The winds in old Giants Stadium at the Meadowlands were notorious for being capricious and strong. That place is gone, but East Rutherford, N.J., wins area factor that some have seized upon as Peyton Manning prepares to face the Seattle Seahawks in Super Bowl XLVIII.
But one guy who has played in the old place and in MetLife Stadium says the two aren’t comparable.
“The old stadium definitely had a specific end zone and corner that you wouldn’t want to throw into if it was going to be a windy night,” Eli Manning, the New York Giants’ quarterback and Peyton’s younger brother, said last week (via ESPN’s Dan Graziano). “If it is one of those windy days, then there is a little bit of local knowledge that you can give. But it’s definitely not as bad as the old stadium.”
Maybe, but some stats show that it doesn’t take a great deal of wind to throw off Peyton Manning and his wide receivers. (Remember Bill Belichick giving Manning the ball at the start of overtime and taking the wind during the New England Patriots’ regular-season win over the Denver Broncos?)
The wind has been Manning’s nastiest opponent, according to Timothy Gay, professor of physics at the University of Nebraska and author of “The Physics of Football.” The Wall Street Journal’s Michael Salfino writes that, “according to Gay, the slower-velocity touch passing that is Manning’s specialty becomes difficult to execute once the wind hits 20 mph. A 30-yard pass would be thrown off course by over a yard (37.8 inches). Increasing the velocity of the throw from 40 to 60 mph reduces the effect to just over a foot (13.7 inches), but only a select few can throw that hard. And Manning, 37, wasn’t known as a power thrower even before multiple neck surgeries. His counterpart in the Super Bowl, Seattle’s Russell Wilson, has a top throwing speed of 55 mph, according to Ourlads’ Scouting Services.”
A few days out from the Super Bowl, winds are expected to be around 20 mph.