A blimp-less Super Bowl this year

The MetLife blimp flies high over the golf The MetLife blimp flies high over the golf course during the third round of the Phoenix Open golf tournament in Scottsdale, Ariz. (Feb. 4, 2012) Photo Credit: AP

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Toboggan ride, outdoor concerts, maybe even a few celebrities.

If you spend some time walking down Broadwa… err… Super Bowl Boulevard in Manhattan this week, you’re bound to see a lot. But there is something that’s synonymous with the big game that you’re certain to not see anywhere near New York City this week: Blimps!

Executives at leading blimp companies such as Goodyear and MetLife say it’s far too challenging to fly a blimp in this type of cold, damp and potentially snowy weather, so you could say these bloated aircrafts have already been ruled inactive.

“The concern really is freezing rain and snow and its accumulation on the airship,” Goodyear spokesman Doug Grassian said. “The additional weight can significantly change the flight characteristics of the airship and creates an unsafe scenario.”

For decades, Goodyear has provided aerial coverage of the events surrounding the big game, contracting with various television outlets such as ESPN.

Not this year.

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Grassian said their two blimps are currently floating around California and Florida, having most recently spent time in the air above the Farmers Open PGA Tour event in San Diego and the recent Miami Heat games over the weekend.

A company such as MetLife, with its name already on the Giants’ and Jets’ stadium, would have loved to have its two blimps around Manhattan this week, considering how connected its brand is to the first cold-weather Super Bowl in NFL history.

But spokesman Shane Winn said they’ve known since the game was announced that flying a blimp around the Super Bowl wasn’t a reality.

“It’s all the stuff that surrounds cold weather, the conditions that happen to make snow, ice, even rain,” he said. “All of those things add to the risk of flying because they can add considerable weight to the airships. It makes flights treacherous.”

The MetLife blimps typically head south in November every year, he said.

“They’re not up here,” he said. “If MetLife could put its blimp up in the air here during Super Bowl week here in New York and New Jersey, we would do it.”
 

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