NY Super Bowl: Roger Goodell

1 Day: Snow Bowl fears melt at MetLife

February, 1, 2014
Feb 1

Each day until Feb. 2, ESPNNewYork.com has been taking you inside the challenge of staging the most unpredictable NFL title game ever. There is 1 day until the Super Bowl.

NEW YORK -- When NFL commissioner Roger Goodell approached the podium Friday, he could have just as easily done a victory lap around the seats in the Rose Theater.

The weather Sunday is projected to be in the low 50s, so, even though the New York/New Jersey Super Bowl put a snowflake on the logo, it looks as if it won’t be getting much of the real stuff.

The possibility of snow was real, but it won’t hamper any of the MetLife Stadium festivities.

“There has been a tremendous amount of energy and excitement about this Super Bowl,” Goodell said. “This is the No. 1 market and a great stage for this Super Bowl matchup, and the world will be watching.”

This is a home game for the NFL, which has offices on Park Avenue, and many of the people who work at those headquarters are homegrown locals. Goodell himself went to Bronxville High School, in an exclusive Westchester suburb just north of the Bronx borough line.

There are still potential snags. The first Mass Transit Super Bowl still has to get 80,000 fans to and from the Super Bowl.

It hasn’t been perfect. The cold earlier in the week put a damper on outdoor experiences such as Super Bowl Boulevard, and New York and New Jersey have not been equally happy about the amount of attention their states have gotten. Still, the NFL has pulled off Super Bowl week.

Now it just has to pull off the game.

Slurs and mascots: On Friday, a reporter asked Goodell about the Washington nickname, asking whether he would call a Native American person a “redskin” to his face. Goodell said the Washington name honored Native Americans.

“But if you look at the numbers, including in Native American communities, in a Native American community poll, nine out of 10 supported the name. Eight out of 10 Americans in the general population would not like us to change the name.”

The National Congress of American Indians published a position paper in October on the brutal legacy of the name and has produced a powerful PSA (see above) that includes all the names used to honor the history of Native Americans on this land, and the one term that does not.

Taste of the NFL: There will be a ton of parties Saturday night: the MVP Party, Sailgate, NFL Honors, DirecTV, Leather and Laces, etc., but the granddaddy of them all starts everything off when the Taste of the NFL hits Brooklyn. With glitz and names the focus of so many others, Taste of the NFL looks to raise $1 million Saturday night to alleviate hunger in NFL cities. Organizer Wayne Kostroski has turned this into a labor of love. Thirty-two chefs prepare 32 specialty dishes, plus there will be music at Brooklyn Cruise Terminal at Pier 12. Individual tickets might still be available at TasteoftheNFL.com.

Last Day for Super Bowl Boulevard: Get out while you can to see this tribute to the NFL’s over-the-top way of celebrating the New York/New Jersey Super Bowl. Could more have been in New Jersey? East Rutherford mayor James Cassella was cutting in his remarks Friday. “The NFL quite frankly probably doesn’t know that we exist over here,” Cassella said.

Super safety: If anyone needed to be reminded that the Super Bowl is a target, Friday's delivery of white powder to local New Jersey hotels did it. Luckily, testing revealed that it was a harmless substance.

Have a nice day: The NFL is getting the best possible day out of a Meadowlands winter tomorrow -- with AccuWeather reporting a high of 51 degrees and the possibility of an afternoon shower. The mystery here is whether kickoff will be below 39 degrees, the record low for a Super Bowl start.

Tickets: StubHub.com still had 1,741 Super Bowl tickets available Saturday morning. The starting price was $1,725 for an upper bowl seat. At Seatgeek.com, tickets start at $1,425. Tickets for the Leather and Laces Party on Saturday night are starting at $3,000. The NFL’s security team has warned that there are people selling fake tickets to all Super Bowl-related events, so be careful.

Come back daily for more on the issues, logistics and personalities surrounding Super Bowl XLVIII.

6 Days: Committee head declares victory

January, 27, 2014
Jan 27

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 six days until the Super Bowl.

NEW YORK -- A congratulatory news conference started off Super Bowl week as Al Kelly, CEO of the New York/New Jersey Super Bowl Host Committee, declared the transportation plans for the game an “unprecedented success,” with two-thirds of all attendees expected to get to MetLife Stadium via mass transit.

“Hopefully when we do all the tallying for the weeks to come,” committee co-chairman Jonathan Tisch said, “the other 30 owners will say to themselves when there’s a chance to do this again, ‘Super Bowl XLVIII in New York and New Jersey was a huge success. Let’s try to do this once every 10 years.’”

There is still almost a full week to get to that point. There are plenty of shuttle rides, train trips and potential snowflakes to fall, but the hopes of a future MetLife Super Bowl -- and likely the hopes of Chicago and other outdoor cold-weather venues -- rest on how smoothly things go this week.

“The Super Bowl award comes down to a vote of 32 owners,” Giants co-owner John Mara said. “If they have a good experience and the game gets a positive review, does it open up the possibility the game could be played in other cold-weather cities? I think it does.”

