Shelby: This crazy cold weather just isn’t going away! The polar vortex is back and it is bringing frigid temperatures to much of the country. It has schools closed across the Midwest. And in the South, states are bracing for a very rare winter storm. But one thing the polar vortex hasn’t stopped? The Super Bowl! As Demetrius Pipkin tells us, game plans and football fans are ready to brave the cold.
Demetrius: That is right, Shelby. On Sunday, the Denver Broncos and the Seattle Seahawks face off in Super Bowl XLVIII in New Jersey. And the weather is all that everyone is talking about. But for now, people just want to have some fun. And the pre-game action is right here in New York City. Thirteen blocks of Broadway in Midtown Manhattan now make up Super Bowl Boulevard.
But it hasn’t been easy getting ready for the NFL’s first-ever cold weather outdoor Super Bowl. Many say this might be one of the most challenging in history. Even Green Bay has a heated field to help melt snow and ice, but not MetLife Stadium in New Jersey. Players will be at the weather’s mercy. The NFL isn’t worried, according to CBS Sports NFL insider, Jason La Confora.
Jason La Confora: They hope that this becomes something that when people start talking about legendary Super Bowls, ‘Remember the one where it snowed?’ I mean, that’s what they want.
Demetrius: The average temperature of kickoff at a Super Bowl is 66 degrees. The league usually requires a minimum temperature of 50 degrees or a roof on the stadium. But in 2010, the league waived those requirements, allowing New Jersey to host the game.
The teams say they are not worried about it either.
Russell Wilson: We’ll be prepared to do whatever it takes to win and make sure that we’re doing everything we can to protect the football and make plays, and hopefully it snows. That would be kind of fun to play the Super Bowl XLVIII in the snow.
John Fox: To be a championship football team you got to be weatherproof. And, you know, I think our football team played in all different elements this year.
Demetrius: That is good because snow may be in the forecast for this week.
The anticipated 500,000 fans flocking to New York and New Jersey hotels, restaurants and bars might have to worry about flight delays or cancellations. The NFL says that Super Bowl XLVIII could generate as much as $600 million for the city and state economies. But bad weather could actually mean bigger business.
Donna: Folks may actually come in earlier. So, there may be an actual uptick in the economics of bad weather.
Demetrius: Battling the elements isn’t the only challenge. Law enforcement officials are hurrying to make sure one of the world’s most watched sporting events is also the safest.
Lt. Col. Edward Cetna: We’ll hopefully mitigate any type of threat that comes in here, whether it be waterborne, somebody just acting suspiciously, trying to come into a perimeter to prove a point.
Demetrius: This week, MetLife Stadium will go into lockdown with a perimeter fence and vehicle checkpoints. Come game day, fans can expect airport-type screening and then some. Four thousand officers from dozens of agencies will watch over the area. SWAT team divers, sniffer dogs, bomb units, and even a mobile hospital complete with a surgery ward will be in place.
Lt. Col. Cetna: We’re approaching it, basically, from an air, land and sea concept. And hopefully, none of this will come to fruition, but we have to be prepared to take any of this on.
Demetrius: And it is anybody’s guess what the conditions will actually be come kickoff, which is scheduled for 6:25 pm Eastern Time on Sunday night.
Shelby, back to you.
Shelby: Thanks, Demetrius.
And if you are feeling the football fever, head to Channelone.com to see if you can dominate our Super Bowl quiz.