By: Keith Raad – Staff Writer
Nobody does it like the NFL. It’s a business.
Super Bowl XLVIII might turn the Meadowlands and MetLife Stadium into a powdered donut, but when the snow melts and the season ends, the NFL will have won the ratings – again.
The most progressive and popular sport, previously expanding the game using an advanced replay system, has added more buzz to the greatest television spectacle in American culture.
Two No. 1 seeds, the NFC’s Seattle Seahawks and the AFC’s Denver Broncos, will play in the first cold-weather Super Bowl since 1970 – the 39-degree Super Bowl VI in New Orleans. It’s also the first outdoor Super Bowl north of the Mason-Dixon Line.
Now the story focuses on the ability of the players. Can the snow and wind stop Peyton Manning’s and Denver’s passing game? Will Seattle’s running game churn up the Denver line?
Former Chicago Bears coach and current ESPN analyst Mike Ditka, a guy known for his hard-nosed attitude, doesn’t see a good game come Sunday.
“First of all, it’s not fair to the players,” Ditka said in an article to the Detroit Free Press. “It’s not going to be fair to the fans. It’s not going to be that enjoyable…It’d be nice to be playing in Miami or San Diego or New Orleans or somewhere the weather is conducive to guys being able to show their talents.”
With expected temperatures to be between 24-38 degrees and possibly snowy conditions, the nervousness and concern of players, coaches and football fans everywhere has done nothing but draw attention to the weather-proof NFL.
Even NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell will enjoy the biting cold. He, and everyone else sitting in the seats, will be greeted with a seat cushion, a knitted hat, ear-muffs, hand warmers, gloves, lip balm and tissues. According to Eric Grubman, the NFL’s vice president for business operations, it’s called their “Embrace the cold” theme.
But in the No. 1 TV market in the country, New York, the cold-weather game will try to win viewership that was met with a hiccup last season.
After grabbing 111 million viewers for the 2010 game, and 111.3 for the 2012 game, last season’s San Francisco 49ers-Baltimore Ravens “blackout bowl” garnered only 108.4 million viewers. The 2012 and 2010 games came in as the number one and two most watched events in American television history, respectively, according to Nielsen.
Insert token freezing football game to determine the best team in the league – for the first time in 44 years.
Oh, and all ratings talk aside, it might steal more headlines than the snowy swamps of Jersey.
Grabbing a flight into New Jersey or New York on Saturday?
Be careful when you get off the plane that you didn’t just miss Super Bowl XLVIII.
“Our aim is to play it at 6:30 p.m. [Sunday] and we are going to have every possible resource in place to do that along as conditions are safe,” Grubman said. “But if not, we have contingent plans with a lot of options available to us.”
The NFL has said it might move the game to Friday, Saturday or Monday.
Good thing Peyton Manning, the genius of the gridiron, has had an extra week to watch film. I’m sure he wouldn’t mind having a big breakfast Friday, going into the film room and having his head coach John Fox peak his head in.
‘Hey, Peyton. Kickoff is in twenty minutes. Ready?’
Did that get your attention? That’s the point. It’s the NFL. They’re good.