When the Super Bowl comes to MetLife Stadium on Sunday, it will have gone through upgrades and assessments to withstand any challenges when it comes to power. Last year in New Orleans, the Super Bowl was stopped during a blackout.

“This stadium as it stands today, in the preparations and check-ins and learnings from last year,” NFL executive Eric Grubman said, “the stadium is in excellent position to have uninterrupted power.”

New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, tarred by a scandal involving traffic and retribution, missed Monday's news conference.

“We’ve gotten great cooperation from his administration,” Mara said. “Fortunately, most of the work had already been done by the time that all broke. But even since then we’ve gotten great co-op from them.”

Christie was scheduled to make a related appearance in Newark later in the day.

As for the weather, the forecast looks good enough -- mid-30s without much possible precipitation -- that the host committee didn’t have to talk much about it.

“This whole Super Bowl XLVIII has been about a lot of firsts,” Kelly said.

The committee started by embracing the cold and the outdoors and by asking fans to learn how to use the region’s mass transit system.

Whether that means it’s an unprecedented success, it’s a little too soon to tell.

Got a Super tip? Contact me at jane.mcmanus@espn.com or on Twitter @janesports.

Come back daily for more on the issues, logistics and personalities surrounding Super Bowl XLVIII.

16 Days: Goodell on weather criticism

January, 17, 2014
Jan 17
Stadium Classic & MetLife AP Photo, USA TODAY SportsNFL Commissioner Roger Goodell wants to know why the NHL Winter Classic is praised where an outdoor NFL game gets criticized.
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 16 days until the Super Bowl.

NEW YORK -- Roger Goodell has noticed the different commentary for the first-ever outdoors Super Bowl in a cold-weather climate on Feb. 2 at MetLife Stadium, and the NHL's Winter Classic and Stadium Series that includes two games at Yankee Stadium.

"It's ironic that an indoor sport playing outdoors and they're all talking about how wonderful that it is. We're an outdoors sport playing outdoors and people are saying 'well, I don't know about that,'" Goodell said Thursday inside the Madison Square Garden theater. "This is what we're all about. I actually think the teams are excited about it. We're proud of what we're about to accomplish."

The NFL commissioner kicked off a Super Bowl Teammate Rally at MSG on Thursday as he briefly spoke to a crowd of about 1,200 people who will work the big game. Goodell and NFL senior VP of events Frank Supovitz regaled the crowed before the training session started.

Approximately 20,000 people will work Super Bowl week, according to Supovitz.

"I have never seen the kind of energy and excitement around a Super Bowl that I've seen with this one," Goodell said. "I think the people in this room, you're going to be part of history."

Those who attended the rally were made to feel like they were going to play in the Super Bowl as the Jets and Giants drum lines played music in the hall leading to the theater, and the Jets cheerleaders also lined the hallway.

"This is an awesome experience," said 22-year-old Bronx native Robert Pastrana. "The walk in, I've never been greeted like that."

Inside the theater, the program started with a "I'm a fan" video showing different celebrities proclaiming their love for the NFL, before Goodell briefly answered a few prepared questions. Goodell said the outdoor game will be a "great thing" for the NFL and the fans. He also thanked all the workers.

"We are proud to have you representing us and this region and you make a difference," Goodell said. "We want everyone walking away from the Super Bowl -- whether you're at one of our events, you're at the stadium, if you're watching on television -- to say 'wow. This was spectacular and I was glad to be part of it however I participated in it.' You all will make the difference in that. I promise you that."

Supovitz discussed what lies ahead for the workers, telling them how this Super Bowl has needed more planning than its 47 predecessors. He said the league is expecting 1.5 million people at Super Bowl Boulevard in Manhattan from 34th Street to 47th Street, which would be a record for an NFL festival.

He also let the workers in on Super Bowl secrets such as the overhead shots before the game not being filmed on game day, as MetLife Stadium will be a level one national security event and have a temporary flight restriction.

The large crowd seemed to enjoy the rally, and can't wait for the Super Bowl.

"It's a fever pitch. [The excitement] is high. Week by week it's getting higher" said 24-year-old Eric Motley from Harlem who will work at the stadium. "I can't wait. I'm getting jumpy right now thinking about it. Feel like I'm going to start playing in the game myself."

25 Days: No worries from Goodell

January, 8, 2014
Jan 8
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 25 days until the Super Bowl.

NEW YORK -- On Tuesday night, as a polar vortex swept the area, NFL commissioner Roger Goodell was asked if it was a “nutty” idea to have the Super Bowl outdoors in a cold-weather site.

“We didn’t expect it to be 75 and sunny,” Goodell said. “We know where we’re playing.”

At a 92Y Talk on the Upper East Side with former AP White House correspondent Ben Feller, Goodell reiterated the NFL’s position that football is a game in which weather is a factor, that's the way it ought to be, and it’s what fans want to see.

“I think it’s going to be a great thing for this region,” Goodell said, “but I think it’s going to be a great thing for the NFL.”

Many of the seats in MetLife Stadium have access to warm club rooms and indoor areas, but the cheap seats -- and at the Super Bowl cheap means roughly $800 to $5,000 a seat -- do not.

