Bundle up, football fans! The NFL owners have just awarded Super Bowl XLVIII in 2014 to New York/New Jersey. Of course, real football fans know that all the “New York” teams are really New Jersey teams, and indeed it’s the same deal for the 2014 Super Bowl, where thought it will likely be billed as an unprecendented special treat to have the Super Bowl “in New York,” in reality only the media will be in New York. The game itself will take place at the New Meadowlands Stadium in East Rutherford (the new home of the Jets and Giants), and all the teams will stay and train in New Jersey. Indeed, most players and coaches in the game may never even set foot in New York. Crazy, right?
What’s really crazy is that for its entire history the Super Bowl has been held in locations that are either in warm locales (Miami, San Diego, etc.), have enclosed stadiums (Detroit, Minneapolis, etc.) or both (Arizona, New Orleans, Atlanta). Barring a little bit of rain, weather hasn’t really been a factor. Of course this probably won’t be a problem for the actual players, who routinely compete in cold, outdoor playoff contests throughout January (though a “warm weather” team like the Dolphins might be at a disadvantage). The real issue may be that it’s going to be very tricky to sell $2000 tickets to a four-plus-hour outdoor taking place in New Jersey in the dead of winter. The kind of folks who attend the Super Bowl aren’t your week-in week-out diehards that populate NFL stadiums most of the season, but rather rich, corporate types and folks who “just want to be there” at the biggest live TV event of the year. These folks aren’t going to be too excited to throw on hats and gloves and long underwear. What if there’s a blizzard?
Well, snow would be really cool for us to watch on TV at home, but for the fans maybe not so much. Snow could also put a huge damper on the kind of elaborate halftime festivities for which the Super Bowl is known. Finally, although the NFL’s calling this a one-time deal, there’s no way powerful teams with outdoor stadiums in other cold-weather cities aren’t going to want in on the Super Bowl action soon. It’s basically a lock that Washington and New England will try to get their own Super Bowls in the coming years, so stay tuned for a whole new kind of “Big Game.”