It is official: the wussification of America is 100% complete.
I am aghast at the number of sorry, whining, soft, wine-drinking-and-cheese-eating, corporate luxury box-inhabiting, finesse football-coddling takes I have heard in opposition to holding the Super Bowl outdoors in New Jersey in February. In the name of Vince Lombardi, have you people no pride? No sense of history? No allegiance to the mythology of the game?
If I hear one more person argue that playing football in anything other than perfect climate conditions is somehow unfair to teams that play in domes (Indianapolis, Minnesota, New Orleans) or in perpetually perfect climate conditions (San Diego, Tampa, Miami), I’m going on a national, three-finger slapping rampage (because they aren’t worthy of the whole hand). Are these people absolutely kidding me? Those teams use their domes and sunshine to their advantage all year long- just as the Pats, Steelers and Packers enjoy the advantages of horrific weather late in the season. Nobody suggests that this is unfair during the regular season, because that would be making the value judgment that finesse, chuck-it-around offenses are more entitled to their preferred surroundings than the grind-it-out, run-over-you teams. Demanding that the Super Bowl always be played under perfect playing conditions is like insisting that the dome teams never have to play on the road. From a purely football perspective, it’s absurd.
In fact, it is borderline insulting to football fans who have loved watching games in bad weather for decades. Myself included, as you can see from the picture posted above. That was taken in December, 2005 in Cleveland, at about 7 a.m. The Browns played the Jaguars that day in what was an utterly meaningless game. It was my first time to Cleveland, and my buddy Tim and I planned it hoping for weather exactly like we got. You know why? BECAUSE THAT IS REAL FOOTBALL WEATHER. I grew up in Huntington Beach, California, and even I know that. So it might get cold. WAAAAAAAAAH!
The only reasonable argument against cold-weather Super Bowls is that fans don’t want to spend Super Bowl money to travel to cold weather destinations. Legitimate concern. But you know what? I really don’t spend a lot of time worrying about the NFL’s ability to drive tourism. I’m a football fan. And that means that when my team is playing in the Super Bowl, or there is a potentially epic matchup, I want to be there if I can. And this is in NEW YORK, one of the world’s most incredible cities. If you’re the NFL, and you just held a Super Bowl in Detroit a couple years ago, can you really make a straight-faced argument that cold-weather destinations are a bad idea? Or that the only thing keeping you from holding it in a global metropolis is a roof? Please.
Football is a cold weather sport, played by men. You are supposed to be tough to play it. Football was born in Ohio, where I can assure you the winter weather can be a “factor.” A game called the Ice Bowl is one of the more storied in the sport’s history. Fans that attended that game wear it like a badge of honor, as would I were I so lucky to attend a Super Bowl, regardless of the weather. In fact, if my Browns ever pull it together and make it to the Super Bowl, you can bet your wimpy, warm ass I’ll be praying for snow.