A cold-weather Super Bowl? An icy thought

It has always been an unwritten rule: The Super Bowl must be in a warm-weather city. Sunny weather and beachfront locales, it seems, have become prerequisites for hosting one of the world’s biggest sporting events.

But why?

Would the Fortune 100 CEOs really refuse to pay for their suites if it was 35 degrees at kickoff as opposed to 60? Would the coaches and players boycott their chances at the Lombardi Trophy if a few flurries fell from the sky? Would fans not show up for fear their cheeks would get a little rosy?

Of course not.

So why has the city of Jacksonville — a town that can hardly support its fledging football team — hosted a Super Bowl when the likes of New York, Philadelphia, Chicago and Boston have not?

The Super Bowl is a spectacle. I get it. Media day, radio row and celebrity-filled parties are as much a part of this spectacle as the game. These things are more enjoyable when the weather is warm. But that alone shouldn’t be the reason Detroit (1982, 2006) and Minneapolis (1992) are the only cold-weather cities to ever host the Super Bowl — and all three of these games were played indoors.

The NFL owners have a chance to thwart this trend today by giving New York and its new open-air stadium the 2014 Super Bowl. No dome or warm beach in sight, New York is hardly an ideal candidate considering the league’s history of cold-weather discrimination.

Still, the NFL’s biggest market, two of the most passionate fanbases and a brand new $1.6-billion stadium will be hard for the owners to ignore.

The real question is what kind of precedent this will set if the owners choose New York over the warm locales of South Florida and Tampa. Are all cold-weather cities now in play?

One would assume that New York would move into the regular rotation of Super Bowl host cities, including New Orleans, Miami and Dallas (starting with next year’s game).

Beyond that, though, the future gets a little less clear.

Certainly, cities such as Houston, Tampa, Glendale (Ariz.) and Jacksonville — which have hosted five of the 11 Super Bowls this millennium — would be at risk of falling out of the rotation. Indianapolis, host of the 2012 game, could see its hope of becoming a Super Bowl regular disintegrate before it even materializes.

East-coast cities such as Boston and Philadelphia stand the most to gain from today’s vote, besides New York. With relatively new stadiums and a bevy of sports history, there’s no reason they couldn’t host a Super Bowl, too.

But realistically, it’s unlikely a cold-weather Super Bowl will become anything more than a once-every-five-years occasion. There’s simply too much money at stake for the league’s risk to extend beyond the boarders of the Big Apple.

Scott Miller, who will be a senior at the University of Iowa this fall, is a contributor to the National Football Post. Follow him on Twitter: @stmillr.

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