Host committee's Al Kelly on just missing storm: 'It's a nice non-problem'
So, Al Kelly, how about one final weather-related question after years of too many to count: Would Super Bowl XLVIII have been played Sunday if the weather had been what it was Monday?
"It's a nice non-problem," the CEO of the NY/NJ Host Committee said as snow fell on the first day of the four-to-six-month process of unwinding the operation.
The decision would not have been Kelly's in any case, but he and his staff would have had far more complicated lives if not for the good weather luck during Super Bowl week -- luck that ran out within hours of the game's end. "I think my view of this is that Mother Nature is Mother Nature, and she's not going to share her plans with you," he said.
She demonstrated that again Monday.
"If this storm was [Sunday], the views of people and their memories would have been different," Kelly said.
That is not what happened, though, so the week will be recalled for what mostly was a well-received operation, at least for those not inconvenienced by overcrowding on trains on game day.
"We ended up with far less people driving to the game by car and [more] going by train, so we obviously had some delays," he said. "It is not a Host Committee matter, but we care about the entire experience and I think some people were frustrated and I feel badly for people who were frustrated."
Overall, he was pleased with how it unfolded and thanked the league, government and community at large for embracing "not a typical Super Bowl week, but I think, that said, an excellent Super Bowl week."
Kelly said the committee's charitable and community work is what he is most proud of, but he also lauded his staff for hosting four large-scale parties in one week.
He also praised the scene on Super Bowl Boulevard, aka Broadway. "It was just phenomenal amounts of people all seemingly orderly and engaged and having fun, but really a sea of people," he said.
There were complaints about crowding and long lines for activities, but Kelly said some of that was a function of people content to observe attractions such as the Toboggan Run, which "tended to clog things up a little bit."
The Javits Center was booked even during the bidding process, limiting the availability of large, indoor spaces for events such as the NFL Experience.
In the coming weeks, Kelly and his staff will have many bills to pay and paperwork to wade through, and they want to create a blueprint for a possible future Super Bowl Host Committee in the region.
"We'd like to do this again, and I'd like someone not to start with the same blank sheet of paper we did," he said.
Kelly said of the day after the big party, "There's an element of it that's a bit surreal, but I take solace in the fact that we're extraordinarily proud of the show and the experience this region put on for guests and the world."