So what if Super Bowl XXVIII is played in a winter wonderland at MetLife Stadium? That's football!
NEW YORK – Put me down as liking that a Super Bowl could be played in wintry conditions.
I've covered the last 32 NFL title games. That means I've been able to get away from the cold and snow typically found this time of year in Cleveland and my previous home of Buffalo, N.Y., to spend a week in places such as Miami and Tampa and San Diego and New Orleans.
Yes, the climate change made for a very nice break that I enjoyed as much as anyone.
And that, for the most part, has been the whole point of staging the biggest game of them all in warm places. For the many high-roller, corporate-sponsor types who comprise a significant portion of attendees, it offers the chance to have some fun in the sun in the days leading up to kickoff.
The Super Bowl is all about the parties. The game matters, but from the very beginning, the extracurricular activity has always been a huge part of the experience and a major reason why it so often has ended up where no one needs shovels this time of year.
The NFL has, on multiple occasions, put the Super Bowl in cold-weather cities (Indianapolis, Detroit and Minneapolis) and cities ambushed by uncharacteristically wintry conditions during Super Bowl Week (Dallas and Atlanta), but the games were all played indoors. One exception was New Orleans, before the Superdome was built.
In all cases, the idea was to keep the action and those watching as dry and as comfortable as possible.
On Sunday, when the Denver Broncos take on the Seattle Seahawks in Super Bowl XXVIII, comfort will take a back seat to the simple idea of football being played the way it is often played in a roofless stadium in December and January in the Northeast and Midwest.
Still, the idea of having some level of unpleasantness from Mother Nature at MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, N.J., has bothered a number of people who follow the NFL.
I've read and heard complaints from media and from some prominent former coaches in the league, mainly citing that weather should be no factor in deciding the outcome of a game that decides who goes home with the Vince Lombardi Trophy.
"I certainly believe that when you get to a game of that magnitude, you want to play it in conditions where weather won't be or might not be something that affects the outcome," Don Shula, a member of the Pro Football hall of Fame and the winningest coach in NFL history, told SiriusXM NFL Radio. "So that's why I think Miami, New Orleans, San Diego, all those warm-weather cities are the best cities for a game of that magnitude."
Added Mike Ditka, another Hall-of-Famer, "You're not going to be able to perform at near the level you're used to. And the element of luck comes into it, and it shouldn't happen in that game. That game should be based on the people on the field who make the plays."
Interesting perspectives from a couple of old-school guys, but both did win Super Bowls in pristine conditions.
I respectfully disagree with them.
Football was meant to be played in virtually all climates. It was born in the wind and the rain and the mud. Its staggering growth in popularity wasn't dependent upon those Super Bowls being played in perfect weather.
If weather can be a factor in the games that determine which teams to play for the Lombardi Trophy, why shouldn't it be a factor in the biggest game of them all?
Regardless, people will find a way to have a good time, just as they always do. And they're going to watch … even the ones who would rather see palm trees swaying in the background.
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