Remember several months ago when you heard for the first time that the Giants and Jets owners were putting in a bid for the 2014 Super Bowl? Remember how stupid that sounded at the time?
What exactly happened in the meantime to make that idea sound less stupid? When, exactly, did having the Super Bowl in New Jersey in February become an idea whose time had come?
Let’s clip and save some of the remarks being made in the wake of the NFL’s decision to award the 2014 Super Bowl to the new Giants-Jets Stadium:
Giants co-owner John Mara: “Let’s face it. There’s only one New York City.” Yes, John, and with a little luck, fans who come to the 2014 Super Bowl might get to see some of it after battling congested traffic in frigid conditions to get to and from their hotels. More than likely, the most vital New York experience most are going to get is watching highlights of the game on ESPN in their room at the Marriott Marquis. That’s the Meadowlands Marriott Marquis, not the one in Times Square.
Mayor Bloomberg: “People talk about the weather, but you know this is football. Not beach volleyball.” Which is why we expect you to sit out in the open air for five hours, Mike, trying to see over the head of the guy with the Russian fur hat in front of you.
NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell: “I think it will turn out to be a great event.” And we hope to see you sitting next to Mayor Bloomberg, Roger.
Cowboys owner Jerry Jones: “We played some frigid December games there, and I know first hand that the fans had great experiences even though it was in inclement weather.” Yes, Jerry, but those were Giants fans, watching the Giants play a long-time rival. It’s a long shot that there are going to be many Giants (or Jets) fans at the 2014 Super Bowl.
Miami Dolphins owner Stephen Ross: “In the back of everyone’s mind, people want to be in south Florida that time of year.” No, I think that thought is in the front of everyone’s mind that time of year.
Darren Everson in the Wall Street Journal: “Enough with Super Bowls in Tampa and Jacksonville. Enough with an NFL playoff setup that always ends by giving the advantage to warm weather teams.” Yeah, let’s rework the system so that New England, Pittsburgh and the Giants have a fair shot.
Vince Lombardi, Jr. quoted in USA Today on playing the Super Bowl in New Jersey: “My father would have been all for it.” Which is why his father approved Los Angeles and Miami as the sites for the first two Super Bowls.
Jets owner Woody Johnson on whether he’d watch the game inside or out: “Probably both.” I’m thinking probably within six feet of the bar in your luxury box.
Again, Roger Goodell: “We have to continue to find ways to grow the game. Innovation is a big part of our initiative.” Look, Roger, playing the NFL championship game in the New York area in the middle of winter isn’t innovation, it’s a very old, very bad idea that was discarded decades ago. Ask the handful of survivors from the 1962 championship game between the Giants and the Green Bay Packers, who froze their asses off watching Y.A. Tittle, Frank Gifford, Bart Starr, and Jim Taylor try and play something like an actual game of football with slippery cement-hard turf below and swirling arctic winds above. New Jersey is not the site of winter carnivals in February with a domed stadium and tunnels that lead to everything you want to get to. It’s a God-forsaken tundra and a potential frozen hell.
That’s why college football teams, after playing year-round in rain, sleet and snow, wisely decided to relocate their postseason games to places like Southern California, Florida and Arizona. So the battle would be between the teams and not the elements. So the fans wouldn’t suffer.
Note to the Maras, Woody Johnson, Goodell, Jerry Jones, et al: The worst part of listening to all this crap is the sheer hypocrisy of it, as if subjecting yet unknown fans to a February night — the game won’t start, after all, until prime time — is about innovation or great experiences. Ask the average NFL fan what they’d rather experience in February: New York and New Jersey or California and New Orleans. And pretending that it has anything at all to do with creating a better game or that it’s for the fans. We all know it’s all about the luxury boxes.