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QBREES9 05-16-2010 10:12 PM

Idea of New York Super Bowl no longer getting cold shoulder
Idea of New York Super Bowl no longer getting cold shoulder | -

When I heard there was a good chance the 2014 Super Bowl will be awarded to New York, that is, to the $1.6 billion, without-a-roof, home of the Giants and Jets known as the New Meadowlands Stadium in East Rutherford, N.J., my first thoughts were of Pete Rozelle.
The Times-Picayune archive

Former NFL commissioner Pete Rozelle, pictured here with John W. Mecom Jr., as they announced his ownership of the New Orleans Saints, preferred to hold the league's championship game in warmer climates.

I tried to picture the former NFL commissioner, pointing to a photograph of Joe Namath, quarterback of the Jets, sitting poolside in Miami sunshine, the week he’d be facing the Baltimore Colts in Super Bowl III.
Rozelle liked the photograph.

It wasn’t because it reminded him of one of the biggest upsets in Super Bowl history, one guaranteed by Broadway Joe.

It was because it reminded Rozelle that pro football’s championship was being decided in January sunshine, not in the “frozen tundra.”

In those early days, conscious of the role television played in helping to elevate the sport to No. 1, Rozelle always associated the Super Bowl with a “warm-weather city.’’ By Super Bowl XVI, warm weather had given way to Pontiac, Mich., but Pontiac had a roof on its Silverdome.
So did the home of the Vikings, when Super XXVI was awarded to Minneapolis.

If the owners vote Super Bowl XLVIII to New Meadowlands Stadium, across the river from Broadway, they’ll be deciding the first NFL championship “up north,’’ outdoors and in February open air.
When NFL bosses cast their ballots May 25, Broadway will be facing a couple of well-known sunshine hosts of the past, Tampa and Miami.
Broadway has one vote sewed up.

Said Robert Kraft, owner of the New England Patriots: “Come on, it’s New York.’’
Don’t let chances of a little snow worry you, he suggests. Of course, he’s a little partial to “old-school football.’’ That’s because, in one of the more memorable playoff games in history, Kraft watched his team win a game en route to New Orleans, and the Super Bowl XXXVI, in part by defeating the Oakland Raiders in 4 inches of snow in Foxboro, a game that became known for making the ”Tuck Rule’’ famous/infamous.

With less than two minutes remaining, the Raiders are winning 13-10, and quarterback Tom Brady appears to fumble on the Oakland 42-yard line while attempting to pass. Raiders recover, goes the ruling. Replay. Brady’s arm was going forward, said the official. Incomplete pass.

Patriots go on to kick a field goal to tie the score, then win it with a field goal in overtime. After they defeat Pittsburgh in the AFC championship game, the Patriots win the Super Bowl with a field goal to beat St. Louis.
So, says Kraft, “Who says you can’t play football in the snow?’’
That’s what New York is saying, loud and clear, in its bid to host the championship game.

For February, the average low is 24 degrees.
So what. Hand-warmers will be available to all fans.
If you’re staying in Manhattan, don’t worry. The New Jersey Transit system can move 10,000 fans per hour from Penn Station to the stadium.
On game day, more than 800 people with snow shovels will be available to clear the stadium, if necessary.

For fans, more than 1,000 taxis will be available on game day.
For fans, or owners, wishing to travel to the stadium by helicopter, two helipads are available for landing.
Say what you want, New York is giving it its best shot.
New York can ask itself: In February 2014, can the weather in New Meadowlands Stadium be any worse than it was for the “Ice Bowl’’ in 1967, between the Packers and Cowboys at Lambeau Stadium?
Wind chill hit a low of minus-48.
Too cold for officials to blow a whistle.
Bands in the stands remained silent, afraid the instruments might stick to the musicians lips.

For me, the memory of the coldest Big Easy Super Bowl was the last of three played at Tulane Stadium, January 1975 — Steelers 16, Vikings 6.
A 24-degree wind chill was penetrating enough to make two cold-weather teams feel at home.
When two teams show up in the Superdome in February 2013, for our 10th championship game, they’ll play in 70 degrees, and a zero wind chill.
How much of a bargain was the Superdome?
Consider this.

The Superdome opened its doors in 1975, as did the Silverdome in Pontiac, Mich., which was built at a cost of $55.7 million.

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