Well, folks, it’s Sunday and that means Super Bowl week is officially upon us. It’s a busy week for the sports media, even small bloggers like myself, in keeping up with the whirlwind that ensues. For many, it’s the most fun week of the year, coming to a climax with the world’s biggest game. For the NFL and Roger Goddell, it may become at nightmare.
If you haven’t heard, which means you’re living under a rock or are just too concerned with the collapse of Justin Bieber’s career, Super Bowl XLVIII is being played up north this year. I remember at the beginning of the season everyone I knew was saying What are they thinking? With the game a mere seven days away, people are now saying What WERE they thinking? Aside from the replacement refs and the current concussion debacle, this could end up being football’s biggest mistake yet.
There are several reasons The Meadowlands may have been the wrong choice for the Super Bowl. The weather is the clear and obvious choice for reason numero uno. However, the one decision that was the deciding factor is clear: the almighty dollar. The Super Bowl is the World’s Biggest Game, and New York is certainly the biggest stage to play it on. The money the NFL, New York and New Jersey can profit from a Super Bowl if, and only if, it goes well will probably be enough to build the Statue of Liberty a boyfriend. That money won’t be worth jack if you blow the greatest game on earth. Seriously, think about it. The only event that compares, and perhaps surpasses the Super Bowl, is the World Cup. The last World Cup Final in 2010 had 619.7 million viewers, whereas last years Super Bowl had 108.41 million. However, The World Cup involves every major country in the WORLD and it’s viewers wait four full years to watch it. The Super Bowl is solely an American game, yet is still broadcast in 232 countries. Corporations spend up to $4 million for a 30 second spot in between drives whereas a World Cup commercial caps out at about $450,000. The average pay day for the World Cup has been just north of $100 million. The Super Bowl? The big game has an average yield of $379 million. Every bar and restaurant, not just Irish and English pubs and sports bars, are going to have some sort of promotion going on. And the parties across the nation will seem endless.
So, why would you schedule a Super Bowl in winter time in New Jersey knowing that the weather will be the real 12th man? It is supposed to be cold with highs between 35-40 and the lows that may hit 20. If you have ever been in MetLife Stadium, you know that once the winds start swirling, 20 degrees feels like 0. There is a 30% chance of freezing rain or snow, and NFL Executive Vice President Eric Grubman has announced the Super Bowl may be played anywhere from Friday to Monday.
Huh? Did I just type that? Super Bowl Sunday may be Super Bowl Friday. IT DOESN’T EVEN SOUND RIGHT!!! Why would you put all this money, all these fans, all these schedules at risk?
Maybe one thought (and the word thought is used loosely here, because it doesn’t appear many brain cells were used in this decision) was that this is how the NFL Championships used to be played. The 1958 NFL Championship Game has earned the nickname “The Greatest Game Ever Played” and that was successfully played in Yankee Stadium, but that was an extremely different NFL. Those were the games that defenses controlled, where the hard-nosed players were allowed to hit, the era where the old adage Defense wins championships comes from.
Today’s NFL is different. We want offense. It’s a passing game these days, and if you are lucky enough to have a feature running back, you want to see him explode. Want proof? Let’s compare this Super Bowl’s elite to that 1958 game. The 1958 Championship pitted the Colts versus the Giants. The quarterback was a one Johnny Unitas, whom many consider one of the greatest to ever play the game. He threw for 2000 yards with 19 touchdowns that year and a 90 QB Rating. I know, the seasons were shorter, but if you take his averages and extend it to a 16 game season, he throws for 3200 yards and 27 touchdowns. Now, take the guy who had to live in Unitas’s shadow for all those years, Peyton Manning. This year he threw for a record 5,477 yards, a record 55 touchdowns, and a 115 QB Rating. Want more? (Of course you do, you thirst for it!) Frank Gifford was the Giants running back in that game, and he was considered one of the premier backs in the NFL. That year, Gifford ran for 468 yards and 8 touchdowns while tacking on 330 yards receiving and 2 more TDs. Marshawn Lynch, aka Beast Mode, aka Yum Yum Give Me Some Skittles, aka one of the top backs in the game, ran for 1257 yards and 12 TDs while adding on 316 yards through the air with 2 more TDs.
So why would you put these type of players in brutal weather conditions? The Super Bowl is being watched by thousands of people who don’t really care about football or are from other countries and want to see what all the hub bub is about. It is the ultimate billboard for the NFL. It is in my mind that we should then want to see the very best of what the NFL has to offer. I want to see Manning go off for 400 yards and 4 TDs on Sunday (or Friday, or Monday). So does everyone else except Seahawks fans. I also want to see Beast Mode rampage all 11 Bronco defenders all day long, and so does everyone else except Bronco fans. In the snow and cold, we won’t see that. We will see a lot of three and outs, and it will be a defensive stronghold, which is a huge advantage for Seattle because they are hands down the best in the business.
I get it the whole it’s football weather mindset, but that’s why we have the NFC North. That’s what makes Pittsburgh legendary. That’s why we watch the Patriots zamboni FGs for Vinatieri. But then, when those teams ravage through those tough conditions, they are rewarded by playing a Super Bowl in sunny San Diego or inside a dome where there is no weather at all.
Never mind the hypocrisy of the NFL preaching for player safety and then wanting an 18 game season. Forget about the fact that a league so concerned with the health of its players is possibly adding a team to the playoffs and prolonging their season (all because Jerry loses out on the playoffs in the last game of every season, but that’s another rant!). If you really want to go traditional like that 1958 Championship, if you really want to play in football weather, then you are truly putting our greatest players at injury risk and reversing every last thing the players union and lawsuits have been fighting. While there is no guarantee that injuries are less abundant in warmer weather than colder weather, it just seems that purposely placing the NFLs best in even the slightest possibility of treacherous conditions is a bit silly from a sport that is evolving into a player-safe league.
I need to cool off. We have a busy week in store. Keep an eye out for my Super Bowl predictions and a little bit more on Peyton’s greatness. And don’t forget to check in with my daily rants at @UofDWayne in the Twitterverse. Till next time, hopefully my internet won’t freeze over.