EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. (CBSNewYork/AP) — The first cold-weather Super Bowl turned out to be unseasonably warm.
As for the snow that fans fretted about for months? Let’s just say the NFL got lucky.
The National Weather Service said that temperatures for Sunday’s NFL title game at MetLife Stadium were 10 to 15 degrees above normal, and just nine degrees below the record high of 62 set in 1973.
It’s certainly not what league owners expected in 2010 when they awarded the game to the Jets and Giants. The fears that snow, ice and frigid temperatures would detract from the game usually held in either warm-weather cities or in a domed stadium proved unfounded — at least by a day.
The snow is forecast Monday.
Some two hours before kickoff, it was 52 degrees and cloudy. Fans stood in the stands wearing Broncos and Seahawks jerseys, holding their jackets or hanging them over seats.
The coldest kickoff temperature in Super Bowl history was 39 degrees at Tulane Stadium in New Orleans for Super Bowl VI, when Dallas beat Miami 24-3.
The record was never challenged. The temperature was 49 at the kickoff, the NFL said. The weather service said it was 48 at the kickoff and only dropped three degrees lower when green confetti showered the field around 10 p.m. after the Seahawks’ 43-8 rout.
“Considering the cold weather we have had at the end of January, I would say the people going to the game are pretty lucky,” National Weather Service meteorologist Joe Pollina said in a telephone interview with The Associated Press.
The temperature was almost the same as it was in October in Boston when the Cardinals and Red Sox played in the World Series. The difference was it felt colder in Beantown because the winds ranged from 7-to-14 mph. The wind was calm in East Rutherford.
Rain overnight night was expected to turn to snow, with 5-8 inches accumulating before ending Monday afternoon.
“There might be some problems with travel,” meteorologist Pat Maloit said.
The norm for this northern New Jersey area is 40 degrees with a low of 25. January has been fickle. The temperature fell to single digits in recent weeks, but also reached 61 degrees on Jan. 11.
Fans appreciated the warmth.
“The last two weeks the weather has been brutal,” said Justin McElroy, 41, of Callicoon, N.Y., who was attending the game with his brother Kevin, 39.
“This is like a walk in the park,” Justin McElroy said.
In the past week, the brothers, who grew up in Seattle, had loaded their vehicles with ski pants, hunting boots, long johns, two pair of gloves apiece and extra layers of clothes.
“Even if it wasn’t like this, it didn’t matter,” Kevin McElroy said. “It would still be amazing to be at a Super Bowl.”
Karin Cambria, 46 of Denver, and her sister, Kris Link, 43 of Highlands Ranch, Colo., got tickets to the game because Cambria was the designated driver of the year for the Broncos. They planned for the cold, bringing eight layers of clothes made with high-performance cold-weather technology, blankets, pant warmers and feet warmers.
“We’re not wearing half the stuff we brought,” said Link, who was wearing an orange wig and carrying her jacket. “We didn’t need to.”
During pre-game warm-ups, players wore light sweats or jogging tights.
Robert Garner of Fort Collins, Colo., walked into the stadium wearing orange firefighter pants and an orange firefighter’s hat.
“It could have been really cold. It could have been warm,” said Garner, a Broncos season ticket holder. “It was just luck of the draw.”
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