By Steve Silverman
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The countdown for Super Bowl XLVIII is on, and this is going to be one for the books.
At a certain point, cooler heads were supposed to prevail when the most powerful sports league in the world decided to plan its biggest event.
If you thought that the 34-minute power outage at the Superdome was a black eye for the league, what is going to happen next February 2 when the Super Bowl is played in MetLife Stadium?
Will there be a blizzard? Sub-freezing temperatures? Non-stop rain? Or will it be a beautiful day?
The NFL wants to gamble on the biggest day of the year.
The answer is totally dependent on the weather. If it’s a 30-to-40-degree day and there is no precipitation, the NFL just may have one of the most memorable Super Bowls in its history.
It’s a multi-billion dollar gamble. The NFL is betting that there won’t be a blizzard and there won’t be a worst-case scenario.
The NFL has always been about control. The powers that be on Park Avenue like to control the message that goes out to the fans and the media.
They have specialized in that aspect of their business since Pete Rozelle was named commissioner of the NFL in 1960. Since that time, it seems that the NFL has left little to chance.
The odds appear to be in favor of it being a decent day. The metropolitan area is not Buffalo, Chicago or the Twin Cities.
There are cold days and brutal weather patterns in New York City, but they are a lot less frequent than in those other areas.
When the Super Bowl was played in Dallas two years ago, the temperature at MetLife Stadium was 46 degrees. Last year the Super Bowl was held in Indianapolis and the temperature was about 40 degrees in New Jersey that day.
Get a day like that and the NFL will come up a winner. Cold-weather football is not a bad thing. The best players in the game can get acclimated to cold weather and perform spectacularly.
However, if it’s 10 degrees, and the wind is howling, fans will see the same kind of football before the T-formation was invented in 1940. It will be impossible to throw the ball consistently when the swirling winds are whipping through MetLife Stadium.
It will be four hours of brutal weather for the fans who are exposed, no matter how many precautions they take.
And what if it’s worse than that? What if the game has to be postponed because of the weather. What if fans can’t get across the George Washington Bridge because the weather is so bad?
If lives are in danger, they can’t play the game. That’s the strangest part. The league that likes to leave nothing to chance has left it all to chance.
The NFL decries gambling and it fears a scandal that could implicate players, coaches or referees.
Yet the NFL has placed a huge bet that the Gods will not let a winter storm interfere with its biggest day. It seems like a dubious decision at best.
The countdown is on.
How big of a gamble is the NFL taking? Sound off with your thoughts and comments below…