NFL officials are ready for all contingencies related to Super Bowl XLVIII at MetLife Stadium. Even if it means staging the game on a different day. Possibly even a different week.
Although every Giants and Jets game has been played as scheduled at MetLife Stadium and Giants Stadium -- going all the way back to 1976 for the Giants, to 1984 for the Jets -- officials have plans in place for a weather event that could change the day of the game from its scheduled Feb. 2 date.
"There are rescheduling scenarios for 256 regular-season games each year. Same thing for Super Bowls,'' said Frank Supovitz, NFL senior vice president of events. "We've been in cold-weather cities before . . . where snow has fallen ahead of the Super Bowl. It is our objective to kick off the ball at 6:30 on Feb. 2, and we are going to expend every effort to make sure that gets done.''
Yet no Super Bowl has been played outdoors in a cold-weather venue. Supovitz and other Super Bowl officials sought to reassure the public Wednesday at a news conference detailing plans for snow removal. But in a worst-case scenario, the game would be held on a different day. Possibly Saturday, Feb. 1. Or the Monday or Tuesday after the game. Or even the following Sunday.
"There are contingency plans for multiple different days,'' Supovitz said. "There is a potential of a move-up scenario. There's a potential of a move-back scenario."
If fans were forced to rent hotel rooms beyond their expected stay, Supovitz doesn't believe that would be an issue.
"If there is such a cataclysmic event people have to come to the game on Monday, nobody's getting to the hotels,'' he said. "They'd already be booked, and nobody's coming to New York or New Jersey because they won't be able to get here.''
Supovitz even said he'd like to see snow during the game. "I think it'll just make it that much more memorable. Let it snow.''
With snow plows and tractors in the background and a gigantic snow-melting machine ready to tackle a behemoth pile of snow in a MetLife Stadium parking lot, Super Bowl XLVIII organizers tried to reassure the public that everything will be done to stage the game on time and in relative comfort.
Al Kelly, president and CEO of the Super Bowl XLVIII host committee, said the NFL and government agencies have coordinated during the last several months on a plan to deal with a significant weather event.
Brad Mayne, CEO of MetLife Stadium, said last weekend's snow and ice storm was a good test for stadium maintenance crews. He said 6.3 inches of snow and ice were removed before the Seahawks-Giants game began on time at 1 p.m. Sunday.
Giants quarterback Eli Manning, who won't be in this Super Bowl, suggested a postponement would be a bad idea.
"I don't think anybody wants a snowy game,'' he said, "but if that happens, then that's what you deal with and you make the best of it. Just go play it.''
Giants defensive end Justin Tuck was asked about the possibility of inclement weather. "I wouldn't care if it was a monsoon,'' Tuck said. "I'd love playing in the Super Bowl. Now, if you get the opportunity to go to the Super Bowl and you're complaining about weather, I'll take your place.''