The Super Bowl is, of course, more than just a game. In fact, some might argue that the game is secondary to all of the social activities that go on during Super Bowl week. (And then there are the commercials, but let’s not go there…) There’s no doubt that many view the Super Bowl as an event where they can see and be seen, so the NFL’s decision on Tuesday to play Super Bowl XLVIII outdoors in New Jersey is sure to upset some of those who prefer partying to pigskins.
This will be the first Super Bowl to be played outdoors in a cold-weather city, and the NFL waived its weather rules to allow New York/New Jersey to apply for hosting the game. Previously, the league only allowed the Super Bowl to be played in a location where the external temperature normally exceeds 50°F during the time of the game or where the stadium has a closed roof. With New York’s Giants and Jets having built a $1.6-billion stadium in New Jersey that opens this year, the league felt the region had a selling point that would outshine any weather issues, and after four rounds of secret balloting, NFL owners agreed, awarding New York/New Jersey the 2014 event over Tampa and Miami, two cities that have hosted the game a total of 14 times.
The coldest Super Bowl occurred in 1972, when the temperature was 39°F at the kickoff of Super Bowl VI in New Orleans’s Tulane Stadium. (A complete list of Super Bowl temperatures can be found here.) While the exact date of Super Bowl XLVIII has not yet been determined, it appears this could be the first time the game’s number is greater than the temperature. AccuWeather Meteorologist Bernie Rayno notes that the normal weather for the area during the game includes temperatures in the 30s with 10-20-mph winds; interestingly, there is a better chance of rain than snow: Using a target date of February 2 and records from nearby Newark, only 4% of days over the last 44 years had snowfall on that day (the greatest amount being 3 inches in 1985), while 14% percent of the days had rainfall. As Rayno points out, though, “you’re playing averages. Only 20 percent of the years recorded a high temperature within 2 degrees of the average high of 41 degrees. Climate is a product of extremes.”
And as New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg said, “People talk about the weather, but, you know, this is football, not beach volleyball.”
But try telling that to someone who paid north of $1,000 for a ticket.