78° Good Morning
78° Good Morning
SportsColumnistsBob Glauber

Bob Glauber's NFL insider: NFL insists New Jersey Super Bowl will not be deterred by weather

With memories of last week's blizzard still fresh, concerns arose about what might happen if a similar storm hit the New York area around the time of next year's Super Bowl XLVIII at MetLife Stadium.

But ask the man who was in charge of running more than half the Super Bowls ever played, and he has two words for anyone anxious about what might happen: "Relax, OK?"

Jim Steeg, the NFL's senior vice president of special events from 1979-2005, believes the game will be played with minimal complications. And even if weather issues arise, the league and local government agencies will handle potential problems.

In other words, the show will go on.

"In New York and New Jersey, the one thing you've got is the ability to clear everything in the event of a storm," Steeg said. "After [last week's] storm, it took a day and everything was back to normal."

And even if it snows on game day, Steeg believes the area will be prepared to provide safe travel for fans to and from the game.

"You've got all the equipment there, all the resources to bring to bear, and a lot of mass transportation," said Steeg, who became the Chargers' chief operating officer after leaving the NFL. He is now a sports business consultant in San Diego. "I don't think there will be a problem."

The NFL has contingency plans -- including changing the date of the -- game, currently Feb. 2 -- in the event of a snowstorm.

"If we have to make adjustments, we will," NFL spokesman Brian McCarthy said. "We have had contingency plans for the previous 47 Super Bowls."

The contingency plans might not be limited to just snow.

"We are now working on a plan in the event an asteroid hits," McCarthy quipped, referring to an asteroid that flew just 17,000 miles past the earth Friday, and to a meteorite that hit the atmosphere near Chelyabinsk, Russia.

Steeg said past experiences with bad weather -- even in cities that normally aren't hit with ice and snow -- have prepared the NFL for the worst. The one variable that's different is next year's game will be the first in an outdoor stadium in a northern city.

But weather issues have surfaced before. A snow and ice storm hit the Dallas area before Super Bowl XLV in 2011. An ice storm shut down Atlanta in the days leading up to Super Bowl XXXIV in 2000. And freezing temperatures and a nasty traffic jam caused by then-vice president George H.W. Bush's motorcade before Super Bowl XVI in Pontiac, Mich., in 1982 caused significant problems. One of the 49ers' buses, with coach Bill Walsh and quarterback Joe Montana aboard, was stuck half a mile from the Silverdome and was late for warm-ups.

"The joke was I guess we knew if the 49ers won the toss, they were going to kick off, because the defense was there, but the offense wasn't," Steeg said.

Despite being a meticulous planner, Walsh appeared unfazed.

"Coach Walsh was pretty loose on the bus," Montana said in an interview several years later. "[Walsh] said, 'I've got the radio on, and we're leading 7-0. The trainer's calling the plays."

The 49ers went on to win their first of three Super Bowl titles under Walsh, beating the Bengals, 26-21.


Gleason's inspiring story continues

Former Saints safety Steve Gleason, diagnosed in 2011 with ALS (Lou Gehrig's disease), will participate in the fourth annual Rock 'n' Roll New Orleans Half Marathon on Feb. 24. Gleason, 34, will be pushed in his wheelchair by his brother-in-law, Vinnie Varisco.

"For a guy who can no longer walk and has trouble speaking, Steve is the last guy you would expect to participate in the Rock 'n' Roll Marathon in New Orleans," said Clare Durrett, spokeswoman for Team Gleason, an organization dedicated to raising awareness and funds for ALS research. "But, always inspiring, Steve is continuing to push the limits of what he can do through innovation and support. Having his brother-in-law push him in the half-marathon is just another example of how he continues to truly live despite seemingly insurmountable adversity. Steve says 'awesome ain't easy,' but sometimes, he makes it seem that way."


Quick hits

It was a little more than three years ago that Packers cornerback Charles Woodson beat out Jets cornerback Darrelle Revis for Defensive Player of the Year. Now Woodson, 36, has been released by the Packers, and Revis, who turns 28 in July, might be traded.

Former second-round pick Titus Young has now been released twice in two weeks. After being claimed off waivers by the Rams, coach Jeff Fisher decided to part ways with the wide receiver. Young frequently clashed with Lions coaches and once had a fight with teammate Louis Delmas.

That the Browns are considering a trade of quarterback Brandon Weeden is no surprise. Consider: newly hired vice president of player personnel Michael Lombardi, while serving as an NFL Network analyst last year, called the first-round selection of Weeden a "panicked disaster."

New York Sports