There goes the warm-weather Super Bowl neighborhood
02/01/2014 8:24 PM
02/02/2014 12:21 AM
Shortly into his annual State of the NFL press conference Friday, commissioner Roger Goodell said, “Of course, we can’t control the weather.”
And at that instant, faux snowflakes began to flutter down from the ceiling above him.
Cute. And his point was made.
This New York/New Jersey Super Bowl thing was destined to happen come rain or shine, sleet or snow.
It was time. The new home of the Giants and Jets opened in 2010, and NFL franchises don’t build $1.6 billion stadiums without a Goodell handshake at the end.
After a frigid start to the week — it was 13 degrees here Tuesday — temperatures have warmed. The ski caps and fur-lined hoods have been packed away. The crowds in Times Square have swelled. And the snow in Central Park has begun to melt.
There goes the neighborhood, in other words. The business of hosting a Super Bowl may never be the same.
As the weather has warmed, NFL owners have emerged from their wintry burrows.
Jeffrey Lurie now wants a Super Bowl for Philadelphia. Robert Kraft wants one in New England. Seattle also has chimed in.
Glendale, Ariz., will get next year’s game, and Santa Clara, Calif., and the 49ers’ new stadium will host Super Bowl L. The 51st game is scheduled for Reliant Stadium in Houston.
The 2018 game will be awarded in May from a list of three finalists — New Orleans, Indianapolis and Minneapolis. The favorite is New Orleans, which will be celebrating the city’s 300th birthday.
Indy’s Lucas Oil Stadium hosted Super Bowl XLVI, and Minneapolis, after lengthy political hand-wringing, will have its new domed stadium by 2018. Minneapolis’ Hubert H. Humphrey Metrodome hosted the game 22 years ago.
After the New York experiment, it’s likely both cities will get to host another Super Bowl.
But first, the NFL owes North Texas another chance. If the league is going to totally ignore Super Bowl week weather when awarding the big game — as would be the case in Minneapolis, where it was minus-7 last week — it has to forgive the fluke ice storm that disrupted the celebration three years ago.
The NFL has no better venue for its championship game than AT&T Stadium — with or without that special Jerry Jones seating section.
The bidding to host Super Bowls, however, just got a little tougher and a lot chillier.
On the whole, the New York/New Jersey idea has worked. The media have rightly complained about the midweek interview logistics. It wasn’t so much the long ride through the tunnels, but rather the cramped interview quarters.
Note to NFL: Never, ever put another team’s interview sessions on a boat. The Denver Broncos complained of feeling seasick.
With most of the media housed in Manhattan, though, they couldn’t complain about a shortage of places to eat and drink. And after a cold and disinterested start, the plan to transform 14 prime blocks of Broadway into Super Bowl Boulevard — replacing the annual NFL Experience — proved to be a spirited success.
New York is used to hosting mega-sized events. For better or worse, the city has assimilated Super Bowl XLVIII as if it were just another convention, minus the fezzes.
Super Bowl fever? Fuhgeddaboudit. But the city seems to be having fun with all the football celebrities in town.
Now that the Super Bowl ice has been broken, so to speak, it’s going to be every city for itself. A Super Bowl in Philadelphia? Washington? Buffalo?
After this New York/New Jersey thing, the fear is that a cold-weather city is going to become part of the regular Super Bowl rotation. A New York encore is plausible. But a week in Minneapolis — no thanks.
The snow plows here were gassed and ready. Tankers of hot chocolate were docked in Hoboken. But the temperature at kickoff Sunday is supposed to be a cool, but comfortable, 43 degrees.
Just the way Goodell planned it.
About Gil LeBreton
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