NEW YORK – With the weather forecast improving by the day, the first outdoor Super Bowl in a cold-weather venue isn’t even expected to produce the coldest on-field starting temperature in Super Bowl history.
According to The Weather Channel, Sunday’s forecast for East Rutherford, N.J., home of MetLife Stadium and Super Bowl XLVIII, calls for a high of 49, a low of 29, minimal to no wind and up to only a 20 percent chance of precipitation. The coldest on-field temperature at kickoff was 39 degrees at Tulane Stadium when the Cowboys beat the Dolphins 24-3 in Super Bowl VI.
That’s good news for a league that was concerned about the possibility of a blizzard affecting a game that includes great, but less than strong-armed quarterback Peyton Manning trying to lead Denver’s record-setting offense to a legacy-stamping victory over Seattle’s No. 1-ranked defense.
It’s also potentially good for Minneapolis, which is among three finalists for Super Bowl LII, which will be played in February 2018.
Yes, the new Vikings stadium will have a roof, so the elements would be controlled. But a blizzard on game day with the entire world watching the game and then snarled up traffic outside the stadium might not be the fresh image that would benefit Minneapolis when its detailed sales pitch is presented to the league’s owners in March. Owners will then vote on the bids by Minneapolis, Indianapolis and New Orleans in May.
This morning, NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell had fun with all the focus that’s been placed on the weather this week. As he opened his annual Super Bowl press conference, fake snow began to fall from above him.
"I told you we were going to embrace the weather," Goodell said with a smile.
As usual, Goodell was asked several questions about future Super Bowl sites. And, as usual, Goodell answered the questions without really answering the questions.
“We know there’s interest in other communities hosting the Super Bowl,” he said. “I think the ownership will sit back and review that when we’re done, but we have a very aggressive process in how we select cities.
“The ability to host the Super Bowl is more and more complicated, more and more complex because of the size and number of events. The infrastructure is very important. There are over 30,000 hotel rooms needed even to host the Super Bowl so there are some communities that may not be able to do it from an infrastructure standpoint, but we know the passion’s there.”
Next year’s Super Bowl is in Glendale, Ariz. The new 49ers stadium in Santa Clara, Calif., is up after that, followed by a return to Houston for the first time since 2004.
Minnesota hasn’t played host to a Super Bowl since its one and only time in 1992, 10 years after the Metrodome opened. The outdoor temperature that day was 26 degrees, according to the Pro Football Hall of Fame’s website.
New Orleans hosted last year’s Super Bowl. Indianapolis hosted two years ago.