29 Days: Q&A with Woody Johnson
January, 4, 2014
By Jane McManus | ESPNNewYork.com
Mario Tama/Getty ImagesIt it wasn't for the weather, Woody Johnson believes every Super Bowl would be at MetLife Stadium.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 29 days until the Super Bowl.
ESPN New York is conducting Q&As with each member of the host committee. Next up: committee co-chair and Jets owner Woody Johnson.
Q: You have worked on a lot of big-scale projects; what’s the personal appeal of these big-scale projects?
A: The big-scale project that I was most interested in was building a stadium for the team. Realizing the stadium we had, our existing stadium in New Jersey, was at the end of its life span and we would have to replace it in a reasonable time period to be a modern stadium, and do the things technology-wise and infrastructure-wise that one has to provide in a place like New York, I thought. So now we have a stadium with the Giants.
Q: Is the Super Bowl another large-scale project?
A: The Super Bowl is just a logical extension of the stadium. It’s a perfect stadium for a Super Bowl in that it’s large, great press, great clubs, great seating, great parking lot, and the media and the financial capital of the world. So other than the weather it would be here probably every time. New York-New Jersey has a population and interest and sponsors that dwarf any other part of the country. But it’s the weather, and that was something that I think the owners, on their own, decided was not that relevant to this trial of Super Bowl 48.
What will be the biggest benefit to New York?
A: I think having a Super Bowl in any area is a tremendous accomplishment and a sign that the town, in a way, is worthy of hosting a Super Bowl. You [need to] have enough development and enough hotels and access and transportation and all that to do it, so I think that’s a compliment to the area.
You can argue about what the financial ramifications are but I suspect that having a Super Bowl, which will be the largest event ever held in New York I would take a guess at, is going to be beneficial to the hotels and cab drivers and Broadway and everyone else when you have that many people coming in prepared to have fun.
Q: With some of the logistical differences this year, how will fans react?
A: I think they’re going to love it. It’s no different than any other Super Bowl. The Super Bowl is not run by the teams, it’s run by the NFL. There are tremendous operating practices that have worked well in all other cities. And really the way we’re operating this thing is no different than the way it was operated before. We’re going to have tailgating, it’s just not going to be as [spread out] ... and the fans will expect that, they’re not going to expect to bring out lawn chairs and all that in the parking lot at the Super Bowl with such limited parking. But they can open their trunk and still have fun with their friends right around there but they can only do it in the confines of their space, unlike regular games where they can spread out a little more.
Come back daily for more on the issues, logistics and personalities surrounding Super Bowl XLVIII.