Each day from now until Feb. 2, ESPNNewYork.com will take you inside the challenge of staging the most unpredictable NFL title game ever. There are 100 days to the Super Bowl.
NEW YORK -- The team heading up Super Bowl XLVIII made it official Friday morning at 9:30 a.m. by ringing the opening bell at the New York Stock Exchange; the countdown to kickoff for the NFL's first-ever cold-weather extravaganza has begun.
As ESPN New York reported on Thursday, the New York/New Jersey Super Bowl Host Committee and CEO Al Kelly hope that this Super Bowl serves as the blueprint for other major events and leads to a regular return of the NFL's biggest stage to the area. For that to happen, it will have to go off without a hitch -- unlike, say, last year's game in New Orleans.
The three men at the top of the org chart are all smiles right now, but they have a lot to do in a few short days. Here is an overview of who’s in charge and what’s in store.
Al Kelly: The president and CEO of the host committee, in charge of day-to-day operations and fundraising. A former CEO of American Express, he spent 23 years at the company.
Woody Johnson: New York Jets owner whose family started the Johnson & Johnson medical-supplies dynasty. Johnson grew up in New York and New Jersey, and was a member of the group that tried to bring the Olympics to New York City. Before agreeing to collaborate with the Giants on building MetLife Stadium, Johnson wanted to build a stadium with a roof on Manhattan's West Side.
Jonathan Tisch: The co-owner of the New York Giants and the chairman of Loews Hotels. For six years, Tisch was in charge of NYC & Company, which was the marketing arm for the city. Like co-owner John Mara, Tisch inherited his stake in the Giants.
These three and a legion of executives and assistants will be working out the logistics of a complicated week in a city where the weather could be in the 50s -- or bitterly cold with an incoming blizzard promising two feet of snow.
The committee is slotting its biggest concerns as follows:
Security: A huge concern for any big event, and in New York these concerns are multiplied. The host committee and the NFL are cooperating with federal authorities who take the lead on game day, and with city and state law enforcement officials in the weeks leading up to the event.
Weather: Like the Post Office, the committee needs to get this Super Bowl delivered no matter what nature has in store. The truly scary part? Forecasts with any real specifics won’t be available until about a week out.
Transportation: On game day, MetLife Stadium will have just 12,000 parking spaces for fans out of the usual 28,000 available for Jets and Giants games. (That's right, more than half of the stadium's parking spaces will be engulfed by logistical trucks, hospitality tents or engulfed by the security perimeter.) That’s why Kelly is calling this the "Public Transportation Super Bowl." Fans who shell out $2,000 for a ticket might be best served leaving the Rolls with the chauffeur and taking the bus from Port Authority.
Power: Last year's Super Bowl blackout was a black eye for the NFL. In order to avoid a repeat, the committee has spent a great deal of time and money troubleshooting MetLife’s grid, among many other challenges.
And they have exactly 100 days to get it all figured out.
Come back daily for more on the issues, logistics and personalities surrounding Super Bowl XLVIII.