Before as few as 17 and as many as 23 owners voted on Tuesday to award Super Bowl XLVIII to New York/New Jersey, it was widely believed that the staging of an NFL title game in a cold-weather, open-air city would be a one-shot deal.
That hasn’t stopped folks with ties to Northern towns from making their pitches for an in-the-elements Super Bowl of their own. At last count, the Redskins, Ravens, and Packers have thrown their Nutria rat hats into the ring. (Another coach from a cold-weather city has expressed an interest in hosting the game, too. More on that later tonight.)
So what gives? Isn’t an open-air, cold-weather Super Bowl a one-time-only arrangement?
NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell didn’t rule out the possibility of the game being played in other cold-weather cities having stadiums without lids.
“I think each game will be decided on an individual basis,” Goodell told reporters on Tuesday. “I do believe
that New York is a unique market. I think the membership recognizes
that. It is the number-one market in our country and in many cases
around the world. From that standpoint it will be a great experience for
our fans and for the NFL. I am confident that the bid they put together
will turn out to be a great event.”
So what gives? A cynic may wonder whether the league has realized that encouraging bids from other cold-weather cities will serve only to enhance all of the bids that are submitted. When South Florida host committee chairman Rodney Barreto complained that the extra $1 million that Miami thrown into the offer on the eve of the vote wasn’t enough to pry the game from New York, the implicit message to other warm-weather locales could be this: “Try harder.”
Those efforts won’t necessarily come in the form of cash money, but also via stadium enhancements aimed at making the local venue more attractive. And the possibility of future cold-weather Super Bowls could result in teams in cooler climates trying to get state-of-the-art facilities, too.
Basically, the New York/New Jersey decision opens a new frontier of leverage when it comes to bidding for the Super Bowl, both as to the financial packages presented to the league and the ongoing keeping-up-with-the-Jerry-Joneses pursuit of newer and better stadiums. In the end, the NFL will continue to win, and win big.
The only surprise in this regard is that it took the league 48 Super Bowls to figure this out.