On Tuesday afternoon, live from the owners meetings in Dallas, New York/New Jersey won a vote for the right to host the 2014 Super Bowl, beating out Tampa Bay and South Florida. Although it looked like a lock that the New Meadowlands Stadium was going to host Super Bowl XLVIII from the very beginning, there was still much debate over whether or not the NFL should opt to hold its biggest game in a cold-weather city and in a stadium without a roof. Concerns over the weather created the biggest argument against letting NY/NJ host a Super Bowl. Also, the precedent now established has led to numerous other teams with outdoor stadiums in cold-weather cities to want to someday host a Super Bowl, starting a debate that is surely going to either intensify or flop based on how the NY/NJ Super Bowl goes.
I personally am on the cold-weather Super Bowl bandwagon. Then again, I am biased since I've lived in Michigan all of my life. I am no stranger to the randomness of a Michigan winter or dealing with frigid temperatures and a couple feet of snow. I'm not a fan of the cold or snow anymore now that I have to walk around a college campus in it, but to me the weather is an interesting element that is part of outdoor football. It's not part of games at Ford Field or the Metrodome, of course, but when you have to head to Green Bay or Chicago in December, it is something that gameplans have to be predicated around. I mean, it's not like the Super Bowl will be played in a cold-weather setting every year, so I think it's nice that there will be something different in 2014. After all, having the Super Bowl in Florida or New Orleans every other year gets kind of boring in my opinion, so I'm all for trying something different.
Obviously the weather is the biggest argument against a Super Bowl in NY/NJ, but is it because of the effect it could have on the game itself or on the people attending the game? A game filled with freezing temperatures and a snowstorm can be very entertaining because it doesn't happen all that often (well, the snow part), but at the same time, it can slow a game down to a crawl and take the talent out of the equation. That said, what's so different about that and a Super Bowl where it rains and is foggy. Just look at the Bears/Colts Super Bowl in Miami a few years back. It rained and affected the play of both teams in a way very similar to what cold, wind, and snow do to players.
I think it's pretty obvious that the bigger concern is what effect cold weather would have on the high rollers who pay thousands and thousands of dollars for tickets to the big game. It's a legitimate concern considering the corporate people probably aren't going to want to sit in 30-degree weather and snow, but then again, that's what luxury boxes are for. I know the Super Bowl is a different animal, but part of that also involves the festivities leading up to the big game. I think it's safe to say that the majority of the people that converge on a city for the Super Bowl aren't there for the game, but rather for the parties and events associated with it. No, people won't be able to go party on South Beach or soak up the sun, but it's not like NYC is lacking things to do. That was the argument against Detroit's Super Bowl, and I think it went well enough to show that people can find entertainment one way or another.
The interesting thing about the supposed precedent this vote is going to set involves the possibility of future Super Bowls in cold-weather cities. Already there have been mentions of how Boston, Washington D.C. and Baltimore now want to host Super Bowls, and the fact that NY/NJ's bid was successful definitely gives all cold-weather cities without domed/retractable-roof stadiums hope. At the same time, any hope of a true precedent being established is ultimately going to come down to what the weather is like both for the game and the week leading up to the game in the NY/NJ area. It may be hard to believe that future decisions could come down to one week of weather four years down the road, but if an enormous blizzard hits the east coast and causes big problems for the Super Bowl, chances are this cold-weather Super Bowl experiment will come to an end pretty quickly. On the flip side, if the weather is manageable and produces no issues, cold-weather cities will certainly have opportunities to host the big game again in the future, giving hope to owners across the country, both in the Midwest and the Northeast.
I will admit that I'm a bit of a hypocrite on this matter because of my stance on a potential Big Ten championship game for football. If the Big Ten does expand in the next few years, a championship game is going to be played in the first week of December. Big Ten football is known best for its hard-hitting, grind it out style that fits very well with the weather in the Midwest. Even so, my preference for a potential Big Ten championship game has always been for it to be hosted somewhere like Lucas Oil Field. On top of the fact that Indy is a nice central location, the game would be played indoors, meaning weather couldn't take talent out of the equation like I mentioned earlier.
Now that I look back on the Super Bowl debate, I've changed my stance a bit for the location of a potential Big Ten championship game. While I would like to see it played indoors in Indy more often than not, the idea of rotating the game around the region seems like the best idea. The Big 12 has done that in the past, rotating its championship game from Arrowhead Stadium (outdoors) to the Alamodome (indoors) and most recently to Cowboys Stadium (indoors). Weather is usually a factor for the games in Kansas City, as it almost always is cold and snowy. I'm sure fans would prefer to not have to deal with the weather, but at the same time, having something different every once in a while isn't a bad thing. With lots of great stadiums in the Midwest, the Big Ten most certainly could use a similar system, playing indoors at Lucas Oil one year, outdoors at Soldier Field the next, and then back indoors at Ford Field before starting the cycle all over again.
Even if the weather is ridiculously nice for the Super Bowl at the New Meadowlands Stadium, I would be shocked if cold-weather cities started to frequently host the big game. It would help the cause for all cold-weather cities, but for the Super Bowl I think a rotation would probably only involve the potential of a cold and snowy Super Bowl once every five years or something. You will always have cities like Tampa Bay, Miami, and New Orleans vying for Super Bowls. Add in Dallas, Glendale, Indianapolis, Detroit, and the possibility of a stadium in Los Angeles and any rotation is going to include one of the aforementioned cities more often than not. Still, one cold-weather Super Bowl every five years is better than none at all in the past. I understand the concerns and the risks associated with cold-weather Super Bowls, but it's something different that provides extra intrigue with the game. Besides, there is something called dressing in layers. I know the corporate types would rather live it up in sunny Tampa Bay or Miami, but it's not like you can't find ways to stay warm in the cold. As all of us in Michigan know, surviving the winter just means wearing a couple extra shirts, bringing a hat and gloves, and manning up from November to April. It's that simple.