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Prospect of Super Bowl Snow Isn't Necessarily a Chilling One

A little snow would beat a lot of wind

Tuesday, Dec 10, 2013  |  Updated 1:05 PM EDT
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Prospect of Super Bowl Snow Isn't a Chilling One

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on December 8, 2013 at Lincoln Financial Field in Philadelphia, Pennslyvania.

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On the night before Super Bowl XL in Detroit, it snowed. It snowed earlier that week, too.

That was the first Super Bowl I covered, and I remember it being cold that week. Of course I do — it was Michigan in winter.

Here’s something I else I remember about Super Bowl XL: they played it indoors at Detroit’s Ford Field, and the Steelers and Seahawks combined for 31 points.

Two years later, I covered Super Bowl XLII in Arizona. I recall this: As I walked to an early-morning press conference at one of the team hotels a few days before the game, someone had built a fire outside. Yes, it’s cold in Arizona in winter, too.

That Super Bowl was played indoors as well. You probably remember that game. In a huge upset, the Giants knocked off the undefeated Patriots 17-14 in Glendale.

The Patriots weren’t supposed to lose to the Giants. Five weeks earlier, they had scored 38 on Big
Blue at the old Giants Stadium on the last Saturday in December. Now, the Patriots had a second shot at the Giants in a climate-controlled environment after two weeks to rest and prepare. Fireworks seemed likely.

Instead, the Patriots’ offense sputtered.

Sometimes, Super Bowls play out like you expect. Other times, they don’t. Either way, it’s a special experience. There is nothing like the NFL’s title game. It is one game to crown a champion of one of the world’s most popular sports. It is scrutinized to excess, but what else is to be expected?

This year, we have another Super Bowl storyline upon which to hyper-focus: the prospect of bad weather for the big game at the outdoor MetLife Stadium on Feb. 2.

On the one hand, recent history tells it probably will be cold on Super Bowl Sunday in East Rutherford, N.J., and there’s a reasonable chance of precipitation.

From 1989-2013, the average temperature on Feb. 2 in nearby Teterboro has been about 33 degrees, with the average wind speed 7.5 miles per hour, according to Weatherunderground.com data. Snow was reported on six of these days, with any sort of precipitation reported 11 times in this span.

On the other hand . . . well, would snow be a bad thing? It’s an eye-of-the-beholder — and the cold ears of the spectators — thing. Some might say that Sunday’s wild and high-scoring games in Philadelphia, Baltimore and Pittsburgh reminded us of the joys of football in the snow. What would be so bad about a Super Bowl on a snow-covered field? Imagine the images on high-definition television.

Anyways, those worried about a wintery Super Bowl shouldn’t fret only about snow; wind would be the bigger concern. Snow can be plowed on Super Bowl Sunday, and surely, the NFL will do everything it can to ensure swift removal of the wet stuff. (Though, as we saw Sunday in Philadelphia, there can be limits to this approach, depending upon the strength of the storm.)

Nevertheless, there is no escaping the bite of the wind. A Super Bowl in which the game was compromised in any way by the wind wouldn’t sit well with some.  

Still, more likely than not, the weather probably won't have a material impact on the game, for weather just doesn’t affect the outcome of many contests. And should it snow, we just won’t know how the teams will handle the conditions until play finally begins after two weeks of intense coverage. But I can tell you this: a Super Bowl indoors does not guarantee a high-scoring Super Bowl.

Your feet do stay pretty warm, however.

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