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NFL embraces the idea of snow during Super Bowl week

By Ryan Wilson | CBSSports.com


The NFL is ready for snow during Super Bowl week. (USATSI)

In 2½ months, Super Bowl XLVIII will be held in East Rutherford, N.J., at MetLife Stadium. For as long as there has been football it has been played in cold weather, but this will be the first time in 47 years that the big game will be played outdoors in a region known for freezing temperatures in February.

In fact, the coldest it has ever been for a Super Bowl kickoff is 39 degrees, and that was 43 years ago at old Tulane Stadium (New Orleans) when the Chiefs faced the Vikings.

We mention this because depending on the logistical success of this game, the NFL could be more inclined to return to a cold-weather city in the future. And while the league is no doubt planning every weather-related contingency, they have publicy embraced the idea of the elements playing a part in the week-long festivities.

"It would be disappointing if it didn't, quite frankly," NFL spokesman Brian McCarthy told the Associated Press. "Weather and the elements are part of the game. And we are embracing it."

The 197-year-old Farmers' Almanac is predicting a "bitterly, piercing and biting" cold winter, which prompted managing editor Sandi Duncan to observe, "It really looks like the Super Bowl may be the Storm Bowl."

More details via the AP:

From the beginning, the committee decided to embrace 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 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.

"If people are looking for warming stations [on Super Bowl Blvd.], we're not building them," McCarthy said. "But you do have about 150 restaurants and shops right there."

Works for us.

We love the idea of a Super Bowl played in less-than-ideal conditions. The problem: Because this is a worldwide spectacle and a week-long event that has substantially more moving parts than your garden-variety cold-weather playoff game, limiting the variables that can derail the experience -- namely, weather (or if this is New Orleans, electricity) -- is critical for the league.

But as the AP notes, "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."

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