Super Bowl XLVIII is less than a week away and local forecasts predict weather could be a factor in Sunday’s Championship game. This is exactly why the NFL has avoided outdoor stadiums in cold weather climates for so many years – It’s bad football.
From a pure entertainment perspective, having a game in the sleet and snow would constitute a success. Look back at the now-famous Eagles and Lions Snow Game from this past season. It was awesome to watch. Remember when Calvin Johnson rose to his feet with roughly one cubit butt-load of snow packed into his facemask? That was epic! But it wasn’t good football.
The Eagles offense was successful running the ball straight up the middle while the Lion’s defenders slipped all over the place. Play after play was about mistakes and misfootings rather than about execution and top-end athletic performance.
If the Super Bowl is played in conditions like that, it would be a travesty. This is everyone’s chance to see the very best play the game to perfection. Both Denver and Seattle play fundamentally sound football mixed with dazzling athletic feats. That deserves appreciation. If poor weather takes that away they’ll look like any other team on any other day.
The speed and quickness of the #1 ranked Denver offense will give way to simple run-up-the-middle, high school football. This is everyone’s chance to see the best offense in the NFL play the best defense in the NFL. If weather is a factor, it’s pretty obvious the advantage swings heavily to the defense.
Purists will argue that poor weather is “part of the game” and “This is what football is all about”. Purists also argued “the forward pass will ruin the game” and “Wearing facemasks is for wussies”. They have also been known to yell, “Get off my lawn!” from time to time.
Don’t get me wrong, the Ice Bowl was instantly legendary. It will never be forgotten. But it’s largely remembered because of the bad weather. That game was fantastically clumsy and featured some pretty vanilla football. Poor weather does that. Poor weather neutralizes the skill in the big named “skill players” and passes the advantage onto the less-skilled straight-line players. The best team doesn’t always win in bad weather and often times the opposite happens.
The idea of having the Super Bowl on neutral ground, rather than at one of the team’s home field is to reduce unfair advantages (which include weather). But money has triumphed as of late. Super Bowls are now granted as incentives to the teams and their cities for building new stadiums. If they build it – the NFL will come. It’s in the deal and provides millions and millions to the local economy.
The NFL is willing to gamble on the weather because of the money. If they actually cared about the game we wouldn’t be having this discussion. Money always has been, and always will be part of the NFL. It’s inescapable. But do we really want the weather to decide who is ultimately crowned champion?
Do you have questions or comments regarding Dallas area sports? Email Reid at [email protected]. You may be included in the next weekly mailbag. Follow Reid on twitter @ReidDHanson