SBD/Issue 177/Events & Attractions

Giants/Jets Survive Tense Vote To Land Super Bowl XLVIII In '14

NFL Owners Make History By Awarding 2014
Super Bowl To New Meadowlands Stadium

The NFL's vote on the host for Super Bowl XLVIII "dragged on for four tortuous rounds before the owners finally made history" yesterday by awarding the game to the Giants and Jets and New Meadowlands Stadium, according to Bart Hubbuch of the N.Y. POST. The N.Y./N.J. area will become the "first region with average February temperatures below 50 degrees and an open-air stadium to hold the big game." While the joint bid for the '14 game was "long billed as a chip-shot field goal," several owners yesterday "fretted over the chance of brutal February weather ... ruining the sport’s marquee event." In addition to the Buccaneers and Dolphins -- which both also bid to host the game -- the Ravens, Texans, Bills and Cardinals were "among the teams that confirmed voting against New York throughout all four votes." The final vote remains a "closely guarded secret known only to NFL commissioner Roger Goodell and the league official who tabulated the totals, but the gravity of the final outcome could not be denied." Giants President & CEO John Mara: "It’s a huge relief. I want to thank the owners for having confidence in our ability to host this game and for having the guts to want to make some history" (N.Y. POST, 5/26). Mara after the vote said, "The only concern that any owner expressed to us was the weather. One or two owners were concerned about setting a precedent for other cold-weather sites. Most of the people we spoke to were extremely supportive." Although Goodell "downplayed his role to help New York/New Jersey become the first outdoor cold-weather Super Bowl host, he admitted that he'd continue to challenge owners to think outside the box" (N.Y. DAILY NEWS, 5/26).

INSIDE THE BIDS: In DC, Mark Maske notes the Giants/Jets bid included "contingency plans for dealing with inclement weather, plus accommodations for fans such as fire pits in the parking lots and heated seat cushions and hand warmers in the stands" (WASHINGTON POST, 5/26). ESPN N.Y.'s Rich Cimini notes New Meadowlands Stadium will have "hundreds of folks ready to shovel away snow and anything else they can do to make the experience more than just bearable." The Giants/Jets bid presentation featured a "video that included clips from historic cold-weather games, including Adam Vinatieri's ... field goal for the Patriots in the 2001 divisional playoffs in Foxborough" (ESPNNEWYORK.com, 5/25). In N.Y., Gary Myers reports while the presentation "highlighted the positives of winter football, New York ... didn't use one celebrity." The Tampa bid video "had an impassioned speech from Tampa resident Dick Vitale," which one owner thought "was ridiculous" (N.Y. DAILY NEWS, 5/26). 

SEEKING SHELTER FROM THIS STORM: In Miami, Greg Cote writes under the header, "NFL Goes Insane With Super Bowl In New Jersey." Cote: "The league should be arrested for prostitution, because, in effect, the NFL has broken its own rules on mild-climate Super Bowls to reward the Jets and Giants for building a $1.6 billion stadium." He adds, "You're going to play a Super Bowl in the bitter cold with a probability of snow by choice!? ... Why play the biggest of all games in fair weather? Makes too much sense" (MIAMI HERALD, 5/26). SPORTINGNEWS.com’s Mike Florio wrote there is a “fine line between being edgy and going loco,” and yesterday’s decision “makes us wonder whether plenty of people have lost their marbles.” The Super Bowl is the “single greatest day on the American sports calendar,” and it “needs to be protected from circumstances that can make the experience something other than super” (SPORTINGNEWS.com, 5/25). In Austin, Cedric Golden writes the "most important game in professional sports should not be played in an area where bad weather can overshadow what's happening on the field" (AUSTIN AMERICAN-STATESMAN, 5/26). USA TODAY's Reid Cherner: "Cold-weather football during the regular season is among the most pleasurable things to watch in sports. A Super Bowl dictated by the elements is another kettle of frozen fish" (USA TODAY, 5/26). CBSSPORTS.com's Clark Judge: "Having a Super Bowl at the Meadowlands in February makes about as much sense as holding the NHLs' next Winter Classic in Tampa" (CBSSPORTS.com, 5/25). In Indianapolis, Bob Kravitz: "So when's the Cleveland Super Bowl?" (INDIANAPOLIS STAR, 5/26).

