Super Bowl in New York? No Thanks
These people are out of their minds.
Having the Super Bowl in northern New Jersey in early February is flat-out nuts. Winters here are rotten. We have snowstorms, ice storms, high winds, power outages, frigid temperatures -- all made worse by the fact of so many people living on top of each other in a small amount of space. Why the New York area would want the NFL to bring the signature event on the sports calendar here is an impenetrable mystery. Why the NFL would want to do the bringing is even more baffling.
And yet, it appears as if that's exactly what will happen. The NFL will announce the site for the 2014 Super Bowl in a couple of weeks, at the owners meetings in Dallas. Tampa remains in the running, officially, as does South Florida. But while either of those pleasant, tried-and-tested, warm-weather sites would make infinitely more sense than New York/New Jersey does, every indicator points to the inevitability of the game being played at the New Meadowlands Stadium.
Which is lunacy.
Some point out that the Super Bowl has been held in cold-weather sites before. But that doesn't mean it was a good idea to do it. It was a ridiculous idea to have the game in Detroit, a ridiculous idea to have it in Minneapolis and it's a ridiculous idea to have it in Indianapolis, as they will in 2012 (assuming there's a 2011-12 season, which is an entirely different issue).
The Super Bowl, you see, isn't just about Super Bowl Sunday. It's about the whole week leading up to it. It's about all of the people from all around the country and the world who come for all of the festivities. The parties. The events. The general hoopla surrounding the game. That's all part of the Super Bowl now, and the NFL embraces it. Makes a lot of money off it. You would think that the NFL would, therefore, want to make it as pleasant as possible for people. When they have it in a cold-weather site during a cold-weather time of year, they're doing just the opposite.
Having the game in New Jersey incorporates all of the unpleasantness of the other cold-weather sites, adds in New York/New Jersey traffic and, as a bonus, throws game day into question as well. Because while it was silly to have the Super Bowl in Detroit, Minneapolis and Indianapolis, at least those stadiums had domes. At least the NFL could be sure the game would be played. And not just that it would be played -- but that the weather wouldn't have a hand in determining its winner.
Given there's been so much hand-wringing and fear over the past few years that the whimsy of an overtime coin toss might have a hand in determining the NFL's champion, then why would the NFL want to invite the possibility of weather playing a part? Why would the NFL want to court the slightest chance that the teams in the Super Bowl can't play their best because there's snow on the ground? Or that a team has no chance to come back in the second half because the weather conditions turned brutal sometime in the second quarter?
Now, on Wednesday, everybody at the Meadowlands put a brave face on this possibility. To hear these guys talk, they wish every game could be played in sub-freezing temperatures and snow. Giants quarterback Eli Manning said his favorite game of all-time was the NFC Championship Game he won in Green Bay, where it was 23 degrees below zero at kickoff.
"Those experiences make a game more special, they make it memorable for players and fans," Manning said. "Friends of mine who went to the Super Bowl and went to that game in Green Bay still talk about the Green Bay game more than the Super Bowl."
That may be, but at the risk of underestimating the number of friends Eli Manning has, I'm going to go out on a limb and say that a lot more people worldwide remember David Tyree's catch and the Giants beating the Patriots in the Super Bowl two weeks later than remember that the Giants won in freezing cold weather to get there. The Super Bowl is much bigger than the conference championship games. It's much bigger than the World Series, the NBA Finals, the Daytona 500 and UFC 6,741 or whatever number they'll be up to by then. It's the Super Bowl. To pretend it's OK to play it in sub-optimal conditions because it's cool to see a player's breath shooting out of his face mask on the line of scrimmage is to ignore how important it has become as a spectacle. And to schedule it in New Jersey in February is to invite major logistical problems.
Think about this. It's early February 2014. The night before the Super Bowl. It's been snowing for eight hours. There's more than a foot on the ground. The forecast says it's going to snow right on through Sunday. They're calling for something between two and three feet of snow. It's the kind of night and day (happens at least once a winter here) when local officials tell you not to leave your house. But ... the Super Bowl's in town! And you have tickets! So you've got to go, right?
But how are you going to get there? The roads are closed. And even if they re-open, well, they're trying like crazy to plow the parking lots but there's no place to put all the snow so where's everybody going to park? And will the field be in any kind of reasonable playing condition by the 6:18 p.m. kickoff? And what about the seats? Can they get all the seats cleared out in time? And where will they put that snow?
Oh my goodness. Can it be possible that we might have to postpone the Super Bowl until Monday night?
Why would the NFL want even a one percent chance of that possibility?
As long as it's still a winter event, the Super Bowl should be played in warm-weather sites or under domes. Having it in New Jersey not only throws the 2014 event into question, but it opens up a major can of worms. Chicago will want one, for sure. And why not Green Bay? How about Buffalo? Goodness knows they could use the help up there. Once the NFL breaks this seal and decides it's OK if the Super Bowl looks like the NHL Winter Classic, it's going to have to be OK with doing it again in the future.
And that may be all right with the NFL. But I can't see why. Way too much to risk and far too little to gain. Personally, I think they're nuts.