Cold weather Super Bowl: It's not a matter of If, but when Green Bay gets its bowl

Jan 27, 2013; New Orleans, LA, USA; General view of Super Bowl XLVIII logo at the media center in the Convention Center prior to Super Bowl XLVII.  Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports

The Super Bowl has grown from its unsold-out first 1967 game in California between the American Football League champion Kansas City Chiefs and National Football League champion Green Bay Packers into the biggest sporting event, if not the biggest event of the year. The marketing feeding frenzy surrounding the Super Bowl continues to grow exponentially as the Roman numerals increase.

But the NFL is taking a huge risk next year – a risk that’s not only being watched by those who have enormous financial stake in the success of the event, but by those who may have a vested interest in future Super Bowls.

Next year, the game will be play in New York City – or is it New Jersey? Either way, the game is the least of most investors’ worries. The biggest worry is all that surrounds it – especially how the weather plays into it all.

Dec 18, 2011; Minneapolis, MN, USA; Minnesota Vikings fans hold up a sign asking for a new stadium during the fourth quarter against the New Orleans Saints at the Metrodome. The Saints defeated the Vikings 42-20. Mandatory Credit: Brace Hemmelgarn-USA TODAY Sports

To that end, the league is planning on extensive contingency plans should Old Man Weather decide to throw wrench into the works.  But you can also bet that the good folks over in Minnesota, those in Kansas City, Denver or even Cleveland and Green Bay will be watching how things unfold a year from now. And you can bet they are praying for good weather – but the real question is should they be hoping for good weather?

You see, the idea of a cold weather Super Bowl isn’t something new. People have been pulling for the big game to be played in the northern climes of the United States for some time. Oh, there have been Super Bowls played in northern cities, but the game has always been played in stadiums with domes.

Boring.

It’s time to throw in a Nor’easter … maybe some freezing rain … and some wind and cold temperatures. It’s time to play a Super Bowl with real weather conditions.

Of course, that wouldn’t be the best of scenarios for those folks who might want to host a future Super Bowl … including those in Green Bay.

Minnesota will most likely get their Super Bowl once their monstrosity of a new billion dollar stadium comes to fruition. But what about those in cities such as Kansas City, Denver, Cleveland or yes … even Green Bay?

Packers head coach Mike McCarthy takes his Gatorade bath at the end of Super Bowl XLV.
Raymond T. Rivard photograph

Our hope (on the surface, at least) is that the weather cooperates and New York’s Super Bowl comes off without a weather hitch- that it’s 45 degrees and sunny on game day. It’s not out of the question. If you remember a couple of years back when the Packers played the Steelers in Dallas, you might remember how cold it was in Texas that week. The temperature between Dallas and Green Bay wasn’t that different (OK, so it was 38 degrees in Dallas on game day and 15 in Green Bay – however, it was 24 on Feb. 5 in Green Bay).

But there are ways to get around those issues. First of all, we’re talking about the marketing of the event – the parties sponsored by all the beautiful people. Well, indoor facilities can be built for those purposes, transportation can be provided and so forth. In Green Bay, there are already substantial plans for additions to the stadium’s Atrium and for another entertainment facility to be built next door. Those activities held running up to the Super Bowl are held indoors anyway, whether the Super Bowl is held in Phoenix or Philadelphia.

As for the halftime show – well, in my estimation, they can scrap that anyway, but if they have to hold it, have it somewhere in a concert venue and pipe it in to the stadium – after all, the people watching the game are there for the game, not the halftime show.

If the Super Bowl is indeed supposed to be Super, it should include all the elements that the founding fathers of the game intended – that means playing outdoors in the elements. All this artificial blather that goes along with the Super Bowl can be done at alternate locations and at facilities built or provided for those purposes. The Olympics do just that – they build cities within cities to house all that go along with the games and the experience. That could certainly be done by the host cities as well.

Packers President Mark Murphy would love to see a Super Bowl in Green Bay.
Raymond T. Rivard photograph

Now, according to Packers president Mark Murphy who said recently he would love to host a Super Bowl, but the biggest obstacle with hosting are the requirements for hotel rooms. He said the host city has to have a specific number of rooms available and Green Bay falls far short of that number. That might be an issue, but it’s something that could be addressed by people smarter than me.

I understand the money pit that is the Super Bowl, but when you think about the game itself, the money part of the event isn’t centered on the game. Yes, tickets are expensive, but my guess is that the numbers produced from ticket sales is minimal in overall dollar intake. And what NFL fan wouldn’t be excited about plunking down $5,000 to visit Green Bay for a Super Bowl game at Lambeau Field. There were 30,000 or 40,000 people at the Ice Bowl and there are probably one million who claim they were there. Why? Because it was a great game that has gone down in league lore.

Can you imagine being a part of a Super Bowl at Lambeau Field played in the elements and the game coming down to the final play? That would be a game of epic proportions. After all, isn’t the Ice Bowl considered within the top 5 of the greatest games ever played – it should be number one or two, in my mind. Yes, it was a great game, but it was the elements that made it a great game.

If the NFL is serious about the possibility of using the New York Super Bowl as a testing ground for possible future cold weather Super Bowls, then they shouldn’t count out the fact that the weather – bad weather – could add to the beauty of the event. Let the bean counters figure out the ways to make the money. Let the football game make its own history.

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Tags: Green Bay Packers New York Super Bowl Super Bowl XLVIII

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