Tuesday, May 25, 2010
Updated: May 26, 9:33 AM ET
NY/NJ has it down cold as XLVIII host
By Rich Cimini
IRVING, Texas -- If you build it, they will come -- wearing winter coats.
The New Meadowlands Stadium, the $1.6 billion jewel co-owned by the New York Giants and Jets, will host the 2014 Super Bowl, NFL commissioner Roger Goodell announced Tuesday afternoon at the league's spring meeting.
"It's a historic moment for the league," Goodell said.
Saying that New York is a unique market, Goodell added: "It will be a great experience for our fans. It will be a great experience for the NFL."
The league's 32 owners, undaunted by the prospect of a wintry championship game, awarded Super Bowl XLVIII to the New York/New Jersey region after also considering bids from Tampa and South Florida, both traditional sites. South Florida and Tampa have hosted the Super Bowl 10 and four times, respectively.
It took four rounds of secret balloting to determine the host. New York/New Jersey won by a simple majority over Tampa. South Florida was eliminated after the second ballot.
The official tag line of the New York/New Jersey bid was "Make Some History," and it did. It will be the first open-air stadium in a cold-weather region to host a Super Bowl. In their presentation to the membership, the Jets and Giants reps showed a video that included clips from historic cold-weather games, including Adam Vinatieri's forever field goal for the Patriots in the 2001 divisional playoffs in Foxborough, Mass. -- aka "The Snow Bowl" and "The Tuck Rule Game."
"An old-school matchup in a new-school stadium," the voice-over says.
There could be a record-low temperature at kickoff. The current record is 39 degrees in 1972 at Tulane Stadium in New Orleans, and that would be considered a warm February day in East Rutherford, N.J.
There's never been snow in a Super Bowl game and that could happen, too.
"Obviously it will be cold, but that's what playing football is all about," Giants quarterback Eli Manning told Fox News Channel's "Studio B with Shepard Smith." "I've been in the Super Bowl and I've been to a couple of Super Bowls and if you're not in it, the Super Bowl is an event and it's kinda a place to be and there's no better place to be than New York City for that vibe and that atmosphere."
The average temperature range for the Meadowlands area during February is 24 to 40 degrees, with several inches of rain, according to the bid documents. Remember, the game kicks off after sunset in the Eastern time zone, so temperatures would be dropping throughout the night.
Planners have factored it all in. They're plotting giveaways to warm hands and seats, having hundreds of folks ready to shovel away snow and anything else they can do to make the experience more than just bearable.
Jets owner Woody Johnson cracked, "I like doing things for the first time ... I hope it snows."
It could be the last cold play for a long time, as the league made this a onetime exemption to its 50-degree rule.
"People talk about the weather, but, you know, this is football, not beach volleyball," New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg told the NFL Network. He said his city welcomed the chance to host its share of a worldwide event and noted the Sept. 11 attacks.
"America came to the rescue of New York, and that's something I think that New Yorkers have never forgotten," Bloomberg said. "This is a little bit of our chance to say thank you."
Meadowlands CEO Mark Lamping told the owners, via the NFL Network, "This region has hosted every big event -- except the Super Bowl." Lamping described their plans to integrate the Super Bowl into the Macy's Thanksgiving Day parade and Fashion Week.
Organizers expect the 2014 Super Bowl to generate approximately $550 million for the local economy. While there will be no direct financial benefit to the two local teams, the Super Bowl will help the Giants and Jets sell the naming rights to the stadium. That could be worth an estimated $500 million.
The two teams will have access to 109 of the 219 club suites in the 82,500-seat stadium, and those will be distributed to their suite holders. But the money goes directly to the league. The Giants and Jets will split 6.2 percent of the overall ticket allotment. Because two teams are hosting, more hometown fans than usual will be left in the cold. Typically, the host city gets 5 percent.
Johnson wasted no time in raising the possibility of a Jets-Giants showdown in four years.
"We'll try to be in that Super Bowl together," he said, then turned to Giants co-owner Jonathan Tisch. "Am I right?"
Giants co-owner John Mara thanked his fellow owners "for having the guts to want to make some history."
He credited Johnson for hatching the idea in 2005, when the two teams agreed to share the new stadium.
"Woody started pushing the idea about four years ago, and he was absolutely relentless," Mara said.
Johnson said: "I was born in New Brunswick, N.J. To be a Jersey boy and to bring something like this -- to be involved in something this big -- is a tremendous thing for all the people that live in our area."
There are three possible dates for the game in 2014 -- Feb. 2, 9, 16. It depends on the structure of the 2013 season.
Before it gets to the Meadowlands, the Super Bowl will be held in Dallas (2011), Indianapolis (2012) and New Orleans (2013).
Washington Redskins owner Dan Snyder indicated he'd like the event in his 90,000-seat stadium as well.
"It's great," he said. "But it's warmer I Washington DC and you can quote me on that"
Said Dallas Cowboys' owner Jerry Jones: "Because it's the Giants and the Jets and New York, I can reconsile it. We can have that game decided by the ways the teams could get there -- in the elements. I think the fact we have such a great fan base there makes it work."
"I think it's a unique idea," said New Orleans Saints owner Tom Benson. "New York is a unique place. That's what it's all about."
The Tampa organizers, in their presentation, used Tampa-area resident Dick Vitale of ESPN to extol the virtues of his adopted hometown.
"Vote for Tampa, bay-bee!" he implored in the video.
Vitale was born and raised in New Jersey, mere minutes from the new Meadowlands Stadium.
Tampa officials said they were informed they finished a very close second to New York, but said they were not given an official tally of the vote.
"Under normal circumstances, we probably would have walked away with the trophy," said Sandy MacKinnon of the Tampa Bay Super Bowl bid committee. "But the NFL was interested in making history with New York City and a new stadium. I think the odds were stacked against the traditional sunshine climate."
Although Goodell has been viewed by some as steering the Super Bowl to New York, Tampa Bay Buccaneers co-chairman Bryan Glazer said he's not pointing fingers.
"We gave New York a good fight," Glazer said. "I congratulate New York on their efforts and wish them a great Super Bowl.
"This has gotten us well-positioned for getting another Super Bowl in Tampa. The Tampa Bay area is a great area for the Super Bowl and the owners know it."
Glazer said Tampa Bay officials likely will bid for the 2015 or 2016 Super Bowl, but no final decision has been made.
Mara tried to imagine how his late father, Wellington Mara, might have reacted to New York getting the Super Bowl.
"I think he would've thought we've come a long way since the Polo Grounds in 1925," Mara said in an NFL Network interview immediately after the announcement.
Rich Cimini covers the NFL for ESPNNewYork.com. Follow him on Twitter. Information from ESPN.com senior writer John Clayton and The Associated Press was used in this report.
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