A photo of an apparent marketing flub in a Super Bowl LII wrap on a tram at Minneapolis-St. Paul airport is, sadly, a hoax.
The photo seems to show a Super Bowl ad coincidentally placed between two tram cars to read “Superb Owl LII.” One tweet showing the photo has thousands of likes and retweets. Don't see tweets below? Go here.
The photo, however, was altered in Photoshop. CBS Sports and For The Win have since updated their stories with the correction.
The joke started in the Minneapolis/St. Paul Aviation Spotting group on Facebook, a closed group that boasts over 3,800 members. John Newsome shared the original photo with the group Sunday afternoon. A commenter asked for a Photoshopped version of the image to show “Superb Owl” -- a running gag during the winter months, when airports make for popular gathering spots for the influx of snowy owls in the area.
Enter David Riviera, a webmaster for nonprofits and graduate student at University of Minnesota. Riviera Photoshopped the “B” onto the first tram car. His Photoshop file has at least 11 layers.
Riviera also provided proof of Newsome’s raw camera file.
If you want to hear it from an official organization, the Metropolitan Airports Commission also confirmed to Minnesota Public Radio that the Super Bowl ads do, in fact, advertise the Super Bowl.
It’s not the first time, and unfortunately won’t be the last, that a fake image goes viral. But the craziest thing about the Superb Owl saga in the Twin Cities is the signal boost it’s gotten from Rob Brzezinski, the vice president of football operations for the Minnesota Vikings.
It turns out, several Vikings players will in fact be present at a “Superb Owl” party Friday, a charitable event two days before Super Bowl LII is played at US Bank Stadium.
Brzezinski has been promoting the image as legitimate on Twitter, claiming the Superb Owl wraps are aimed at raising awareness for the event. He even reached out to NFL Network reporters Tom Pelissero and Ian Rapoport to tell him the ads were real and promoting the charity event.
Lest we remind you, it’s fake.
But, while spreading falsehood is generally frowned upon, it would appear Brzezinski’s intentions are good. His wife, Leah, founded the Arete Academy, a school for children with learning disabilities that will benefit from funds raised at the Superb Owl party.
He did later write on Twitter that he knew the image was fake, but that it "played right into" the charitable cause, so he went with it.
While Riviera, a grad student in youth development leadership, says he “wholeheartedly supports” the Superb Owl mission, he said his Photoshop work was unrelated to the event.
“It was certainly a surprise Monday morning,” he told WFAA in a message on social media. “MSP Aviation Spotters is a closed group on Facebook, I didn't expect it to get leaked out so quickly and widely. I'm a little shocked that people actually believe it!”