On Tuesday May 26th, 2010, The NFL Finally took a step back into its roots with the awarding of the 2014 Super Bowl to New York/New Jersey, to be played in the new Meadowlands Stadium. Of course we, the general public were immediately deluged with doomsday predictions of blizzards and bad game play from writers and certain former players(Darryl “Moose” Johnston). We were even told by the owner of the Baltimore Ravens Steve Bisciotti “How are we going to get fans to the game in a two foot blizzard?”
Why does the Super Bowl “HAVE” to be played in perfect weather? FOOTBALL has been played in all kinds of weather in the NFL since 1925. Some of the greatest games have been played in “less than perfect” weather. Lets look back at some of the GREAT playoff games, in inclement weather.
1934 NFL Championship Game between the NY Giants & Chicago Bears – This game is better known as “the sneakers game”. It was played on December 2, 1934. A freezing winter rain froze the field of the Polo Grounds. After a player remarked that sneakers might provide better traction, Giants coach Steve Owen sent Equipment Manager Abe Cohen to buy some sneakers. Cohen borrowed 9 pairs from Manhattan College. After the Giants trailed 10-3 they changed into sneakers. After falling behind 13-3, the Giants stormed back to win the game 30-3. Most players interviewed about the game say the Giants choice of footwear led to their dominance.
1967 NFL Championship Game between the Green Bay Packers & Dallas Cowboys – This game is better known as “the ice bowl”. It is widely considered one of the greatest games in NFL history, due to the hostile conditions in which it was played, the importance of the game, the rivalry between the teams, the duel between two future Hall of Fame head coaches, and the dramatic conclusion. The game was played on December 31, 1967 at Lambeau Field. The official game temperature was -13 degrees, the wind chill made it feel like -36 degrees. It remains the coldest game on record in terms of actual air temperature. The bitter cold overwhelmed Lambeau Fields new turf heating system, leaving the field hard as a rock and almost smooth as a sheet of ice. It was so cold the referees could not even use their whistles. When the ref blew his whistle to start the game, it froze to his lips. This game featured the dramatic ending of a Bart Starr QB sneak to give the Packers a 21-17 win. In a surprising statistic, both teams had more passing yards than rushing yards.
2008 NFC Championship Game between the New York Giants & Green Bay Packers. This was another cold game at Lambeau Field, with temperatures at game time officially recorded at -1 degree. Of course we all know that the Giants won the game in overtime, and went on to win the Super Bowl defeating the New England Patriots.
Football has been and always will be an all weather sport. Unlike most other sports, they don’t postpone the game, due to inclement weather. This notion that every game but the final one can be played in less than perfect conditions, spits in the face of the history of the league, Yes I understand that the Super Bowl is an important event beyond just the game, however, if all the games leading up to it can be affected by the weather, than the Super Bowl should have the same criteria.
The writers complain that they don’t want to be out in the cold, but they will get bussed to and from the game, and spend the entire game in a nice warm press box. As for the fans, they come to cold weather games all year long, why should the Super Bowl be different.
As for the Ravens owners comment about a blizzard, New York has the best mass transit system in the country. Having lived there most of my life, I can tell you, Mass transit runs, ALL THE TIME. Even when we would get 2 feet of snow, buses and trains are still running.
This decision to put the Super Bowl in a cold weather location, allows other teams such as the Washington Redskins, Denver Broncos, Seattle Seahawks, New England Patriots, can all put together bids to have a Super Bowl in their home stadium.
This does nothing but make the NFL more attractive to new sponsors and advertisers and will allow the league to grow in ways that are probably not evident right now, but will become clearer as we get closer to game time.
Swami King/SJ Contributor/Roadie