In what was a widely expected result, NFL owners voted in favor of playing the 2014 Super Bowl at the new Meadowlands Stadium in East Rutherford, New Jersey. As many of you know, I live about 30 minutes south of the Meadowlands. So you probably think I'd be happy about hearing this news.
Well you would be incorrect.
Having spent my entire life in Jersey, I can tell you that February in North Jersey is as unpredictable as it gets. And the NFL is taking a huge risk by putting their premier event - and the premier sporting event in the world - in the hands of mother nature.
Consider the facts. As of now, the 2014 Super Bowl will likely be played on February 2 (and keep in mind that could change if the NFL adds two regular season games, making it even later). The average high temperature around the Meadowlands on that day is 39 degrees, with an average low of 25 degrees. Considering kickoff on the east coast is after the sun has already set, the temperature will only fall as the game progresses. In 2010, the high in the area on February 2 was 34 degrees with a low around 24 and a dusting of snow. However, 2009 was a little warmer, with a high of 54 and low of 31.
So it's safe to assume that temperatures will fall into at least the 30s at some point during the game - and that's a conservative estimate.
Let's not forget the possibility of snow. Average snowfall for North Jersey in the month of February is over 8 inches. Off the top of my head, I can recall at least two big February blizzards over the past five years or so.
"About 40-mile-an-hour wind, six inches of snow on the ground. You remember the 2002 Tuck Rule game? New England? It would be that. It could definitely be that."
Sounds great, right?
Are those really the conditions you want to play in to determine which team is the very best in the league? Isn't this a competitive advantage - or disadvantage - depending on what teams are involved in the game? If the Dolphins were playing the Packers, for example, you can't sit here and tell me the Dolphins wouldn't be at a disadvantage.
People will say that the game was made to be played in cold weather. But there's more to it than just the two teams playing in the game. What about the fans who will be plunking down thousands of dollars to travel to New Jersey to support their team? And what happens if a snowstorm affects everyone's ability to get to the stadium on Super Sunday?
Then there's the potential of having to assemble a stage for the halftime show on a slippery snow-covered field. Could anyone see things going terribly wrong there?
Fine. Maybe these worries are a little dramatic and overblown. But you can't deny it's a gamble - a big gamble. And it just doesn't make sense to have the NFL make a gamble like this.
I guess the bottom line here is that the NFL only cares about publicity and money. This is a perfect example of the league really being blinded by the glamor and money of a New York Super Bowl. We heard Giants' owner John Mara say that "there's only one New York City." Michael Bloomberg, Mayor of NYC, said that "this is football, not beach volleyball" when approached about the weather worries. Tons of fans celebrated at a rally in Times Square following the announcement.
But there's one problem here: the game will be played in East Rutherford, New Jersey - not in New York City.
Who am I kidding? That doesn't matter. The NFL will promote this as a New York City Super Bowl in hopes of generating as much publicity as possible and making as much money as possible.
But is publicity and money worth the risk of a cold, windy, possibly snowy and potentially unfair game?
(And for the record, the other big winner besides the NFL and the host city is Jim Cantore of The Weather Channel. He'll be a man in demand early in 2014. So congratulations to you, Mr. Cantore.)