnut will never be revealed again. Ah, well. We’ll always have H-Town.