Like it or not, snow, cold will make Super Bowl more intriguing
The Super Bowl will be cold, and snowflakes may fall, and there seem to be two opinions on this. One is that it would be an embarrassment to the NFL, to commissioner Roger Goodell, and to every loyal and proud American who has ever voted in an election, or at least thought about it. Then there is my view, which is:
Come on, people. What is the big deal here? Have we really gotten this soft? Do we just like to whine? I've heard the arguments for why a snowy Super Bowl would be a disaster, and I wouldn't trade a Ryan Leaf rookie card for any of them.
1. It will ruin the game.
Snow does not ruin football games. It changes them, but usually for the better. The game becomes more visually appealing. The players usually have fun with it. It is another challenge for everybody, especially cornerbacks, who have to backpedal and turn on a slippery surface. Snow means Seattle's Richard Sherman could slip and end up on his butt, watching the receiver he is covering sashay into the end zone, at which point the receiver will hopefully pull out a phone and FaceTime with Michael Crabtree.
Weather and field conditions are a factor in every football game. Some fields are sloppy and others are fast. There is no standard condition for an NFL game. When you play the Saints in the Superdome, you understand that the fast track and windless environment helps Drew Brees and his receivers.
Peyton Manning earned his only Super Bowl ring in a rainstorm. I have filed that away in case I decide to write a disingenuous column about his "legacy" next week and I need another illogical criticism ("Tom Brady never needed the rain to win a Super Bowl!") but Manning gets to keep the ring, doesn't he? This is a football game, not a computer program. Weather is part of the deal.
2. Snow would provide somebody with an unfair competitive advantage.
I suppose this is possible, though I don't know which team would benefit. The Broncos play in a colder city, but we've been told that Manning turns human in bad weather.
The real problem with this argument is that, while bad weather is rarely a major factor in Super Bowls, it is often a factor in determining the Super Bowl champion. That is because pretty much every year, some playoff games are played in lousy weather.
Did you see the Packers-49ers playoff game on wild-card weekend? The temperature was four degrees, the wind-chill was negative-14, and it generally felt colder than A-Rod's heart. This is why Walt Disney's original dream of building Disney World in Green Bay never quite took off.
Well, the Packers were 8-7-1 this season. The 49ers were 12-4. The Packers got to host the game because they won the weak NFC North. Essentially, the 49ers got punished three times for playing in Seattle's division: Twice by having to play the Seahawks, and once for being sent on the road because they didn't win the division.
You know what? That's life. The NFL doesn't care. The league wants division races to be as compelling as possible, so it gives division winners a home game they don't always deserve. This is not unique to the NFL. The NBA, NHL and Major League Baseball also reward division winners.
Snow may provide a team with a competitive advantage, but it would not be an unfair competitive advantage. It would mean that one team adjusted to the snow better than the other one did.
3. It's not fair to people who paid thousands of dollars to attend.
Really? Does the ticket say "Phoenix" on it?
Look, I'm a professional sportswriter, so I go to games for free. Actually, that's a lie. I get paid to go. I know, I know. It's disgusting and you should hate me. Anyway, the point is, if anybody would be reluctant to overpay for a sporting event, it is me.
But if you bought tickets for a Super Bowl in New Jersey, you had to figure out, at some point along the way, that the Super Bowl is in New Jersey. And since the Super Bowl is, once again, NOT IN JULY, you should have realized that it might be cold, it might snow, and you might need more than your normal allotment of hot chocolate.
If this is still stunning news to you, then I have two words: Stub and Hub. As of this typing, the cheapest ticket on Stubhub.com is more than $2,400. You can always sell your tickets for a profit and watch on TV.
That, of course, is what almost everybody else will do: Watch on TV. This means you may see snow on your television set. I don't think it will give you frostbite.