- Mike Mazzeo, ESPN Staff Writer
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NEW YORK -- On a 24-degree day in Manhattan that felt a lot colder because of the wind, NFL commissioner Roger Goodell said the league is "thrilled" that next year's Super Bowl is being hosted in the New York region, while adding that they'll be "prepared" in the event of harsh weather conditions.
"We made this decision (to play the game here), obviously not knowing what the weather would be, but football is made to be played in the elements," Goodell said Thursday during a news conference at City Hall, adding that temperatures are forecast to be about 50 degrees next week.
"We're gonna celebrate the game here. We're gonna celebrate the weather here. We're gonna make it a great experience," he said.
Super Bowl XLVIII, which will be played Feb. 2, 2014, at MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, N.J., will be the first Super Bowl played outdoors in a cold-weather region.
"Wait a second, let me just get this straight, the weather, whatever it is, is gonna be the same on both ends of the stadium, right?" New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg said. "And in any case, they swap ends, in case it isn't.
"I grew up in a world ... the best game I ever went to ... I was 16 years old, it was a long time ago, folks, but I really do remember it was the Colts-Giants at Yankee Stadium (the NFL championship game in 1958).
"I went to a lot of Giants games at Yankee Stadium. Sometimes it was cold. Sometimes it wasn't. But football is a game -- I've always thought -- I grew up in a world where it was played outdoors in the real weather. It's one of those things that makes it special."
Bloomberg also isn't concerned about logistical issues such as transportation.
"This is not something we're gonna do for the first time," he said. "That stadium fills up every Sunday for three to four months. This is not any different. The mass transit system can handle it.
"New York is capable of handling big events."
Goodell and Bloomberg also announced an overview of plans and events leading up to the game, highlighted by the creation of a "Super Bowl Boulevard," a massive fan event with free admission in midtown Manhattan that will take place from Jan. 29 to Feb. 1. Fans will be able to see the Vince Lombardi Trophy, catch nightly concerts and check out NFL-themed exhibits.
The NFC team will work out at the Giants' practice facility in East Rutherford, N.J., while the AFC team will practice at the Jets' facility in Florham Park, N.J. Both teams will stay at hotels in New Jersey.
One study projected that the economic impact to the region would add $550 million to $600 million.
Mike Mazzeo is a regular contributor to ESPNNewYork.com.
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