Wednesday, January 22, 2014
NFL postpones discussion of postponement
By Jane McManus
EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- If a snowstorm like the one that just dumped a foot of snow on New York fell on Feb. 2, the NFL could consider moving the Super Bowl to Saturday or Monday.
Although NFL EVP Eric Grubman said he didn’t want to speculate on what specifically would have happened if Feb. 2 had been Tuesday, when both New York and New Jersey declared states of emergency, he did say that contingency plans are in place.
“We need 24 hours to move game time,” Grubman said Wednesday at MetLife Stadium. “We need 36 hours to move the day, we need 48 hours of notice or prep time, but we’re actually going to start as far as 72 hours in advance of staging additional resources if there is a [weather-related] threat.”
Although both states declared states of emergency, there was no travel restriction in New Jersey on Tuesday, according to New Jersey State Police public information officer Adam Grossman. Each storm is handled differently, and the last two haven’t forced drivers off the road.
“It depends on the weather and depends on if Governor [Chris] Christie and his cabinet and the Office of Emergency management decide to put in a travel restriction,” Grossman said.
About a foot of snow fell over New York and New Jersey, the region that will host Super Bowl XVLIII on Feb. 2. As the snow was falling, the NFL scheduled a Wednesday press conference to show how effectively the MetLife Stadium crews were able to remove all that snow.
“Our aim is to play it at 6:30 and we’ve got every available resource to do that as long as it’s safe,” Grubman said.
There were chutes attached to the upper bowl that could be used to push snow down toward the field, where it was incinerated by jet engine-powered snow melters. Outside, plows and shovels had cleared the parking lots and paths leading to the security pavilions that have already been erected.
The NFL plans to look through the timing of Tuesday’s storm to get a sense of how it would play out on a hypothetical game day, but didn’t do it on a day when state police were responding to accidents and weather-related emergencies.
“I did ask for people to gather that information so we could go back on a tabletop exercise and make some judgments,” Grubman said.
Most arrangements have been in place for months, and the NFL has planned contingencies long before this winter’s snow started falling.