A number of NFL ventures over the past few years have successfully improved and fostered the growth of the game, but playing Super Bowl XLVIII in the frozen swamps of New Jersey won’t be remembered as one of them.
If a blizzard were to hit the Northeast this week, the decision would have went down as one of the biggest blunders in the league’s history.
Just imagine if a foot or more of snow came down Sunday. Both New York and New Jersey have the capabilities to deal with snow, but there are very few ways into the Meadowlands, and winter weather would cause bottle necking and make getting to MetLife Stadium a nightmare.
It could be even worse if the blizzard hit in the days leading up to the game, because if the airports closed, thousands of fans who fly in for the game would be stranded without a way to even get into the area for the game.
These were such real threats that the NFL had multiple contingency plans in case the game had to be moved up or delayed.
The amount of work it would take to move such a massive event is mind boggling, and the whole world would be watching and laughing as the league tried.
Luckily for the league, the forecast for Sunday shows temperatures in the low 40s to high 20s, with little chance of precipitation. Considering it’s New Jersey in February, that’s as beautiful a forecast as the NFL could have hoped for.
But betting on decent weather in the Northeast is a crapshoot with more bad outcomes than good, and the NFL shouldn’t be credited simply for getting lucky — Even though I’m sure league officials will fall over trying to pat themselves on the back for pulling it off.
And just because the weather won’t be an utter disaster Sunday, playing the game in New Jersey is still not a good idea.
If the Super Bowl kicks off without a hitch logistically, the NFL is still screwing over the ticket holders who are paying thousands of dollars apiece to spend six-plus hours sitting outside in the cold.
Corporations will gobble up a large majority of the allotment, but most of those tickets will be used by executives who will spend more time in luxury boxes and hospitality areas than freezing in their seats.
The Super Bowl is the most televised event in the world, and it won’t be a good look for anyone if there are visible empty seats around the stadium.
Tack on the fact that no tailgating is allowed in the parking lot, and I can’t imagine average fans would be willing to pony up for a ticket.
Judging by the poor attendance numbers coming out of Super Bowl week events in New York City, there doesn’t seem to be the buzz that always surrounds the event.
It’s supposed to be a week-long party that turns the host city into a tourist hotspot, and nothing kills a vibe quite like consistently freezing temperatures.
Even Mike Ditka and Terry Bradshaw, NFL icons who brought Lombardi Trophies home for their cold-weather franchises, spoke out against playing the game at a cold- weather site.
Ditka went so far as to tell the Detroit Free Press that “It’s stupid,” and I for one agree with him.
I grew up playing football in cold weather. In terms of the game itself, there is a cool mystique about seeing the NFL crown its champion in true old-school frigid conditions.
But unfortunately, the Super Bowl isn’t played in a bubble, and Sunday will be remembered as a bad idea and a mistake the NFL won’t be likely to make again.