Hill Says Super Bowl In N.Y.
Should Create Buzz

LET IT SNOW! Fox Sports Chair & CEO David Hill, whose network will broadcast Super Bowl XLVIII, yesterday said, "It's different and should create buzz for months leading up to it, and if we're really lucky, it will begin snowing right after halftime" (THE DAILY). In Austin, Kirk Bohls writes football is "moving outdoors -- where the game was meant to be played." MLB can "play the World Series in November, so if the boys of summer can play in frigid temperatures, surely the gridiron gang can as well" (AUSTIN AMERICAN-STATESMAN, 5/26). A N.Y. DAILY NEWS editorial states the NFL "made a brilliant decision" yesterday. The editorial: "So what if it's outdoors in February. The players can take it, and the crowd can take it for a few hours on a Sunday evening" (N.Y. DAILY NEWS, 5/26).

WHAT SHOULD WE NAME IT? In Newark, Jenny Vrentas notes one of the "benefits of landing" the Super Bowl is that the search process for a stadium naming-rights sponsor "could be jump-started." New Meadowlands Stadium Co. President & CEO Mark Lamping said, "Obviously it has a benefit." Lamping noted stadium officials have been in talks with "around five" possible title sponsors, though he added "nothing is imminent." But the Giants and Jets remain "hopeful they'll find the right partner" to title the stadium, which hosts its first football game this fall (Newark STAR-LEDGER, 5/26). Jets Owner Woody Johnson said hosting the Super Bowl "will help us with sponsors, things like naming rights." Johnson: "If a company is interested and a billion people looking at what he sells or what he's doing, I think that probably will have some benefit" ("America's Nightly Scoreboard," Fox Business, 5/25). ESPN N.Y.'s Cimini wrote with a "Super Bowl coming to town, the stadium should be more attractive to companies." Meanwhile, the Jets, "perhaps more than the Giants, needed the Super Bowl" as the team still has "thousands of unsold PSLs, and the exposure and cache of hosting a Super Bowl is bound to help ticket sales" (ESPNNEWYORK.com, 5/25).

HATS OFF TO WOODY JOHNSON: The DAILY NEWS' Myers notes the Super Bowl at New Meadowlands Stadium was Johnson's idea "after he failed to get his West Side Stadium and instead became partners with the Giants." The NFL had "promised Johnson the 2010 Super Bowl had he been able to seal the deal on the West Side." Mara said, "Woody started pushing this idea on me about four years ago when we first entered into this partnership and was absolutely relentless about it. He finally convinced me this is the right way to go and I want to thank him for doing that." Myers notes the Giants and Jets "always had the backing of three of the NFL's most powerful" owners -- Jerry Jones, Robert Kraft and Pat Bowlen -- and the Rooney family also supported the bid "after initially expressing doubt" (N.Y. DAILY NEWS, 5/26). ESPN N.Y.'s Cimini noted Johnson played an "absolutely vital role in landing the Super Bowl." People told him that a "cold-weather Super Bowl wouldn't fly, but Johnson didn't back down." Mara and fellow Giants Owner Steve Tisch yesterday "offered unsolicited praise of Johnson's tenacity" (ESPNNEWYORK.com, 5/25). On Long Island, Bob Glauber writes under the header, "Woody's Dream Made It Happen" (NEWSDAY, 5/26). The vote was a "clear nod of appreciation to the Giants and Jets for building" their stadium without public funds (N.Y. POST, 5/26). The selection also was said to "be a way to respect" late Giants Owner Wellington Mara (WALL STREET JOURNAL, 5/26).

CHANGING THE FORMATION: In L.A., Sam Farmer writes in a "larger sense, the league's willingness to try something new -- a risk not everyone agrees with -- is reflective of Commissioner Roger Goodell's push to be innovative in an increasingly competitive marketplace." Since Goodell succeeded Paul Tagliabue in '06, the Pro Bowl has changed dates to garner "more exposure," overtime rules have been changed for the playoffs and there is a "very realistic possibility that two meaningless exhibition games will be replaced by regular-season games." In addition, the league moved the NFL Draft to primetime during the week, made the scouting combine a "made-for-TV event" and pushed divisional games "to the end of the season to give teams incentive to play hard all the way through their schedules." Goodell is "not directly responsible for all of these things," but NFL insiders say that he is "relentless when it comes to pushing the envelope to best position the league and maximize revenue streams." Farmer: "That's vital for a game that's going to have an increasingly difficult time coaxing fans off their couches and into stadiums" (L.A. TIMES, 5/26).

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