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Cold-weather Super Bowl is likely just a one-time occurrence

  • By Vic Carucci NFL.com
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IRVING, Texas -- Don't worry. A trend has not been triggered with NFL owners awarding New York/New Jersey with the 2014 Super Bowl.

The cold, hard reality is that, for multiple reasons, this is likely to be a one-time occurrence.

For the owners, the priority in placing a Super Bowl in the new roofless stadium in the Meadowlands was not to create the potential for the game to have a throwback feel by being played in wintry conditions.

The priority was to show appreciation to the owners of the New York Giants and Jets for their mammoth investment in a state-of-the-art facility and recognition that it made sense to, as Giants co-chairman John Mara put it so elegantly, bring "the biggest game in the world to the biggest stage in the world."

Another key factor that the New York/New Jersey bid had in its favor was the tremendous respect that owners had for the Giants' rich tradition as a foundational NFL franchise, dating back to 1925, and the history of the Mara family's ownership.

Tampa and South Florida, the other finalists for the 2014 Super Bowl, were always going to have a hard time competing with that, even if they did offer the sort of climate more commonly associated with the league's championship game. Tampa's bid was so strong, in fact, that to the surprise of many NFL observers, it took four ballots before New York/New Jersey was selected. Some within the NFL thought the issue could be decided on the first ballot and certainly no later than the second.

All of that would seemingly reinforce the notion that for all that the New York/New Jersey bid had going for it, many owners were not particularly thrilled with the possibility that the game could be played in subfreezing temperatures and/or a snowstorm. The most vocal on that subject was Steve Bisciotti of the Baltimore Ravens. He worried out loud about the game being postponed by a blizzard, which was not what the New York/New Jersey bid committee had in mind with its slogan, "Make Some History."

And consider this comment from Arizona Cardinals president Michael Bidwill after the final vote: "Hopefully, we'll all pray that it doesn't snow that day. I know they talked a little bit about (dealing with it) if it does, but I'd prefer that it doesn't."

The NFL wouldn't reveal a breakdown of the voting, and the 32 clubs were sworn to secrecy about how they cast their ballots (beyond the obvious choices made by the Giants, Jets, Buccaneers and Dolphins).

Suffice it to say, however, that a healthy number of teams did not enter the process with the idea of setting a precedent whereby all open stadiums in colder climates would now be in line to host the Super Bowl.

Sure, New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft and Washington Redskins owner Daniel Snyder have made public their desire for Super Bowls to be played in their respective stadiums.

That doesn't mean that their fellow owners are going to feel compelled to back any efforts to make that a reality. They are not experiencing the struggles of generating funding, especially through the sales of personal seat licenses, to finance their stadiums. And neither team plays in New York.

Commissioner Roger Goodell seemed to indicate as much when he said, "I think each (Super Bowl site choice) is going to be made on an individual basis. I do believe that New York is a unique market. I think our membership recognizes that. It's the number one market in our country and, in many cases, around the world. And I think, from that standpoint, it'll be a great experience for our fans, it'll be a great experience for the NFL."

"It's probably a one-time thing," Green Bay Packers president and chief executive officer Mark Murphy said. "Part of it was the chance to have a Super Bowl in New York and all that you can do in New York City. And, for me, I think a big factor was all that the Giants and the Maras have done for the NFL."

Under Goodell, the league has shown a greater willingness to think outside the box. That applied to the draft being held over three days, with the first three rounds held in prime time. That applied to waiving the rule that, with no dome, a Super Bowl must be played in an area where the minimum average temperature is 50 degrees.

However, the waiver was done to accommodate the New York/New Jersey bid. If Bisciotti’s "doomsday scenario" comes true, you can be certain the New York/New Jersey Super Bowl will be the last of its kind. Even if it doesn’t, I'm not holding my breath until the next cold-weather club with an open stadium gets a chance to make some Super Bowl-hosting history of its own.

"It was a one-time exception," Murphy said. "We'll see how it goes."

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