Neil Best leaves no stone unturned in the world of sports media.
First cold-weather Super Bowl might not be coldest Super Bowl
Maybe the NFL found a way to collect all the hot air spoken about Super Bowl XLVIII weather over the past 44 months and repurpose it as a warming wind for Sunday night.
Hey, let’s not put anything past them. ESPN’s Chris Berman told me Tuesday that he was not surprised a vastly improved weather forecast for the weekend suddenly appeared out of nowhere earlier this week.
“This is what they do,” he said of the all-powerful NFL. “I want to be with them at the blackjack table.’’
So it now appears that not only will weather be a non-factor for the “first cold-weather Super Bowl,’’ the game might not even set a record for the coldest temperature at kickoff.
Super Bowl VI has that mark at 39 degrees in 1972 at Tulane Stadium in New Orleans, which also was the site of the second-coldest Super Bowl at 46 degrees. And remember, those games started in daylight, unlike these days.
Anyway, with weather concerns off the table the NFL can focus on other logistical matters and, so far, so good on that front.
Nothing of this magnitude can be perfect, of course, and there still is plenty time for trouble, but to this point Big Town (and New Jersey) have pulled off the Super Bowl as well as anyone could have expected.
Even media whining has been kept to a minimum so far, aided greatly by police escorts into and out of Manhattan.
Super Bowl Boulevard has been a hit with fans, and with the weather improving by the day it should be packed for most of Friday and even more so Saturday.
Speaking of packed, hey, this is Gotham, so yes, the crowds on the Boulevard are daunting, and many elements of the Super Bowl infrastructure are vastly more compact than normal.
That includes the media center at the Sheraton on Seventh Avenue, which has the smallest work room and tightest Radio Row I ever have experienced. That also means less room for the sorts of booths that usually populate the media center and serve various snacks to keep reporters well fed and thus less cranky.
Oh, well. All good. Really. Today starts a transition in the Super Bowl week vibe. Radio Row remains zoo-like, but come Saturday it will be deserted and many of the media members covering the big game will dial back their typing and talking, what with interviews with the players and coaches in the big game over and preview materials filed.
But in the real world casual fans are starting to get interested, and tourists and locals eager to be a part of it all will descend on Broadway to get a feel for the event, and mega-parties such as ESPN’s down at Chelsea Piers will kick in.
Speaking of which, assuming things continue to run smoothly, the biggest negative takeaway from holding a Super Bowl in the metropolitan area likely will be that like everything else that happens around here it largely is swallowed up in the vastness of the region and everything else going at any given moment.
No Super Bowl in recent decades will touch a smaller percentage of area citizens than this one, but that is no one’s fault, and something we knew going in.
Again, the finish line is within sight but not within reach. But so far, the first New York/New Jersey Super Bowl has earned a solid (and impressive) A-minus.
Tags: Super Bowl