After more than three years of hoping, planning and preparing for the first outdoor cold-weather Super Bowl, the event's organizers are relieved and elated that the week finally is here.
"Let's go. Let's have some fun," Jets owner Woody Johnson said yesterday, insisting it won't be disappointing even if the weather isn't all that cold.
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"A nice sunny day with a little snow flurry would be nice," said Johnson, co-chairman of the host committee. "Ideally, if I could dial it up: 40 degrees, goes down to 32, couple flakes and shoots back up to 40."
During a news conference at the Sheraton Times Square, Johnson and fellow co-chairman Jonathan Tisch, the Giants' treasurer, carried the winter theme, which represents both the biggest challenge and greatest appeal for a New York-New Jersey Super Bowl. Who wouldn't want to see the game spiced up by arctic wind and snow?
"I want to compliment the other 30 owners for giving us the privilege to host this and to break the ice barrier and play it in an environment where I think football should be played -- outside, in the weather," Johnson said. "That's where every other game is played. There is no reason a Super Bowl shouldn't be played there as well."
The odd part is that, if recent forecasts are to be believed, the elements might not be so wintry. The temperature could be in the upper 30s or even 40, which would be great for logistics and not so hot for aesthetics.
Not a problem, according to the co-chairs. Johnson said he will not be heartbroken if the game Sunday fails to go below the 39-degree barrier, which is the record for the coldest Super Bowl (New Orleans in 1972).
"I think it's pretty safe we'll be [under] there, for part of it, anyway," Johnson said.
Tisch said, "I had a chance to tour the stadium [Sunday] and saw a lot of very dedicated men and women working very hard in very cold, frigid conditions. I really felt for them. So for their sake, and the sake of the fans and the thousands of other people who will be out there on game day, 'perfect weather' is going to be in the 40s -- as they're calling for -- and no precipitation."
Host committee and NFL officials added that the real point is that, no matter what nature brings, they will be ready. For instance, MetLife Stadium is set up to receive power supplies from several plants, NFL executive vice president Eric Grubman said, so it is highly unlikely that there will be an outage like the one that delayed last year's Super Bowl in New Orleans.
The hosts were enthusiastic Monday despite what they called the bittersweet reality of having the Broncos and Seahawks practice at the Jets' and Giants' training centers, respectively. Johnson, mentioning that all of his team's logos on the Florham Park campus have been covered up, said, "We're welcoming those teams. They've earned the right to play and practice at our facilities."
At least the Patriots and Cowboys aren't here.
As Giants president John Mara said, "It could have been worse."