So, the NFL is going to play the 2014 Super Bowl in the Giants and Jets’ new $1.6 billion palace in the Meadowlands. Maybe it’ll snow, maybe it’ll sleet, maybe the wind-chill factor will dip into the single digits. Or maybe it’ll be sunny and unseasonably warm.
Regardless, I disagree with the decision to play the game in an open-air stadium in a cold-weather city.
I’m not a weather wimp. I’ve got nothing against playing football in crummy conditions. Some of the best games I’ve ever covered, some of the best games ever played have been played in frigid temperatures or snow or both.
Before the league came up with the whole Super Bowl idea, the league championship game was regularly played in freezers like Cleveland or Chicago or New York or Detroit or Philadelphia or Baltimore.
It was played in those cities because the NFL title game wasn’t played at a neutral site back then like it’s been for the last 44 years. The team with best record got the homefield advantage, just like it does now in every playoff game but the Super Bowl.
But there’s not supposed to be a homefield advantage in the Super Bowl.
When you’re playing the Super Bowl in open-air stadiums in warm or moderate-weather climates like Tampa or Miami or San Diego or Los Angeles, or in cities with domed stadiums or retractable roofs like Phoenix or New Orleans or Indianapolis or Dallas, the chances of the elements providing an advantage to one team or the other are minimal.
But when you play the Super Bowl in a place like North Jersey in early February, well, all bets are off. Anybody who’s been up to the Meadowlands for a game in December or January has seen how the wind can affect the ability to throw the football.
If the Super Bowl wasn’t a neutral-site game, hey, I wouldn’t care where they were playing it. The conditions are part of the whole homefield advantage thing. But if a great passing team makes it to the 2014 Super Bowl and has to go up against a great running team, and the temperature slips into the teens and the wind is gusting at 30 miles an hour, the whole netural-site thing goes out the window.
That’s my objection to playing the Super Bowl in the Meadowlands in 2014.