Last year's Super Bowl took place in New Orleans in the Superdome, an indoor stadium in a location where the temperatures are generally pleasant this time of year. Fast forward to February 2, 2014, where the NFC and AFC champions will square off in Super Bowl XLVIII at MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, New Jersey. Is this crazy or a wonderful idea? We will find out in 2 1/2 weeks. As of today, AccuWeather is predicting a low of 24 degrees and a high of 37 degrees, with a chance of snow showers. That would be mild compared to the Winter Classic NHL game that took place in Michigan on New Year's Day, with temperatures in the teens and snow falling.
As a long-time New Jersey resident and native of NYC, I think it's a little of both. If you search online, you will find numerous references to the 1958 NFL championship game as the greatest game ever played. It was held at Yankee Stadium, with the Baltimore Colts defeating the New York Giants in overtime. There were numerous future Hall of Famers playing in the game or on the sidelines. The Giants' coaching staff included Offensive Coordinator Vince Lombardi and Defensive Coordinator Tom Landry.
Winters in the metropolitan New York City area are predictably unpredictable. In late October 2011, we had a major snowstorm, but that was followed by a relatively dry Winter with moderate temperatures. Exactly a year later in 2012, Hurricane Sandy destroyed many coastal communities in New Jersey and New York, many of which are still trying to recover. This Winter, we have had some snow and a few very frigid days.
Rumor has it that the AFC team will practice in the Jets' training facility a few miles from home. The NFC team will practice in the Giants' facility at MetLife Stadium, a few more miles away, but in a different direction. For a couple of weeks, some of New Jersey's great cultural institutions and restaurants probably will see some of their busiest days. Hotels assuredly will be overpriced. If you are heading to the Garden State or across the Hudson River in the Big Apple that weekend, here is a sampling of the top prices at hotels.com:
1 star - $300
2 stars - $840
3 stars - $1,000
4 stars - $1,799
5 stars - $1,611
Within a short driving distance of MetLife Stadium are some wonderful places to visit: New Jersey Performing Arts Center (NJPAC) in Newark, Thomas Edison National Historic Park in West Orange, Eagle Rock Reservation (also in West Orange, it has an incredible panoramic view of New York City and also has a beautiful 9/11 memorial), the Liberty Science Center in Jersey City (near which you can hop aboard a ferry to the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island), the Yogi Berra Museum & Learning Center in Little Falls, the Great Swamp in Chatham, George Washington's Headquarters at the Ford Mansion in Morristown, and so much more. Despite what you might have heard, New Jersey is not just refineries and "which exit". Our State's diverse population (not to mention restaurants) truly reflects the melting pot ideal that defines the United States.
So whatever the weather may be on Groundhog's Day, it should be a very exciting time for New Jersey to welcome the world - a crazy, wonderful idea to host Super Bowl XLVIII.