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Pro Football Weekly's Eric Edholm brings you hot news and the inside scoop about the NFL.

Money, not weather, was the deciding factor in granting New York/New Jersey a Super Bowl

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By Eric Edholm

Some disinterested parties actually like the notion of a New York-area Super Bowl. They contend that it would be even bigger than the game itself under normal circumstances. And the early evidence suggests that the buzz will be significant.

Normally, the talk of future Super Bowl sites merits barely a ripple in NFL media circles. But this is a big deal — with weather at the perceived center of the storm.

Cold-weather outdoor games, and even championship games, have been at the heart of the NFL since its inception. The 1958 title game often is hailed as the greatest football game ever played, or certainly one of the more seismic. Classic conference championship titles have been settled in bitter temperatures. The Ice Bowl in ’67. The oft-forgotten ’82 AFC title game between the Bengals and Chargers. And most recently, the Packers-Giants game in Green Bay that went against the home team with the supposed climate advantage.

Other than whiny corporate types, wimpy celebrities and soft media members who want their warm-weather week in the sun, why would this game be a bad idea?

Are we worried about what the halftime show logistics will be? Of course not.

There are few cities better-equipped to handle the Super Bowl than New York. Of course, therein lies the rub: The game will not be in New York, but rather across the river in New Jersey. Area fans know this routine well, but it might come as a bit of a system shock to the socialites who are staying in Manhattan all week, having to be chauffeured several miles to the less-desirable Garden State.

And let’s have no illusions here. The Super Bowl is not about the fans. Oh, it once was. But not anymore. It’s about corporate sponsorships and big, big money. That’s ultimately what earned this bid, and nothing else. Super Bowl week is as much about the six days leading up to the game as it is Super Sunday, maybe even more so in a way.

Michael Irvin, on the NFL Network set during the pre-announcement show, perhaps summed it up best: “The Super Bowl is a weeklong event. You know, the parties … how do we get to the parties? These are big concerns.”

They are big, Mike, and it shows the line of thinking here: Follow the money one day at a time. The NFL has created a seven-day Macy’s Day Parade here. It has refashioned New York Fashion Week with shoulder pads and eyeblack. This is like the ball dropping on Times Square … veeeeeeerrrryyy slowly. Every minute of hype and buildup is another several thousand dollars cashed in.

Building a new, shiny stadium is not the only reason New York got its successful bid. Really, other than the game, New Jersey is going to be the odd state out here. It’s clear that the draw is everything the Big Apple offers.

As for a cold-weather game, I’ll do my best player imitation and say, “Stop whining!” Would it be strange and perhaps unfortunate if there was a blizzard for the game? Oh, sure. But would it also not be historic and memorable? You bet.

And really, when it came down to the voting, even with the warm-weather clause in the Super Bowl agreement, weather probably became an ancillary issue. It’s just as likely to rain in Miami (a la the Slop Fest XLI between the Colts and Bears a few years ago) or Tampa as it is to snow in New York. Money, not precipitation, cashes the checks in the owners’ minds, especially heading into some potentially wintry bargaining sessions with the players’ union over the next year and perhaps beyond.

I suppose I am a little ambivalent on the matter, knowing that New York would make a fine host city and that the buzz would be supersized but also that weather and logistics could prove to be frosty impediments.

But no matter which way you spin it, the NFL has once again proven itself as the master of marketing. This game — and NFL Network’s lead-up show, for crying out loud — proves as much.

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