Despite the objections of Joe Flacco, next year's Super Bowl will be played in lovely northern New Jersey. It might be windy. It might snow. But as long as no great disaster happens, like thousands of trapped fans at Seacaucus Junction going Donner Party on each other, the NFL will make a lot of money and every other cold-weather city will queue up for its chance to host. Philly is first in line.
Eagles owner Jeff Lurie, speaking at the NFL meetings, says he'll absolutely push for a Super Bowl. "I will. Yes, I will. If it's a success. New York will help us."
What if it snows, as it's been known to do in early February?
"Growing up in Boston, I went to more great games in snow conditions," Lurie said. "Some of the most memorable games I've ever been to were very difficult and wonderful conditions. I would have no fear of it snowing — as long as there's no public safety issue that day, I think it would be great if it's snowing a bit."
There is absolutely no good reason the Super Bowl shouldn't be held in New York, or Philadelphia, or Chicago. Lurie's right—a little snow makes football better. Maybe not for the tens of thousands in the stands, but certainly for the more than one hundred million watching on TV. And no wonder that most of the complaints have come from media members, accustomed to a week of warm weather. ESPN.com's Dan Graziano has been one of the most vocal critics, and yesterday he tackled the idea of a Philly Super Bowl. Here's his first argument against it:
As I write this, according to weather.com, it is 36 degrees in the fine city of Philadelphia. "Areas nearby," the page I'm looking at tells me, "are reporting a mixture of rain and snow." It is also currently 44 days since the Super Bowl was played. That's more than six weeks gone by from Super Bowl Sunday, and the Northeast is still dealing with the very real daily threat of messy weather. Why, I continue to ask, would the NFL want to invite this to its signature event?
Because it is snowing on March 18, 2013, it could snow on Feb. 2, 2014. It was in the high-50s around here last week, but never mind that. It probably won't snow. The Northeast sees two, maybe three significant storms a winter, and maybe one of them shuts down airports for a few hours. If you want to extrapolate, it's much more likely—say, one in 47— that a Super Bowl will be delayed by a half-hour long blackout.
Even if it does snow, it's not doomsday like Atlanta snow or Nashville snow. Northern cities have figured out how to coexist with frozen water falling from the sky. Public transportation is abundant; in New York or Philly, there's no reason to drive to the stadium. Facilities are well-insulated; next year's media day will be held at the Prudential Center in Newark, because the most useless event on the NFL calendar can be just as useless while indoors. The rest of Super Bowl week, the awards dinners, the parties—these will go on even if the weather's rough. They do have coat checks. You'll be fine.
And what of the big one, the catastrophic storm that could threaten to postpone a Super Bowl? The number of NFL games canceled or delayed in recent decades can be counted on your fingers, and the vast majority of those were due to lightning. The last snow-postponement, an Eagles game (yep) in 2010, was called before anything began to fall. At game time, Philadelphia had a light dusting. If we're going to panic over a distant possibility, it's time we moved all conference championship games, hell, all games after Week 12, to warm-weather neutral sites.
If there's a good reason to maintain the Florida-New Orleans-Texas-Arizona rotation, it's to remove the incentive for owners to obtain new, publicly financed stadiums. It's assumed that the Giants and the Jets were promised a Super Bowl when they got MetLife Stadium built, and expect the Falcons to receive one soon after opening their new retractable dome. But the NFL has overplayed its hand. Roger Goodell implicitly threatened Miami—Miami, for god's sake!—that they won't get another Super Bowl unless they fix up Sun Life. The plushness of luxury suites comes before the climate.
It doesn't matter where a Super Bowl is held. It all looks the same on television. The players aren't going to refuse to play. Fans aren't going to stay away because it's 35 degrees, and no one's forcing them to attend. The only people without a choice are reporters who have to do their jobs anyway, but would rather do it in khaki shorts and Tommy Bahama polos. Give Green Bay a Super Bowl. Give Buffalo a Super Bowl. Your frozen tears only make me want it more.