The NFL Network had a 90-minute pre-show leading up to the announcement of the host city for the 2014 Super Bowl on Tuesday afternoon. That's all you need to know about the wisdom of the league's decision to give New York and New Jersey a chance to host the big game.
Usually the location of the Super Bowl elicits a brief mention at the end of a broadcast or a paragraph from a wire report in the newspaper, but this year it generated enough headlines and conversations to rivals the overkill reserved for the game itself. If that's what it is like four years before the game, can you imagine the way the NFL will dominate the airwaves when a cold weather game was actually about to be played?
Will it snow? Will playing outdoors in the winter affect one team more than the other? What would the nation's biggest event look like when it is held in the nation's biggest city?
All great questions and all great reasons why the Big Apple wound up on top of the owners vote on Tuesday. It took four ballots, but in the end the unknown reigned victorious over the same old thing. It doesn't hurt that other owners of teams outside the Sun Belt might want the game either, but that was hardly the only driver. The Super Bowl is in its fifth decade and while it hasn't become stale, it has become routine. Shaking things up is good for the league, it's good for fans and it will make for a much more compelling narrative than two more weeks in Tampa, the runner up on Tuesday.
There are those who are dead set against the idea, but most of those people aren't actually concerned about the football. They are media members and corporate types who see the Super Bowl as an annual trip somewhere warm where they can wear short sleeve shirts in the middle of winter while sipping on margaritas and gawking at women in bikinis. Why would anyone want to give that up?
A fair question, but a better one is why would anyone outside of those people care that they have to sit in the cold? Most people consume the game from someone's house where it will be warm and dry even if the field is covered by a few inches of snow and lashed by howling winds. Those games are awfully fun to watch on television and there's just not much reason to think it is going to result in a poorly played game or a disadvantage for either side.
Take the 2008 playoffs, for example. Before the NFC Championship Game in Green Bay, the conventional wisdom was that the Packers would benefit from frigid temperatures at Lambeau Field. The Giants won the game. Then came the Super Bowl when the high-octane Patriots offense -- honed in the Northeast, we might add -- failed to ignite in perfect Arizona conditions. Both of those games, as it happens, were tight contests that thrilled everyone watching them. Football works in all weather and good football teams win no matter what the mercury might say that day.
Those issues weren't what wound up pushing the vote in New York's favor, though. It was about money, a brand new stadium and, refreshingly, trying something new. The Super Bowl has long been more about the experience than about the game itself. And there's simply no bigger experience for the league to tackle than placing its premiere event on the biggest stage in the country.