To get this done, the NFL waived its policy that prohibits an outdoor Super Bowl being awarded to cold, nasty places. Places like, well, you know. Not only is such arbitrariness an outrage, it highlights why such a policy exists in the first place. Here’s a clue: Because it makes sense! Because the most important football game of the year should not be decided by windblown passes, a slick field, icy fingers that can’t grip the ball or a snowstorm that obscures the lines on the field. Because the fans shouldn’t have to suffer beyond paying absurdly high ticket prices.
Some find bad weather and football to be a quaint combination, a throwback to the pre-dome, pre-artificial turf days when real men had to conquer the elements as well as their opponents (without using a snowplow, like in New England that time). The Ice Bowl, the 1967 NFL championship game in Green Bay, comes to mind. The temperature was minus 13 degrees. It was so cold that Frank Gifford’s steaming cup of coffee froze solid in the broadcast booth within minutes. Besides the weather, it is best remembered for Bart Starr’s famous quarterback sneak in the final seconds. Otherwise, it was a terrible game.
Maybe that’s an extreme example, but it illustrates how in foul-weather games the elements, not the players, often determine the outcome. This usually can’t be avoided, except for the Super Bowl (where it has rained a few times, but not hard enough to mess things up). Until now. In Tampa and Miami, beach chairs are for the beach. In some northern cities, they’re used for saving parking spaces during blizzards. The NFL should have taken the hint.
Bob Cohn is a veteran sportswriter now working for the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review. He covered Super Bowl XXX in warm, sunny Arizona.