But never fear: The NFL is planning to give out welcome packages filled with chapstick, pocket warmers and texting gloves. Will they have much effect in the extreme cold? The Northwest Company released a photo of the official Super Bowl handwarmer, being modeled by someone wearing little else. I’m not a hypothermia expert but the rest of us will probably need a coat if it’s frosty enough for the handwarmer.

Christie and traffic: Just as Super Bowl XLVIII is set to showcase New Jersey, with traffic plans in place for Feb. 2 that would dedicate lanes on the George Washington Bridge to bowl-bound buses, more information about the lane closures in Fort Lee is coming out.

E-mails, including one saying, “Time for some traffic problems in Fort Lee,” were discovered in the personal accounts of several officials within New Jersey Governor Chris Christie’s administration, indicating that the lane closures to the George Washington Bridge last September may have been politically motivated.

After the e-mails emerged, Christ cancelled a Wednesday morning appearance.

So here’s hoping no one in the administration has beef with the New York/New Jersey Super Bowl Host Committee or it could be time for a “traffic study” in East Rutherford.

Christie has a brash style. At an October event with Goodell, the governor recalled standing next to the commissioner when the lights went out at the New Orleans Super Bowl.

Christie recalled the moment: “And I said, ‘Listen, Roger, I can’t guarantee the lights aren’t going to go out [at MetLife],’ I said, ‘But if they do, there will be bodies strewn in the parking lot for the people who are responsible for the lights going out, because that’s the way we handle matters in New Jersey.’”

Plea for coats: It’s freezing, and New York and New Jersey Cares are still looking to fill record demand for new and gently-used coats this winter. A coat drive is being held in conjunction with the host committee, and would be an awesome gift even if it weren’t. Find out where to donate here.

Come back daily for more on the issues, logistics and personalities surrounding Super Bowl XLVIII.

96 Days: Failure not an option for Christie

October, 29, 2013
Chris ChristieAP Photo/Joe EpsteinChristie is keeping a close eye on Super Bowl preparations.
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 96 days to the Super Bowl.

MOONACHIE, N.J. -- Don’t mess with Chris Christie’s Super Bowl.

There is an edge to the New Jersey governor's sense of humor, but it’s hard to imagine there also wasn’t an undercurrent of seriousness in a story Christie told Tuesday about the grim fate awaiting those who allow for any electrical disruption on Feb. 2, when the region is hosting the first outdoor cold-weather Super Bowl.

To prepare, Christie attended the most recent Super Bowl in New Orleans with NFL commissioner Roger Goodell.

“At the last Super Bowl you’ll remember that there was a small glitch in the game?” Christie said. “When the lights went out? And the lights were out for a while as you’ll recall, and so I was with the commissioner, and it’s an awkward time. We were there in the dark and he’s on his BlackBerry trying to figure out what’s going on. Finally he turns to me and he said to me, ‘You know, Gov, when we come to New Jersey next year, the lights aren’t going to go out, are they?’

“And I said, ‘Listen, Roger, I can’t guarantee the lights aren’t going to go out,’ I said, ‘But if they do, there will be bodies strewn in the parking lot for the people who are responsible for the lights going out, because that’s the way we handle matters in New Jersey.’”

Christie told the story to an audience gathered at a church in Moonachie for an event to commemorate the anniversary of Superstorm Sandy, attended by Goodell, New York Jets owner Woody Johnson and Super Bowl Host Committee CEO Al Kelly.

The NFL Foundation and the committee have jointly donated $1 million to a series of projects to help New Jersey recover from the storm.

“That story is absolutely true,” Goodell said. “He was standing right here when the lights went out, right next to me. And I think he stepped out and he made a phone call to the head of the public utilities here and made sure that’s not going to happen this year.”

Christie and Goodell got big laughs from the crowd, but Kelly confirmed afterward that Gov. Christie was dead serious about preventing another blackout.

“The reality is that ever since we came back from New Orleans, power has moved up the list of things we’re paying attention to,” Kelly said. “And we’ve got a lot of experts in helping us, we’re doing reviews of equipment, we’re building in redundancy, we’re doing lots of testing, we’re trying to beef up security.”

In 2010, the lights went out in MetLife Stadium, then known as the New Meadowlands, during a game between the New York Giants and Dallas Cowboys, and the lights stayed out as the power system rebooted. There will be a briefing on the specific upgrades to the system as the Super Bowl approaches, but Kelly said the reason for that blackout has been addressed.

“When things go wrong it’s important not only that you fix it but you learn from it,” Kelly said.

In the New York region, which experienced the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, and has seen several more plots foiled in the years since, disruptions like that can evoke larger fears.

“I think that’s why certainly a big part of the security plan now is to make sure that our sources related to power are secure as well,” Kelly said. “And try to make sure anyone who wants to cause trouble on any aspect of the game, including power, isn’t able to do it.”

Kelly and Christie can’t do much to assure ticket-holders of sunshine on Feb. 2, but ensuring the reliability and security of the power grid is something that they can address.

And if not, now we know how they handle matters in New Jersey.

Come back daily for more on the issues, logistics and personalities surrounding Super Bowl XLVIII.