Weather Adds Unnecessary Wrinkle to the Super Bowl
Super Bowl Location Stirs Debate
Published: Tuesday, January 28, 2014
Updated: Tuesday, January 28, 2014 02:01
Several thousand fortunate fans have managed to get their hands on a Super Bowl ticket this year, and they have paid a steep price for the privilege. Tickets to the game have been selling for more than ever — until last week.
Since then, with mere days before the big game, ticket prices have suddenly begun to plummet. Instead of snatching up the empty seats at a premium price, millions of potential spectators are perfectly content to watch the game in the comfort of their own homes. These fans, it seems, are finally starting to realize that they have already paid a far greater price than the value of a ticket: They are losing much of the trademark quality of the Super Bowl experience for the sake of having a game played in the frigid shadow of Manhattan’s skyline.
That, of course, is a gross exaggeration, given that the game won’t be played that close to Manhattan in the first place. Even though most of the weekend’s Super Bowl events will be held in New York City proper, MetLife Stadium is in East Rutherford, N.J. — a eight-and-a-half mile, heavily-tolled drive in the most generous of circumstances, and one that will almost certainly be congested by dense traffic. To complicate matters all the way along that drive, a massive security operation will screen every single vehicle entering the 300-foot perimeter.
Similarly, spectators hoping to avoid the traffic altogether by taking the train will be asked to present their tickets (and possibly even identification, since the fan who buys the ticket must be the one attending the game — no transfers allowed) at each point along the train ride, which requires at least one transfer in Secaucus, N.J. and usually means switching between multiple railroad companies.
Transportation and security, however, are far from the most pressing concerns of the day. Even if every spectator makes it to MetLife Stadium on time, they shouldn’t expect too much excitement. In a best-case scenario, this year’s crowd would be populated by avid football fans, featuring pockets of Denver or Seattle fanaticism. Unfortunately, this crowd is all but assured to be neutral and passive. Super Bowl crowds are made up mostly of corporate tickets, a monetary boon for the NFL but a momentous bore for the actual fans that go out of their way to get some of the randomly scattered seats doled out to their team’s franchise. This mood-dampening effect will be especially strong in New York, where a dense concentration of corporate interests is extremely close by. This will make the likelihood of some corporate tickets finding their way to real fans through secondhand retail and through resale extremely low.
And yet, even if every spectator makes it to MetLife Stadium on time and all the fans are emotionally invested in the game, there is still the question of the weather. No one wants to see the weather prevent two extremely high-powered teams from competing to the very best of their abilities. More than that, no one wants to see conditions increase the risk and frequency of injury. Everyone wants to see the two best teams in the league play their best game on the best Sunday of the year — if the Super Bowl is Sunday, that is. The NFL has prepared two alternate schedules in the event of prohibitively inclement weather. Should heavy snow roll through the league is prepared to turn Super Bowl Sunday into Super Bowl Saturday or even Super Bowl Monday. Should it come to the latter, it remains to be seen how many of the aforementioned corporate ticketholders would show up to a freezing, windy, snowy Super Bowl game between two smaller-market teams from the western half of the country after they leave work Monday and before they get back Tuesday. It also remains to be seen how many travellers booked their rooms for Monday night as well, just in case.
It would be a shame if the weather determined the outcome of football’s championship game, and it would be more of a shame if the weather prevented fans, especially true fans, from getting to — and staying in — their seats. The greatest shame of it all, however, is that the NFL made the choice to hold the Super Bowl in New Jersey for all the wrong reasons. Don’t be surprised after the game this weekend when commissioner Roger Goodell gets just what he asked for: a chilly reception.
Ethan Chess and Drew Cunningham are seniors in the College. THE THIRD HALF appears every Tuesday.