As the prospect of a cold-weather Super Bowl becomes less abstract and more real, the league could find itself in a real bind if a major winter storm hits New York/New Jersey in early February.
And if on February 2 Parsippany Phil can’t see his shadow because he can’t get out of his burrow because it’s buried under two feet of snow, the league has a plan in place.
According to Gary Myers of the New York Daily News, the NFL is prepared to reschedule the game.
“[I]f it’s necessary due to matters of public safety or there are impracticalities, then rescheduling scenarios have to be considered,” executive V.P. of events Frank Supovitz said Wednesday. “Saturday would be as early as we would consider at this point. We have contingencies that take us into Monday and Tuesday.”
As a worst-case, last-ditch plan, the game would be shifted to the following weekend, which also happens to be the first weekend of the Olympics.
“There are postponement scenarios or rescheduling scenarios for 256 regular-season games each year. Same thing for Super Bowls since the beginning of Super Bowls. We’ve had those in place,” Supovitz said, via Myers. “The fact is we’ve been in cold weather cities before, we’ve been in situations where snow has fallen ahead of the Super Bowl.”
He’s right, but the Super Bowl always has been played in a dome when the Super Bowl has been played in cold-weather cities. For Super Bowl XLVIII, there’s a chance the same kind of storm that prompted the NFL in December 2010 to move a game between the Vikings and Eagles from Sunday night to Thursday night, prompting former Pennsylvania Governor Ed Rendell to declare that America has become a “nation of wusses.”
That development prompted yours truly to ask the NFL if the blizzard from three years ago would prompt any second-guessing of the decision to play a Super Bowl in the elements in early 2014.
“No,” NFL spokesman Greg Aiello said at the time. “We are the ultimate reality show.”
Aiello said Thursday via email that the NFL will make any necessary decisions regarding Super Bowl XLVIII based on the circumstances that may arise.
Still, with hotel prices jacked up and ticket prices already exorbitant, delaying the date of a Super Bowl creates all sorts of inconveniences and expenses for folks who plan to attend. While a certain amount of “buyer beware” applies to anyone who buys tickets to any open-air event in a place where “four seasons” means something other than a musical group fronted by a small Italian man with a piercing falsetto, attending a Super Bowl entails an extreme investment of financial resources.
The mere possibility that weather could compel a rescheduling of the game suggests that maybe the game shouldn’t have been scheduled for a place where it may need to be rescheduled.