Roger Goodell clearly supports awarding Super Bowl XLVIII to the Giants’ and Jets’ new stadium in 2014, and Patriots owner Robert Kraft will lobby other owners for it, but Steelers owner Dan Rooney has a big problem with playing the most important game of the year in potentially cold and nasty weather.
The vote comes May 24-26 in Dallas. The lobbying starts now.
There is really just one concern for a Super Bowl on Broadway: The weather, obviously.
“I hope it’s there, I hope it snows and I hope the Patriots are in the game,” Kraft, one the NFL’s most influential owners, said Friday. “I think there is some real support for it. I know I personally will lobby anyone I can.”
If the Giants and Jets had splurged for another $400 million-$500 million on top of the $1.7 billion they are spending on the new stadium that opens this year, then the vote may have been unanimous because the NFL has a history of rewarding owners who spend their own money and/or cities who help fund the construction of new stadiums with a Super Bowl.
Even though the new Giants-Jets Stadium will have no roof, Goodell gave every indication he’s on board. Even though he doesn’t have a vote and says he must remain neutral, his endorsement may be the deciding factor.
“I think there are real benefits to the league considering this as an option,” Goodell said Friday during his annual state of the league address at the Super Bowl.
“I think the idea of playing in the elements is central to the way the game of football is played. I think being able to do that and celebrate the game of football in the No. 1 market could have tremendous benefits to the league going forward. I think you will see that – I think our two co-chairmen are here, Woody Johnson and Jon Tisch – they will put together a very aggressive bid, one that will demonstrate the value of playing in New York and they will be competing against some great cities also. It will be an interesting vote, but I will stand on the sidelines and watch.”
The NFL waived its cold-weather restriction by allowing the Giants and Jets to make a bid. Allowing it to get this far is an indication there is an awful lot of support. Miami, which is hosting its record 10th Super Bowl Sunday, Glendale, Ariz., and either Tampa or Houston are the competition. Here’s how the voting works. If one of the four cities does not get 75% of the vote (24 of the 32 owners) on the first ballot, then the city with the lowest vote is out. The same procedure is used for the second ballot. Then, if there is still no winner, the two remaining cities go head-to-head, with the winner decided by simple majority. “I’m personally a big supporter of having the Super Bowl in the new stadium and in New York,” Kraft said. “It doesn’t matter what the weather is, in my opinion. It’s just a great place. A great boost for the city.”
The game would be this weekend in four years, or potentially one or two weeks later depending on whether the regular season is expanded to 17 or 18 games. And with this weekend’s forecast for snow, a snowy weekend in 2014 is obviously a possibility.Rooney, who is now the United States ambassador to Ireland, says his son Art has his team’s vote, but he thinks the weather is a major concern. “Are they going to put a roof on it?” Rooney said.
No, he was told.
“Then they are going to have some trouble,” he said. “There are a lot of people who think we should be in a warm climate all the time. The weather would be something you would have to consider.”
But some of the most memorable NFL playoff games have been played in adverse conditions: the Ice Bowl game between Dallas and Green Bay; the Snow Bowl game between Oakland and New England and the Inhumanely Frigid Bowl between the Giants and Packers two years ago in minus-23 wind chill.
All great games. “That is true,” Rooney said. “It’s still cold.”
Rooney wouldn’t say how the Steelers would ultimately vote. One thing to keep in mind: The Rooney and Mara families are extraordinarily close.
“I am cautiously optimistic that the bid will be viewed by the owners as something exciting and different,” Tisch said. “There is an understanding that this is a game that is played in all kinds of weather. It’s the history of the game that should be taken into consideration when you think about the game at the new Giants-Jets stadium.”