Before and after the New York/New Jersey area was awarded the 2014 Super Bowl, several NFL owners said not to expect a rash of cold-weather teams to apply for or be awarded Super Bowls in the future. It's New York. It's New Meadowlands Stadium. It's a one-time thing, with the New York element carrying major sway, some of them said.
"People come to New York in the middle of winter now because they love New York," said Falcons owner Arthur Blank, who told me that his secret ballot was cast for the New York/New Jersey bid. "Does that mean it should be in every cold weather market? I think it's a different question for a different time. I'm sure there will be some (cold-region team owners) at some point that will have an interest in doing that."
I'm with Blank and all those who aren't buying that this New York/New Jersey Super Bowl is a one-time exception. I don't expect a lot of fair-weather/cold-weather, non-domed teams to immediately get into the bidding, but you better believe that after New York/New Jersey got the Super Bowl a light bulb went on over the heads of city leaders and team officials in several cities who thought they'd never have a shot because of potential weather issues (Chicago, Seattle, Baltimore, Washington, Kansas City, Denver).
I got to spend time with the South Florida (Miami/Fort Lauderdale) bid committee while working the Super Bowl announcement show for NFL Network and when it was noted that the NFL was waiving the 40-degree average temperature stipulation, several people in the group said, "They've opened Pandora's box."
The league has.
(In a side note, the members of the South Florida bid committee were very disappointed that they not only didn't get the game, but that they felt less warmth than the Tampa group, which made the final cut. The reaction was somewhat surprising since they were aware they were a major long shot after hosting the 2007 and 2010 Super Bowls and they could not guarantee meeting requested stadium amendments; but these very talented people put in a lot of hard work -- as did every group -- and being shot down wasn't easy to take. Expect this group to make a push for the 2015 Super Bowl and receive serious consideration).
Back to the point: If the New York/New Jersey Super Bowl happens to be a smash -- the weather cooperates, the game is good and the fan experience is strong -- what would stop other cold-weather regions with non-domed stadiums from making a push to get a Super Bowl? Attracting the NFL's showcase game could be enough incentive for leaders in interested cities to generate money for stadium and infrastructure improvements -- if not build new stadiums -- to land the game.
And if the game in the Meadowlands is a hit, what's to dissuade that region from pursuing a sequel?
Patriots owner Bob Kraft said he thinks "the ship has sailed" on New England attracting a Super Bowl, trying to add to the notion that the New York/New Jersey Super Bowl is a one-time thing. That can always change. Owners are big on doing each other a solid and if one votes for another to get a Super Bowl or to gain other favors, reciprocation is expected -- and often delivered.
What could derail future Super Bowls in cold-weather/non-domed stadiums in the relatively near future -- besides a weather catastrophe and a crappy game -- could be new stadiums built in Atlanta, Minneapolis, Los Angeles and the Bay Area in Northern California. As much as the whole New York/New Jersey region is being touted for being awarded a Super Bowl, that new stadium is the backbone of why it happened.
It's all about business, and the bidding for and hosting of Super Bowls has become big business. That business used to have a thermostat that could have not allowed for maximizing its growth. That thermometer could be brought back as a barrier, but something tells me that where there's opportunity, there also are snow plows, parkas and hand warmers.
Coaches dissed twice
A lot of NFL coaches must feel like they're screaming into a black hole that restricts owners from listening. For the second time this offseason, they were dismissed by owners who didn't seem to bother taking heed to their feelings on changes to the overtime format.
First, after expressing objection to tinkering with the long-established sudden-death rule, owners voted to allow the team that didn't gain first possession in overtime to counter against the opponent that settled on a field goal -- for the postseason only. That vote was taken at league meetings in March after several coaches expressed their objection and were led to believe that no vote would take place right away. To their surprise, when many of the coaches went on a nice golfing jaunt, owners passed the landmark alteration.
Once that was done, a lot of disgruntled coaches wanted uniformity with the change and pleaded for it to be used in the preseason and regular season as well, so that the first time they had to possibly encounter the new rules didn't take place with a Super Bowl berth on the line. Based on the momentum to do so at the March meetings, it seemed like a slam dunk to get voted in this week at the second league meeting.
Owners opted to table it until 2011. And, based on conversations I had with two league executives, there is no guarantee that it will be revisited then. Coaches have to deal with it. Coaches coach and owners own. The message couldn't be clearer.
The reason given for not forcing the change right away is because league officials wanted to see how it worked in 2010 based on the initial plan. The NFL also wants to discuss the format with players and broadcast partners.
I have a feeling that the league also didn't want to possibly go through a season of multiple games that were extended more than normal because of the overtime format out of concern that it could hinder their arguments to players for an enhanced, 17- or 18-game regular-season schedule. If there were several games that went into extended overtime because of the new format, players might be apprehensive to add up to two regular-season games and further expose themselves to injury.
One last thought on future Super Bowls
Not to throw water on the hype surrounding the New York/New Jersey Super Bowl in 2014 and all the good things that come with it, but don't you get the feeling that the 2013 Super Bowl in New Orleans might be a tough act to follow?