This is Diana Nyad for KCRW, and this is The Score.
The announcement of future Super Bowl locales is usually pretty ho-hum. Miami again. New Orleans again. Maybe San Diego. Maybe Pasadena. But when the new Meadowlands Stadium in East Rutherford, New Jersey, won the bid for Super Bowl 2014 this week, bloggers feverishly took to their keyboards.
Mainly, it's been a rousing hoorah for the age-old tradition and thrill of football in weather. It's true. The iconic gridiron photos are the old Green Bay Packers, breath visible in the air above a frozen Lambeau Field. One of my all-time favorite images is Pittsburgh Steeler Steve Courson, jaw set, eyes grimacing against the sub-zero temperature, powering his way downfield with a flurry of snowflakes blanketing the scene. The Bears. The Lions. The Vikings. The Giants. The Eagles. It's the cold weather teams that have always spoken the soul of the game. It's those tougher than tough linemen who refuse to stoop to sleeves and play the entire game skin exposed in numbing cold that embody football.
Rather inexplicably, for a $1.5 billion stadium just across the river from the king of all sports markets, New York City, the new Meadowlands Stadium will not have a roof. Both the Giants and the Jets will call this state-of-the-art building home starting this season. High-def screens on virtually every available wall space, concessions delectably above typical sports stadium fare. The new Cowboys Stadium, host to this upcoming season's Super Bowl, boasts a retractable roof even in Dallas' not-so-cruel winter, yet there's no roof on the Giants/Jets brand-new billion plus dollar stadium? No roof in New Jersey in February for the Super Bowl? The manly, poetic weather factor works for one football game. But have all these bloggers really forgotten that the Super Bowl is not one football game?
The Super Bowl is not officially, but might as well be, declared a national holiday in this country. This past season's edition even broke the seemingly unbreakable all-time audience record that the finale of MASH held for nearly thirty years. 106.5 million people tuned in to Super Bowl Forty Four. The biggest names in pop culture have performed at half time. After Thanksgiving, it's the biggest day in America for food consumption. Thousands of fans who don't have a prayer of landing a ticket get to town for a week-long party, gathering past and current players' autographs, sighting celebrities of all sorts as they stroll the streets giddy on a Super Bowl high.
Well Super Bowl Forty Eight, the 60 minutes of the game itself anyway, could be a classic thriller in a blizzard. But who's going to rock to the half-time show, in a blizzard? What performer's going to rush to that experience? Where will that week-long crowd bond all week, in early February God-awful winter? Wandering the vast network of New York City's streets? In smaller cities such as New Orleans, it's easy to identify fellow Super Bowl enthusiasts. They own the city that week. Not going to happen in the Big Apple.
And what about you? Are you with me on this…wintry football great stuff, wintry Super Bowl a bone-headed decision? Weigh in at KCRW.com/TheScore, will you?
This is Diana Nyad for KCRW, and that's The Score.
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