Every year we half-joke about the fact the Super Bowl should be a national holiday in the United States. But if the worst-case scenario sucker-punches the NFL in the face in early-February, the need for time off work on the day of the biggest game in American sports might become a little more urgent.
That's because the league says it is prepared to play the Super Bowl on a Monday or Tuesday (or a Saturday… or an entire week later) in the event of a major weather event that could make it difficult or impossible to play the game at MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, NJ on Sunday, Feb. 2. Will this effect the NFL Super Bowl odds? It's probably too early to tell yet on that front.
The first 47 Super Bowls were played on Sunday, but the first 47 also took place in domes and/or warm-weather cities. This marks the first time the NFL has brought its trademark event to an open-air stadium in a cold-weather climate. And I'm not sure if you've heard, but it snows from time to time in the New York metropolitan area in February.
The league’s senior vice president of events, Frank Supovitz, discussed contingency plans in a press conference outside the stadium on Wednesday. From Gary Myers of the New York Daily News:
Supovitz said the objective is to stick to the 6:30 p.m. kickoff on Feb. 2 for Super Bowl XLVIII.
“But if it’s necessary due to matters of public safety or there are impracticalities, then rescheduling scenarios have to be considered,” he said. “Saturday would be as early as we would consider at this point. We have contingencies that take us into Monday and Tuesday.”
And, he said, “There is also a scenario where we could play the following weekend.”
From a television standpoint, a switch to the following Sunday would be ideal. Fox knows that Sunday evening is the prime time-slot in the American sports world. Saturday can't possibly be as lucrative and people work Monday and Tuesday. You'd lose casual viewers, which would piss off advertisers.
That said, pushing the game back an entire week would cause by far the most havoc for the thousands of fans who have scheduled flights and hotels for the original weekend. An adjustment to Saturday, Monday or Tuesday would be a lot less difficult for those tourists.
But really, this is one of those once-in-a-blue-moon scenarios. Cold-weather games in December and January are rarely if ever postponed regardless of heavy snow, and the league would probably apply similar or looser weather standards to this game. Why? First, the PR hit associated with a postponement would border on catastrophic. And second, the league will undoubtedly spare no expense to make sure that it essentially softens the impact of any foul weather.
That was on display Wednesday, with the Super Bowl host committee showing off its fleet of "Aero snow melters" (pictured above), which can apparently "liquify more than 600 tons of snow per hour."
Also from Myers:
Just prior to the game, Supovitz said, the field will be covered by a tarp and the field will be kept warm with blowers under the tarp. If it snows during the game, priority will be given to make sure the yard lines are clear but the field will not be cleared during an offensive drive behind the defense because that would create a competitive advantage for the offense. It is the same protocol followed for every game.
Exactly my point. Unless the storm of the century blows in and the NFL is quite literally in the worst imaginable place at the worst imaginable time, we'll go another year without having to leave the office early just to be able to catch the Super Bowl pregame show.
(Photo courtesy Corey Sipkin/New York Daily News)