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 97 days to the Super Bowl.
The meteorologists at The Weather Channel like talking sports when they aren’t talking weather, and Jonathan Erdman said when they heard New York and New Jersey would host a Super Bowl at MetLife Stadium on Feb. 2, they weren’t sure if they believed it.
“And then we saw the logo with the snowflake,” said the senior meteorologist.
It’s really happening. The NFL has decided to hold the Super Bowl in a spot that could potentially have two feet of snow on the ground, not to mention punishing winds over the Meadowlands. But will it?
The problem is that most long-range forecasts are vague. The Weather Channel just released one that predicts a milder winter. But even that prediction has no real insight for a specific day.
“That’s not possible,” Erdman said. “If you read about it anywhere, don’t believe it.”
Erdman said that three of the last five Feb. 2's have seen snow at Newark Liberty Airport. Even without a blizzard, the average temperature is the low- to mid- 30s.
Advice from WABC-7 meteorologist Lee Goldberg? “Get travel insurance.”
Speculation on game-time temperature will start early, but the Super Bowl is a week-long event with fans flying in for parties and fan-centered activities like Super Bowl Boulevard in Times Square. Flying in day-of-game might work for Miami in February, but not here.
“Don’t make it last-minute,” Goldberg said. “Allow yourself some wiggle room for delays.”
And those delays could be extensive. Erdman said that late January and early February are prime time for nor’easters as well.
So what should fans prepare for on Feb. 2, sitting in a seat that likely cost around $1,000 and is exposed to the elements? “Snow, sleet, freezing rain and temperatures in the 30s,” Erdman said.
Did I detect a hint of glee in his voice? Fact is, a cold-weather Super Bowl will make rock stars of meteorologists this season. Reporters will call them for interviews (case in point), viewers will hang on their every word, airplane, train and game tickets will be purchased based on their predictions.
But don’t expect an early forecast.
“There will be pressure to make a preliminary and early call,” Goldberg said. “But realistically a week out is when we are going to have a good feel.”
It will be a long wait. You’ll probably need a jacket.
Come back daily for more on the issues, logistics and personalities surrounding Super Bowl XLVIII.