First and Goal: NJ Lawmakers Push for Meadowlands Super Bowl

But can they overcome the allure of warm weather stadiums

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    NEWSLETTERS

    The Meadowlands Station is the centerpiece of a $213 million project by the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, NJ Transit.

    A bid to bring Super Bowl XLVIII to New Jersey is now in play.

    The Tri-State area has never hosted football's main event because of the so-called "weather rule" which requires the Super Bowl be played where the average winter temperate is 50 degrees. Covered stadiums in cold locations are also acceptable.

    But in December, the Super Bowl's advisory panel signed off on a possible Meadowlands bid.  And state lawmakers pitching the idea insist their effort to bring the title game to a cold-weather, domeless stadium is more than a Hail Mary pass.

    The Garden State's Senate Economic Growth Committee unanimously approved a resolution today urging the National Football League to consider the new Meadowlands Stadium as host for the 2014 Super Bowl.

    Getting the NFL to choose New Jersey would be unprecedented but two North Jersey senators sponsoring the resolution like thier chances.

    Sen. Tom Kean Jr., a resolution co-sponsor who represents parts of Essex, Union and Somerset counties, said football fans want to see snow on the field.

    "We've had many football games in Florida," he said. "It's about time we've had one in the Meadowlands."

    The NFL gave the New York Giants and New York Jets, who play home games at the Meadowlands complex, the right to bid on the Super Bowl in December despite the traditional requirement that a host region generally has a temperature of 50 degrees when the game is scheduled or a stadium with a dome or retractable roof.

    Nine of the last 10 Super Bowls have been in the traditionally warm-weather states Arizona, California, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana or Texas; the other was in Michigan, in a domed stadium, on Feb. 5, 2006.

    The new Meadowlands stadium, scheduled to be completed early this year, does not have a retractable roof. While New Jersey's bid technically violates the NFL's weather rule, Kean said he believes the league wouldn't have allowed New Jersey to bid for the game if the proposal would be rejected out of hand.

    "Why would you allow them to apply if you weren't going to give them serious consideration?" he asked.

    If approved by the full Senate, the resolution will be forwarded to the NFL. A full-fledged marketing push is being mounted by the New Jersey Chamber of Commerce and other interested groups, said resolution co-sponsor Sen. Paul Sarlo, of Bergen County.

    Hosting a Super Bowl would be a boon economically and a boost to Jersey pride, Sarlo said. The financial benefit to the region could top $200 million, with thousands of people visiting for the game, he said.

    "We have a lot of things happening there that would allow them to overcome their fears of the cold weather," Sarlo said. "If they can get beyond the cold weather, we have a great chance — 75 percent or greater.