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Super Bowl officials hope for best weather, prepare for worst

Snow falls over the parking lot of MetLife

Snow falls over the parking lot of MetLife Stadium near a tent which will be used as an access point into Super Bowl XLVIII. (Jan. 21, 2014) Credit: AP

As far as the NFL is concerned, the Super Bowl XLVIII show will go on as scheduled.

"It is our objective to kick off the ball at 6:30 p.m. on Feb. 2, and we're going to be expending every effort to make sure that gets done,'' said Frank Supovitz, the NFL's senior vice president of events.

The current extended forecast for the day of the game calls for cold weather (a high of 29 degrees and a low of 18) -- but no precipitation. But if there is an unexpected storm that brings the metropolitan area to a halt, then the league has contingency plans to reschedule the game for a different date. That could mean moving it to Saturday, Feb. 1, or Monday, Feb. 3. Or it could be moved back even further.

But league officials are confident the first outdoor Super Bowl in a northern city will not be the first one to be played on a date other than the one it was scheduled to be played.

"We've been in cold-weather cities before,'' Supovitz said. "We've been in situations where snow has fallen ahead of the Super Bowl. There are rescheduling scenarios for 256 regular-season games each year. Same thing for Super Bowls since the beginning of Super Bowls.''

One thing the league has going for it when it comes to being reasonably certain the game will go off as scheduled: Since the construction of Giants Stadium at the Meadowlands in 1976, no Jets or Giants game has ever been postponed because of weather. Of course, no game has ever been played in Giants Stadium or MetLife Stadium as late as Feb. 2 of any given year, but there is optimism within the league that the game will go off without much of a hitch. If any.

"Crews at the stadium will be ready to move snow in the parking lots, seating areas and on the field and on our vitally important roadways,'' said Al Kelly, chairman of the Super Bowl Host Committee. "We will be prepared to move snow quickly. These efforts will enable hundreds of thousands of visitors to move more easily through the region, whether they're going to the Super Bowl, another event, or Met-Life Stadium. The reality is that many of us in the New York and New Jersey area are accustomed to it. A snowstorm can hit at any time, but that doesn't mean people should not be able to move around or football not be able to be played. The key is to be prepared and have the resources in place and be able to clear the snow efficiently.''

Super Bowl organizers point to the Giants' Dec. 15 game against the Seahawks at Met-Life Stadium as an example of how quickly crews can remove snow and ice from the stadium. Up to 6 inches of snow and ice fell, and the storm didn't end until around 5 a.m. on game day. However, most of the snow and ice was removed before the 1 p.m. kickoff.

"We want to make sure that the national audience know that this region has tremendous assets and resources to get this done,'' Supovitz said. "It's nothing more than reassuring people that despite the fact that the world's greatest event is going to be here, we still know how to clear snow. We keep the markets open every day and schools open most days. We'll do a good job Super Bowl week as well.''

New York Sports