Three years and eight months after NFL owners took a leap of faith on an idea that went against their own rules, the circus has come to town. It's Super Bowl week in New York, which will turn out to be either a rousing success that could lead to more outdoor title games in northern cities . . . or a failed gambit that will never be repeated.
But before we get the answer, the Super Bowl will get what only the New York metropolitan area can provide: the biggest pregame party the game has ever seen. What happens after that -- on game day -- will determine whether we ever see this day again.
Here's what we can look forward to as the NFL prepares for a hype week the likes of which we've never seen before . . . and may never see again:
The forecasts started early. Like, ridiculously early. The Farmers' Almanac predicted a big storm between Feb. 1-3. Pretty gutsy call, considering the forecast was printed in . . . August!
And if the weather is bad? Well, some of the NFL's signature games were played in bad weather:
The 1967 NFL Championship dubbed "The Ice Bowl,'' in which the Packers beat the Cowboys in sub-zero Green Bay.
The 1934 NFL Championship between the Giants and Bears at the Polo Grounds -- "The Sneakers Game.''
The footing was slippery because of an ice storm the night before, so Giants coach Steve Owen sent a clubhouse attendant to fetch sneakers from Manhattan College. He returned in the third quarter with the Giants trailing 13-3, and many players put on the sneakers. The Giants won, 30-13.
The Fog Bowl: The Bears beat the Eagles, 20-12, in a first-round playoff game in 1988 at Soldier Field, which was shrouded in a nasty fog that had blown in off Lake Michigan.
The Patriots' dynasty from 2001-04 began in a snowstorm in Foxborough, Mass. The Pats beat the Raiders, 16-13, in what is known as the "Tuck Rule Game'' because an apparent fumble by Tom Brady was ruled an incomplete pass.
PEYTON'S PLACE IN HISTORY
Peyton Manning entered this season's playoffs with many question marks about his legacy, mostly because of a 9-11 postseason record. But he played two exceptional games to reach his third Super Bowl. A second title would punctuate a Hall of Fame career, but he'll have to solve the NFL's No. 1 defense. If the adage "defense wins championships'' applies again, Manning's dream of equaling younger brother Eli's two titles won't come true.
Peyton clearly is the sentimental favorite. At 37, he comes off his greatest regular season. Another ring is all that's left.
RICHARD SHERMAN'S MOUTH
The Seahawks' outspoken cornerback's postgame rant to Fox's Erin Andrews last Sunday sparked a national debate about decorum and trash talk. Sherman said he regrets that his antics took away from his team's accomplishments, but that won't stop about 5,000 media from asking endless questions about the incident in hopes of procuring sound bites that will reverberate around the globe.
MEDIA DAY MADNESS
Unlike all other Super Bowls, when Media Day took place in the stadium, the festivities will be held Tuesday in the warm environs of the Prudential Center in Newark. Some reporters undoubtedly will ask "Hey, look at me" questions. Some players will ham it up, too. Will there be another like the Falcons' Ray Buchanan? In 1999 he wore a rhinestone dog collar, demonstrating that his team was not afraid to be the underdog to the eventual champion Broncos.
PETE CARROLL COMES 'HOME'
The Seattle coach will play for a championship on the same plot of land where he endured his biggest disappointment. Dan Marino's "Fake Spike'' at Giants Stadium sent the 1994 Jets into a late-season tailspin that led to Carroll's firing after one year.
JOHN FOX COMES 'HOME,' TOO
The Giants' former defensive coordinator could win a ring less than two months after returning to the team following heart surgery. The understated Fox doesn't get much credit, not with Manning running his offense, but he deserves a ton.
Super Bowl week in the greatest city in the world finally is here.
Enjoy. Let it snow.