Super Bowl vote shows NFL power
The biggest surprise about the New York area landing a Super
Bowl turned out to be that the NFL owners were more concerned about
the cold than they should have been.
It took four ballots to declare the Meadowlands a winner, which
seemed about three too many considering the Jets and Giants did
more than their part for the league by getting a new $1.6 billion
stadium built in the first place.
A win is a win, though, and politicians and team owners got
together at the stadium Wednesday to congratulate each other and
predict the 2014 game will be a great event, no matter the
Now organizers can begin concentrating on the real question
surrounding the game: Bon Jovi or Springsteen? Which aging New
Jersey rocker will be willing to brave the elements for this
That’s probably more important to most fans than the extended
forecast. There are more than 100 million people in this country
who could care less if the Super Bowl is in New Jersey or
Their only care is that it’s in high definition on the big
screen in the family room.
Give the NFL credit – with a big assist from the media center of
the world – for making the site selection more interesting than
Mets-Yankees interleague play, or the NBA conference finals.
What has been all but overlooked in the game razzle-dazzle is a
Supreme Court decision that could have far more impact on the
league and its future.
The court rejected the NFL’s request for broad antitrust law
protection Monday, saying it must be considered 32 separate teams –
not one big business – when selling branded items like jerseys and
At the same time, the high court reversed a lower court ruling
throwing out an antitrust suit brought against the league by one of
its former hat makers, which was upset that it lost its contract
for making official NFL hats to Reebok International Ltd.
That could have ramifications on everything from talks with the
players’ union to the setting of ticket prices. Nevertheless, the
hot-button topic is possible snow accumulations for a Super Bowl
that is four years away.
We know this much: Yes, it will probably be cold – most likely
in the 30s – and there’s a good chance the wind will blow. But
using Feb. 2 as a probable date, records show that in the past 44
years, there was snow 4 percent of the time and the rain percentage
It doesn’t exactly figure to be the frozen tundra of legend at
Lambeau Field. Then again, no one plays on tundra these days
And while it’s true that the cold might put a warm weather team
like Tampa Bay at a disadvantage, there’s not a lot of downside to
hosting the game up North. That’s especially true for the people
the game is really played for – those sitting in front of their
televisions on the biggest money-making day of the year in any
Honestly, do you care if some corporate bigwig at the game on
his company expense account has to bundle up between trips to the
martini bar? Are you concerned that some other freeloading
executive might get wet while waiting for someone to bring a
catered meal to his seat on the 40-yard-line?
Hardly. And unless you’re one of the few who has a rooting
interest in the game instead of a betting interest, you don’t care
that the ball may not sail perfectly in the wind or that the wide
receivers have to wear extra thick gloves.
Giving the Super Bowl to New York/New Jersey for building that
new stadium isn’t likely to start a trend, no matter how much teams
like Pittsburgh and New England might want one of their own. The
New York experience is probably a one-off, at least for the next
decade or so.
Meanwhile, the NFL has other things to worry about. The Supreme
Court ruling could make it harder for the league to get broader
protection against antitrust laws. And it could give the players’
union something to use next year – the threat of decertifying
itself – when the collective bargaining agreement ends after next
season and there’s a possible lockout or work stoppage.
Not that any of that matters to the casual fan. They’ll start to
worry about labor relations when it looks as though their favorite
players might not be allowed on the field.
No reason for them to worry about the temperature at kickoff
time in 2014, either.
Because they won’t be the ones freezing in the Meadowlands.
Tim Dahlberg is a national sports columnist for The Associated
Press. Write to him at tdahlberg(at)ap.org