NFL owners approve outdoor Super Bowl near New York; Could D.C. be next?

By Mark Maske
Washington Post Staff Writer
Wednesday, May 26, 2010; D01

IRVING, TEX -- Even before the NFL's franchise owners decided Tuesday to award a Super Bowl to the New York area, Washington Redskins owner Daniel Snyder said that Washington deserves a chance to host the sport's showcase event.

"I think Washington should get one, no matter what," Snyder said during a midday break at the owners' one-day spring meeting. "It is the nation's capital."

Hours later, the 32 team owners voted to play the 2014 Super Bowl at the New Meadowlands Stadium in East Rutherford, N.J. It is to be the first Super Bowl played in an outdoor stadium at a cold-weather site.

What remained unclear following Tuesday's vote was whether the chances had been bolstered for the District and other cities with chilly weather in February to host a Super Bowl.

Giants co-owner Steve Tisch said that Snyder "may be right" in believing that Washington should host the game.

"I don't think it's at all unrealistic for [New England Patriots owner] Bob Kraft, for Dan Snyder," Tisch said. "We're opening a door. One thing that will be significant is 2014 and how it all goes -- logistically, the weather. If things go relatively well, I think it's going to be better than a long shot that other East Coast cities try to do what we did. I think that's going to be a big factor."

But some owners seemed to regard this as a one-time-only maneuver tied to the enormity of the New York market and the construction of the new stadium for the Giants and Jets.

"New York is really very unique, and I think that's really what it's all about," New Orleans Saints owner Tom Benson said.

Even so, Benson stopped short of saying he would not support any Super Bowl bid in another cold-weather venue. "I wouldn't say that," Benson said. "It depends on what happens. Let's wait and see."

John Mara, the Giants' other co-owner, said he wasn't ready to predict whether other traditionally cold-weather cities now will get their opportunities to host Super Bowls, but added: "Let's face it: There's only one New York City, and we have a stadium that I think is second to none."

NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell said after the meeting ended: "I think there are some unique aspects of this. . . . I think each game is going to be [awarded to a host city] on an individual basis. I do think New York is a unique market."

For Tuesday's vote, the owners set aside their usual reservations about possibly playing the Super Bowl in less-than-ideal weather conditions, being lured by the potential glitz of putting the game in the nation's media hub. Two Florida sites, Tampa and the Miami area, also bid on the 2014 game, which was the next Super Bowl without a host city assigned.

The league allowed the New York-area bid to proceed by waiving the usual requirement that a potential Super Bowl site with an outdoor stadium have an average temperature of at least 50 degrees at that time of the year.

According to the Pro Football Hall of Fame, only one Super Bowl played in an outdoor stadium has had a game-time temperature below 40 degrees. It was 39 degrees for Super Bowl VI at Tulane Stadium in New Orleans. The second-coldest outdoor Super Bowl also was played at Tulane Stadium, with a game-time temperature of 46 degrees for Super Bowl IX. No other outdoor Super Bowls have had game-time temperatures below 50 degrees, according to the Hall of Fame.

The average high temperature in New York in February is 40 degrees, and the average low 24. In Washington, the average high in February is 47 degrees, and the average low 26.

The New York 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. The presentation that the New York bid's organizers made to the owners Tuesday included a video clip of former Pittsburgh Steelers coach Bill Cowher talking on the sideline about how football is supposed to be played in chilly weather, plus shots of memorable plays and games in wintry conditions.

The Redskins have previously expressed interest during Snyder's ownership tenure in trying to secure a Super Bowl for the Washington area, but the effort never has progressed very far.

They have a large stadium, but the awarding of a Super Bowl often comes in conjunction with the construction of a new stadium. Three of the next four Super Bowls -- in Dallas, Indianapolis and the Meadowlands -- will be played in just-built stadiums. New Orleans, which will host the 2013 title game, is the exception.

District officials have expressed some interest in eventually luring the Redskins back to the city, which would require a new downtown stadium. But few, if any, observers seem to believe that a push for such a move will be made in the near future.

Mayor Adrian M. Fenty (D) said during an October 2008 appearance on "Washington Post Live" on Comcast SportsNet that he wanted to have the Redskins back playing in D.C. "as fast as humanly possible." Fenty said then that it was "an expensive, longer-term project" but he wanted the Redskins eventually to play in the District in "a brand-new stadium, one that could accommodate a Super Bowl."

Miami was eliminated in the owners' second round of voting on Tuesday. The game was awarded to New York over Tampa on the fourth ballot, on which only a majority of votes was required rather than three-quarters of the votes.

The date of the game has not been determined but officials said it will be played on Feb. 2, 9 or 16.

Jets owner Woody Johnson said the game will have an estimated economic impact of $500 million on the New York area.

Goodell and the owners also decided Tuesday not to extend the sport's new overtime system, which was approved by the owners in March for postseason games only, to the regular season. It remains possible that the new overtime format, which prohibits a team from ending a game with a field goal on the opening possession of overtime, will be used in the regular season in future seasons. But it won't happen next season. No vote of the owners on the issue was taken Tuesday.

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