No one will contest the fact that we have experienced a cold winter up to now. Cold weather tends to drive people indoors and keeps them away from movies, restaurants and a variety of places. But there’s a small and hardy group out there that is determined to attend sports events. For members of that group, my best advice is be careful what you wish for.
The cold-weather buffs started out their pre-Super Bowl festivities by attending two hockey games at Yankee Stadium. The week of sports will be capped by the Super Bowl on Sunday. So if the numbers stand up, some 180,000 daring souls will have been witness to three flesh-numbing events.
Is this week of special events the beginning or the end of outdoor challenges? If you follow what they call “owner politics,” there are many years of below-freezing events coming. It was no fluke that New Jersey was able to land a Super Bowl. In the National Football League, there’s a lot of behind-the-scenes jockeying for the distinction of hosting a Super Bowl. Even if the host city isn’t capable of handling a large crowd, the owners scratch one another’s backs.
A good example was the 2005 Super Bowl, held in Jacksonville, Fla. The Jacksonville Jaguars’ owners had just made multi-million-dollar renovations to their stadium, and convinced their fellow owners to hold the event in their town. By all accounts — and I was there — the city was totally unprepared for such a massive undertaking. Due to a lack of hotel rooms, the city had to bring in major cruise ships to house visitors and guests. Restaurants couldn’t handle the crowds, and almost everyone agreed that the choice of that Florida city for a world-famous happening was a major mistake.
The decision to hold a Super Bowl in New Jersey was no accident. Once MetLife Stadium became a reality, the two powerful franchise owners Jon Tisch and Woody Johnson were anxious to have the big event on their home turf. Despite the fact that outdoor events are subject to totally unpredictable weather, owner politics rule. So New Jersey is the site of the Super Bowl, but is this the end of outdoor classic events? I doubt it.