NFL embraces possibility of snowy Super Bowl
NEW YORK (AP) — Instead of shrinking from the possibility that the Super Bowl could be played in a blizzard, organizers of the first outdoor, cold-climate NFL championship game have decided to embrace snow as the unofficial theme.
In fact, some officials are positively hoping for snow.
“It would be disappointing if it didn’t, quite frankly,” said Brian McCarthy, the NFL’s top spokesman. “Weather and the elements are part of the game. And we are embracing it.”
That could be cold comfort to the throngs of visitors to the New York City area for Super Bowl week, and to the 82,000-plus fans who will actually brave the elements during the Feb. 2 game at open-air MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, New Jersey. The 197-year-old Farmers’ Almanac is already out with its forecast that a big winter storm will hit the area that weekend, though how much stock to put in that theory is debatable.
“It could mean windy. It could mean snow. We’re not sure, obviously, what Mother Nature will throw our way.” said Al Kelly, head of the NY/NJ Super Bowl Host Committee, an organization with a snowflake in its logo and the tongue-in-cheek tagline: “Join the world’s biggest huddle.”
From the beginning, the committee decided to welcome the prospect of cold and snowy weather. To help fans stay warm, each game ticket-holder will receive a “warm welcome” package containing earmuffs, tissues, lip balm and hand-warmers. Several pavilions designated as “warming spots” will also be stationed outside the stadium.
To drive home the wintry theme, a 60-foot (18-meter) high toboggan run will be set up in Manhattan on “Super Bowl Boulevard,” a 14-block outdoor celebration of all things football-related, centered around Times Square.
Organizers expect more than a million people to visit the boulevard, which will also feature a concert stage, an autograph stage containing the Vince Lombardi Trophy and broadcast sets for all of the major television networks.
Cold-weather games are really nothing new for the NFL. And if it does snow, organizers will be ready for it. Both states are prepared to put their full arsenal of plows and salt trucks to make sure that roads are clear and safe.
“You know New York City, you know Broadway,” said Tim Tompkins, president of the Times Square Alliance. “The show must go on.”