On a cold-weather Super Bowl

The big NFL talk this week has been the decision to send Super Bowl 48 in February 2014 to the New York/New Jersey area. Many pundits have expressed outrage about this, in part because they don’t want to be cold.

Being cold isn’t the end of the world. Believe me.

I’ve covered one college bowl game and two NFL playoff games in my career.

The NFC Championship Game in January 1997 happened in Green Bay, Wisconsin, between the Panthers and the Packers. It was about 5 degrees at kickoff and cold enough that I had to wear thermal underwear in the press box.

Super Bowl 34 was played indoors in Atlanta in January 2000, but the week leading up to the game was plagued by an ice storm that really slowed down that southern city. As a southerner turned Chicago resident, the cold wasn’t that bad, and the path from our hotel to the media headquarters went through an indoor food court that had a Chick-fil-A. So not only could I get warm; I could also get my Sweet Tea fix. The weather didn’t impact the game (a great one between the Rams and Titans), and while it slowed the week before, it didn’t kill that either.

In December 2001, I covered my one and only college bowl game. It was the Humanitarian Bowl in Boise, Idaho, which I like to call the Blue Turf Bowl. Among the excursions for players during the week was a snowmobile trip. The media braved the cold to play touch football on the blue turf, just to say that we did. It snowed on game day, and the Clemson band made a snow sculpture to replicate Howard’s Rock that’s so famous at Clemson’s home field. Clemson beat Louisiana Tech in the game, and in the award ceremony after the game the team celebrated by flinging snowballs at the band and the crowd.

Cold weather won’t kill the Super Bowl. It may inconvenience media members, but media members always complain about the situation at the Super Bowl. It happened in Atlanta, in Houston, in Jacksonville, and it’ll happen into perpetuity. Sportswriters are a cranky bunch, and they’re going to complain if they have to walk or climb stairs or do anything else that adds one iota of extra effort to their jobs.

But the game will go on. If it snows, it’ll look great in HD. If it’s ice cold, it’ll be memorable. And the sportswriters will get their jobs done and file to newspapers (if any are left in four years).

So all this bluster about potential blustery conditions is nothing but filling talk-radio time. Personally, having survived big cold-weather games, it’s not going to be a big deal. Bring on NY/NJ for Super Bowl 48.

And if it’s freezing cold, and if history is any indicator, somehow, I’ll end up in the auxiliary press seating freezing my tail off. Wonder if I still have that thermal underwear from 1997?

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