COMMENTARY: Will Snow Plow Super Bowl to Monday?
Charles E. Sutton | 12/26/2013, 4 p.m.
This football season, the Super Bowl will be played Feb. 2 at MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, N.J.
That's right. The Super Bowl. In New Jersey. In February.
I don't know what New Jersey means to you. But for me, New Jersey certainly doesn't mean football, especially not in February. Music? Sure. Whitney Houston, Bruce Springsteen, Frank Sinatra and Jon Bon Jovi all hail from the Garden State.
On the other hand, there's New Jersey football. Let's see, the state has never officially had an NFL franchise and Rutgers, the state university, has never been a national power. That should be enough.
OK, you may say, not every Super Bowl location is a football hotbed. Well, can it at least be hot?
There's a reason why the Super Bowl traditionally is played indoors or in places like Miami, Tampa Bay or San Diego. Actually, there's several reasons. For fans who likely took time off from work to attend the game, their vacations are much nicer when the weather is warm, as is their game-watching experience. Plus, the hosting city's transportation system is under far less stress. Not to mention the quality of play improves dramatically. It just make sense that a game of this magnitude would be played under the best conditions possible.
So why would the NFL want to have a Super Bowl played in New Jersey? Well, East Rutherford is a suburb of New York City, the largest sports and television market in the country. Or maybe people want to occasionally see something different, and a Super Bowl being played outdoors in cold weather would be just that.
I still say it's a bad idea. There's no significant upside to playing the NFL's championship game in inclement weather. It should be unlawful to use the words snow and Super Bowl in the same sentence.
The NFL doesn't have to look far back to see the effect bad weather can have on a game. Just a few Sundays ago, a handful of contests were played in moderate to heavy snowfall (ask the Detroit Lions how well that went). Concerns subsequently surfaced about the upcoming Super Bowl weather preparations, which the league quickly attempted to squelch on Dec. 18 by showcasing snow removers, ice melters and salt dispensers at the Jersey stadium. The message was clear: Northeastern cities are ready to handle snow throughout the season, and the Super Bowl will be no different.
Here's what isn't clear: Why would the league even consider a location where the weather could possibly be a factor?
According to the 2014 Farmers' Almanac, a blizzard could sweep through the Northeast on Super Bowl Sunday. That weekend's forecast calls snow and heavy rain. That encouraging piece of information has caused NFL officials to mull the possibility of playing the game on the Saturday before, the Monday or Tuesday after or, in a worst-case scenario, the following weekend.
This scheduling change would occur if the weather creates a public emergency or other "impractical conditions" — a contingency plan, the league is quick to point out, that is in place for every Super Bowl.
Can you imagine that? The game that the world has been watching on Sundays for the past 47 years could be moved to a different day. The most widely-viewed program in the history of television may be bumped because of weather. If that happens, the NFL will be committing sports blasphemy!
The best football players in the world deserve to play in the best possible conditions. Of course, everyone doesn't agree with me. Some romanticize about seeing snowflakes falling into the stadium during the Super Bowl. They think it would be cool. I think it would be an outrage!