Cumberland Times-News

Local Sports

February 13, 2013

NFL vows to be prepared for Super Bowl in New Jersey

NEW YORK — Super Bowl Monday. Super Bowl Wednesday.

Surely that sounds better than Super Bowl PPD.

The NFL says it's ready for next year's title game at MetLife Stadium in New Jersey on Feb. 2, no matter the weather. Even if it means moving the game from its traditional Sunday spot.

Concerns about contingencies arose recently for two reasons: Next year's Super Bowl will be outdoors at a cold-weather site for the first time and the Northeast is still recovering from a monster snowstorm that hit last weekend; the lights went out in the Louisiana Superdome during the Feb. 3 game, causing a 34-minute delay and some anxiety about whether it would resume.

Several published reports said the NFL has discussed changing the day of the game if weather complications arise. NFL spokesman Brian McCarthy wouldn't offer specifics, but said Wednesday the league will make whatever changes are necessary.

"We have had contingency plans for the previous 47 Super Bowls," McCarthy said. 'We expect to play all games, including the Super Bowl, as planned. ... We will be prepared if we have to make adjustments."

The date of the Super Bowl has never been changed. But plenty of regular-season games have because of weather. When the Metrodome roof collapsed after a snowstorm in 2010, dates and sites changed for several Minnesota Vikings home games.

Changing the date of a Super Bowl could be dicey. If a blizzard hit on a Saturday, the day before the game, it might be possible to move it to the following Tuesday, allowing time to dig out roads and parking lots. If a storm was forecast for Super Bowl night, then perhaps playing Saturday would be an option. Compounding this would be travel, hotel and broadcast concerns.

"The main objective of the NFL and the Host Committee is to be prepared for any and everything, with regard to weather," Al Kelly, president of the NY/NJ Super Bowl Host Committee, said in a statement. "We have been planning for all possibilities and are creating various contingency plans to deal with each potential situation."

Kelly also said the current snow cleanup effort is being upgraded to make sure the stadium crew is ready for anything.

"MetLife Stadium has excellent snow clearing procedures," Kelly said. "Both states — New York and New Jersey - and New York City have strong track records preparing for and handling adverse weather conditions and we have every confidence that we will be prepared."

NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell has said the league will be able to deal with whatever weather emergencies might arise.

"We will be prepared for the weather factors, and this community can do that," Goodell said in his state of the NFL news conference in New Orleans on Feb. 1. "But the game of football is made to be played in the elements. Now we hope they're not extreme on one hand, but we'll be prepared for that if that's the case."

The National Weather Service said the average high in nearby Newark, N.J., on Feb. 2 is 39.8 degrees and the low is 24.2. The average precipitation on that date going back to 1931 is about one-eighth of an inch.

The only significant precipitation during a Super Bowl came in February 2007 at Miami. Playing in a rainstorm, Indianapolis and Chicago committed four turnovers in the first quarter.

The record low for a Super Bowl kickoff is 39 degrees when Dallas beat Miami in January 1972 at Tulane Stadium in New Orleans.

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