Neil Best first worked at Newsday in 1982, then returned in 1985. His SportsWatch column debuted in 2005.
Thank you, Joe Flacco, for having the courage to attach precisely the right word to the idea of staging Super Bowl XLVIII in and around Gotham on Feb. 2, 2014.
"It's just kind of a crazy decision, I believe,'' the Ravens quarterback (and New Jersey native) said Tuesday.
This was the day after Flacco had used a far more insensitive adjective regarding the first-ever outdoor Super Bowl in a cold-weather city. But after apologizing, he went with "crazy,'' with which anyone sane would have to agree.
Crazy it is.
As crazy as cramming 20 million humans into a smallish area and expecting them (mostly) to get along, (mostly) to transport themselves efficiently and (always) to fashion the most interesting city in the Western Hemisphere.
Memo to America: Crazy is what we do here every single day -- and better than anyone else, if we do say so ourselves.
Actually, the real concern is the opposite: That unlike in most cities, where the Super Bowl is an all-consuming community extravaganza, it will be swallowed up by New York, a city forever with other things on its mind.
The best thing about all of this is the pure, only-in-New-York adventure of it, something Host Committee CEO Al Kelly wisely has been peddling since he got the job. Yup, this will be something different all right, and that's a good thing.
Football people, journalists and fans privileged to attend Super Bowls in person tend to recall them by where they were located.
Everyone else remembers them for the games themselves, which by design have a certain sameness to them as they appear on television. Quick, name the past three Super Bowl sites! You probably can't, and why should you be able to do it?
But if the weather gods cooperate and the organizers get the light, scenic snow they openly are rooting for, no one will forget where Super Bowl XLVIII was played.
Could the weather thing go all wrong, in the form of a wind-driven, 35-degree rain or sub-zero cold or a crippling blizzard? Sure. But one of the teams will overcome it and win the Lombardi Trophy anyway, preferably the Jets or Giants for those of us who enjoy dramatic enhancement.
Or perhaps a winner as uncommon as the setting will emerge, such as . . . the Lions? Speaking of which, Lions fan Eminem has a lyric nicely suited to this matter: "Life is a crazy ride, and nothing is guaranteed.''
It could always end up being Flacco who hoists the trophy in his home state, at which point what he once deemed "stupid" and "crazy'' will seem like the best idea ever.
Flacco hardly has been the only one in the league whining about the New York/New Jersey Super Bowl during the week leading up to this year's game in New Orleans -- long the favorite site of most Super Bowl regulars.
But the doubters have provided a service in galvanizing the most self-confident metropolitan area in America by putting us in the rare position of feeling like underdogs.
The Giants' Eli Manning, a New Orleans native, said he disagreed with "a lot of things'' about Flacco's comments and added, "I don't think anyone is hoping for a blizzard to come in. But I think it will be unique and different and something new and good for the game.''
OK, so moving people back and forth across the Hudson River might get a tad complicated, but we do that every day of the week.
Hosting swank parties for rich and/or well-connected, well-dressed people even in the late January chill? Um, yeah, not a problem.
Let's not be naïve here. The NFL decided to do this for its own reasons, including the biggest reason anyone gets a 21st century Super Bowl -- as a reward for building a new stadium.
But there are other factors. They include bringing the game to Big Business rather than bringing Big Business to the game, enjoying the massive publicity generated by articles such as this one and even repaying some of a decades-old debt to the Mara family.
If all that leads to less-than-ideal competitive conditions on game day, the league is willing to live with that. So am I.
Let's face it: As powerful a brand as the Super Bowl is, after a half-century, it's gotten a tad stale.
A cold slap in the face is just what it needs.
With Tom Rock