The first Super Bowl hosted outside of a warm-weather city will bring controversy-especially if it snows
When the National Football League made the announcement last summer that the 2014 Super Bowl would be played in New Jersey at MetLife Stadium, it was more than just a surprising decision.
The choice represented a collective shift in the mindset of the league.
No longer would the honor of hosting the coveted Super Bowl weekend fall exclusively to warm-weather cities.
Now the champions of their respective conferences will face two challengers on Super Bowl Sunday: their opponents and the harsh, unpredictable weather that comes with northeast winters.
Since the controversial announcement there has been contentious discussion, with Baltimore Ravens quarterback Joe Flacco insensitively calling the idea of a New Jersey Super Bowl “retarded” in January.
Causing more unrest was the Farmers’ Almanac’s prediction that New Jersey’s winter was going to be “piercing cold” this year.
But fans of football, a game that is traditionally played through whatever weather comes its way, should be happy the league broke its unwritten rule.
Some of the NFL’s greatest games have happened in the worst conditions. Every New England Patriots fan over the age of 19 can remember the classic AFC divisional round playoff win over the Oakland Raiders that was later dubbed the “Snow Bowl”.
The image of Adam Vinatieri’s kick going through the uprights and teammates reacting with celebratory snow angels is still often shown in highlight packages today. There have also been countless memorable regular season games that were played through miserable weather conditions.
The idea that bad weather will make for bad games is a flawed one. Great teams should be able to play through variables in the most important game of the season.
The people arguing, as Bleacher Report’s Christopher Olmstead has, that messy weather will somehow cheapen the outcome of the game, fail to see that random weather is as much a part of the game as the first down.
The players who are upset about the prospects of an outdoor Super Bowl need to understand this as well. Complaining to the press about a decision that has already been made only makes them look scared of bad conditions and frankly, soft.
Another reason I support the outdoor Super Bowl is because of the implications it has for the NFL.
It doesn’t take a genius to realize that hosting a Super Bowl next to the largest city in the country will bring in extraordinary profits.
But it will also engage other large audiences in northern cities that had never had any hope of one day hosting a Super Bowl.
As fans from Chicago, Denver and Pittsburgh watch the game on February 12, they will for once be able to fantasize about their favorite stadium one day hosting the game’s biggest event. It’s hard to imagine this having any other affect than helping the league’s popularity.
All in all, the announcement of this year’s Super Bowl location and the ensuing controversy only increased the events’ publicity.
When Super Bowl Sunday nears and early forecasts show frigid temperatures (or even worse, snow), it will capture the public’s attention like never before.
Players should be excited, fans should be excited and so should the league.
Let it snow.
Zach Winn can be contacted at email@example.com