Weather or not, Super Bowl is ready for N.Y.
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All weather is football weather.
Heat and humidity in the late summer days? Football weather. Crisp and cool air of autumn? Football weather. Mud? Sleet? Snow? Football weather. You deal with the elements in football, you change your game plan, you adapt and attack and you persevere.
That’s the beauty of the game. No rain delays. No complaining either.
The NFL is going to test this theory. The league announced Tuesday afternoon it will stage its 2014 Super Bowl at the new Meadowlands stadium in East Rutherford, N.J., rather than at the sites of traditional Florida finalists Miami and Tampa.
The state of the art, $1.6 billion New Jersey facility is expected to be magnificent. It just doesn’t have a roof.
For football fans that means more than how cool it would be to stage the Commissioner’s Party at the American Museum of Natural History. The Super Bowl is a television show and the fact nearby Manhattan can throw the swankiest events ever has little bearing on life.
That the NFL is going to put the all-weather-is-football-weather theory to the test does. Rather than play the game inside a dome (temp: 72 degrees) or in a generally warm, soft climate, it may snow or rain or blow or just be bitterly cold for the game. Or it may not.
No one knows. And as anyone who knows anything about Jersey weather can attest, no one will know until kickoff. And then things may change by the second quarter.
Conventional wisdom – perhaps because of domes – says that temperate, calm and dry conditions are the most ideal to determine the best football team.
Well, it can be. And so can a snow drift or a driving rain or a field of slush or outrageous humidity.
Football is a game of survival, guile, desperation and strategy. It is a game of constantly changing variables and the athletes and coaches who maximize the present situation best tend to thrive. You have to be tough to play football. No one ever said anything about comfortable.
Inclement weather may, indeed, alter the way the game is played. So does clement weather though. Perhaps mild temps favor a passing team. Or clear ground aids a running attack or a particularly shifty wide receiver. Or the lack of wind helps a strong kicking game. Or it helps a weak one.
If precipitation is a factor then so is the absence of precipitation.
A football team that can’t deal with the elements in a Super Bowl isn’t much of a team. This can add a challenge to the game and can bring more drama. It can make things like field position and direction of play and importance of seizing an opportunity even greater.
Some of the NFL’s best games have been kissed by snowflakes – from Cleveland to Chicago to Foxborough. Arguably the most famous game in history was the 1967 Ice Bowl between the Green Bay Packers and Dallas Cowboys. The game-time wind chill in Wisconsin was 48 degrees below zero.
Who needs a pleasant sunny day? This is football; pride still matters.
Some owners who voted against playing in New York/New Jersey expressed concerns about getting all the fans to the game.
“The idea of cold weather certainly doesn’t scare us,” Baltimore Ravens owner Steve Bisciotti told the New York Daily News. “The idea of a two-foot snowstorm does. You really have to wonder if logistically it’s possible the darn thing could get postponed. I don’t think you could get 70,000 people into the Meadowlands in a two-foot snowstorm in New York.”
Postponed? Please. As long as the television cameras can turn on, they’ll play it. No one is returning the commercial money. Besides, if getting to the game was a real threat, then the Super Bowl never should’ve been awarded to cities such as Detroit, Minneapolis, Indianapolis and even Atlanta and Dallas/Fort Worth, where February ice storms occur.
This is the Super Bowl, if there are two feet of snow, then the full power of the federal, state and local governments (not to mention about a million volunteers) will clear a path to the Meadowlands.
This is important stuff, not like some oil spill or something.
As for the concern about the cold weather on all the pre-Super Bowl festivities, hey, cry me a Hudson River. Celebrity comfort trumping the actual playing of the game is the ultimate tail-wagging-the-dog scenario.
Just buy Paris Hilton a jacket.
Best of all, the New York experiment could pave the way for the sport’s premier game to spread around the country. It took the full economic might of New York City to break this barrier down, but now that it has, why not Denver or Chicago or Boston or Washington or Pittsburgh or pretty much anywhere?
The truth is the NFL’s rotation of host cities isn’t deep. No stadium in California is considered modern enough. They want improvements in Miami. Arizona has some political deals going that are a factor (that’s a reality, whether you agree or not).
So the league can stick to a small rotation or give this a shot and disprove conventional wisdom.
The hope here isn’t for a warm, dry winter day. It’s for snow to start dropping down on Bruce Springsteen’s halftime act to make the second half even more compelling.
Because weather doesn’t make football better or worse; it just makes it football.