The snow falling Saturday on New York City a day ahead of the Seattle Seahawks game against the New York Giants was more than just a quaint reminder winter is upon us.
It also provided a potential preview of what might be in store in February when New York hosts Super Bowl XLVIII at MetLife Stadium.
We'll have to wait and see if snow is part of the festivities. But chances are it will be cold — as in bitterly cold.
Playing outdoors in the northeast in the dead of winter will serve as an interesting change of pace to the often controlled conditions of a domed stadium or the mild weather in sunny locales like Miami and Tampa Bay, but for some of us it will raise a curious question.
Why aren't Super Bowls played in Los Angeles anymore?
And then we catch ourselves and remember Los Angeles is without an NFL team and how the NFL, forever playing mind and money games, vowed never to put a Super Bowl in a city that doesn't host one of its teams.
Which, when you think about it, is the NFL's way of lighting a fire under L.A. to hurry back into professional football by building a suitable stadium – a quest that has been going on far longer than the 18 seasons that have passed since the Rams and Raiders bolted the City of Angels.
But then we remember a fully cleared, fully funded stadium project is ready to begin construction in downtown Los Angeles.
Farmers Field, the privately financed Philip Anschutz (AEG) project adjacent to Staples Center, is waiting for a team to agree to move here to start construction.
All of which is a roundabout way of asking what the heck is going on and how closer are we today to enticing the NFL back to Los Angeles than we were a year or even six months ago?
The answer is difficult to gauge. Any talk between the NFL and Los Angeles is on the hush-hush since any team moving to move here also signals a team leaving its current city.
And that's a public-relations nightmare no one wants to deal with.
So don't expect anything substantial until after the season.
The NFL continues to maintain firm control of the process, which is why it set guidelines 17 months ago in a league-wide memo reminding everyone L.A. remains the property of the league and any potential move must be regulated by the NFL.
A more recent memo in October reiterated that control, only in even stricter language, by warning teams angling to buy land in Los Angeles — say, on which to build a stadium — the NFL reserves the right to negotiate its own stadium deal regardless.
Basically, the NFL is closing any loopholes individual teams can crawl through while maintaining control of the process.
The NFL continues to coyly play the negotiating game, its most recent comments on L.A. offered by commissioner Roger Goodell in late October when he discussed the possibility of his league landing in Los Angeles or London.
“I'd love to be back in Los Angeles, but it has to be done the right way; we have to do it successfully,” Goodell said. “I want both (cities), but it doesn't matter which one is first.”
It's all part of Goodell's go-to message about Los Angeles and the need for it to be “done the right way (and) we have to do it successfully.”
Essentially, he's saying he doesn't want any screw-ups that might result in a failed return to L.A., but the deal also has to make sense for the moving team and the league.
And we all know that means it has to make financial sense, and in NFL talk that means making money hand over fist.
We get that, but then we look at terribly attended games in Jacksonville; a giant tarp being used in Oakland to cover up unsold seats; and stadium stalemates in Oakland, San Diego and St. Louis and wonder how much longer the NFL can play the charade that Los Angeles doesn't offer a better option compared to those cities.
Or that, while the deal being brokered by Anschutz might not be ideal at the moment, there remains room for negotiating and L.A. certainly is a more lucrative option than the dead end occurring in Oakland, which can't build a new stadium and ranks last in attendance, or the stadium impasses in St. Louis and San Diego — both of which rank within the bottom nine in attendance — and the mess in Jacksonville, where support for the Jaguars has sagged despite being the only pro sport in town.
Those are four teams laboring at the bottom of attendance and facing serious stadium issues.
One of them has to eventually break, right?
It makes you wonder just how serious Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones is when he insists the NFL is as close to returning to L.A. as it has been in years.
This is what Jones, who sits on the league's stadium committee, told me last July in Oxnard, Calif., when the Cowboys opened training camp: “I say that not just wishing,” Jones said. “I say that technically because I am aware of some things that make sense. There are some viable ways for a team, or teams, to be in Los Angeles. And we've got some very talented, very qualified people who want to be a part of it that are not a part of the league right now.
“And we've obviously got people within the league that want this very much.”
That circles right back to which team is most likely to consider Los Angeles a new home.
At the moment the Rams sit at atop the list because of their standstill with their current stadium, the Edward Jones Dome.
Earlier this year, city leaders rejected $700 million in publicly funded upgrades sought by the Rams to satisfy a clause they negotiated upon re-locating to St. Louis from Anaheim in 1995.
The lease requires the dome, which opened when the Rams arrived from Southern California in 1995, remain among the top quarter of the 32 NFL stadiums.
In rejecting the required price tag to meet that stipulation, St. Louis triggered a clause that enables the Rams to break their 30-year lease after the 2014 season. City leaders remain hopeful something can be worked out, but every day that passes without an agreement or a deal for a new stadium in the St. Louis area means Los Angeles looms larger and larger.
In the meantime, Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon has taken over negotiations with Rams owner Stan Kroenke after arbitration between the team and city leaders failed.
St. Louis Visitors Commission chairman Andrew Leonard said he's been assured by Nixon that keeping the Rams in St. Louis is a top priority.
“The governor told me he was going to (keep the Rams in St. Louis),” Leonard said earlier this month during a quarterly meeting of the sports authority's governing board. “I took him at his word.”
Meanwhile, in Oakland and San Diego, the Raiders and Chargers wage ongoing battles to secure new stadiums, but neither is any closer to accomplishing their objective than they were more than a decade ago when they started.
The Chargers can buy out of their lease at any time. The Raiders' lease is up at the end of the 2014 season.
As for Jacksonville, the Jaguars continue to languish in a slow market, and it's only a matter of time before their ownership group seriously considers better options.
That's a lot of teams on the verge of needing a new home.
And with the NFL feeling the need to reiterate the guidelines for moving here, you begin to wonder just how close Angelenos really are to getting team back.