NEW YORK CITY -- Why, doggone it to heck and hailstones. They're really going to pull it off.
The first Super Bowl to be played outdoors in a cold-weather climate is going to go off right on schedule Sunday, with no scheduled sleet or icicles or herds of Sasquatches conducting the instant replay reviews. The forecast is for temperatures in the 40s with winds of up to 6 miles per hour.
"It looks like it's going to be a lot warmer than we anticipated," said NFL commissioner Roger Goodell at his final media session before the game, trying very hard not to smirk and go "neener-neener-neener."
Sometimes you truly do wonder if the NFL truly can control the weather. A week ago here, the area was all but snowbound and the air was freezing. But the league has lucked out. The conditions should not materially affect the game — even if the folks paying $2,000 for a ticket will have to endure a little chill.
What that means: The most popular sports event in America may return not just to New York, but be awarded to other cold-weather outdoor stadiums and cities. Get ready for Super Bowl bids from Philadelphia, Washington D.C. and Denver. Among others.
And none of that should overjoy anyone in the Bay Area — at least anyone who is looking to see the 49ers' new stadium become a regular stop in the Super Bowl rotation. The game will be played in Santa Clara two years from now. And the thinking has been, if San Francisco and Northern California pull off the event with enough style and efficiency, there could be comeback visits every five or six years — the same as with Miami and New Orleans.
But now, if Sunday's proceedings go off without a hitch, the field is wide open to any region with 30,000 hotel rooms and the will to assemble a Super Bowl bid — even if Goodell was very careful in talking about that issue.
"We know there's interest in other communities hosting the Super Bowl," Goodell said. "We'll all sit back and review it when we're done with this. But we have a very aggressive process in how to select cities. The ability to host a Super Bowl is more and more complicated, more and more complex, because of the size of the event and the number of events."
In other words: Your friendly local NFL mammoth marketing machine might not want to hear from Jacksonville or Kansas City or Green Bay ... but otherwise, the league is all ears.
"There's such a demand for Super Bowls right now," Goodell continued. "The number of cities that are going to get multiple Super Bowls, I think, are incredibly limited ... I believe we need to get to as many communities as possible and give them the opportunity to share not only in the emotional benefits but the economic benefits."
In other words: Denver is already lining up with gift baskets for Goodell.
Oddly enough, the commissioner never addressed the most significant reason that a cold-weather site in February is potentially a hazard: The prospect that a really lousy winter storm could blow in and turn the game into a farce.
That is the true reason such sites are a bad idea. The NFL's luck in 2014 is no indication of future good fortune. Some of us think it's just a horrible idea, period.
Behind the scenes, there are also murmurs that some corporate sponsors have had difficulty convincing their best clients to attend--even with complimentary tickets--because those clients don't want to endure the discomfort. Their idea of a groovy Super Bowl site is someplace warm or indoors.
And ultimately, if enough of those corporate sponsors squawk, that would be enough to make the league pause and reconsider future football coldness. The argument that the NFL has always played bad-weather games ignores the fact that those games are played in home stadiums. Neutral-site corporate crowds are different. They expect more luxury for their big bucks.
Meanwhile, you can't say New York is ignoring the game. Some thought the Super Bowl might be swallowed up by the metropolis. And it's true that the Broncos and Seahawks' jerseys are far more scattered than at most Super Bowl sites. Maybe one in every 50 people is wearing one, as opposed to one in eight or 10 people in New Orleans who were wearing Ravens and 49ers' jerseys last year.
Yet the locals are wallowing in the event. Over the past week, a long section of Broadway was turned into "Super Bowl Boulevard." It featured music and games and, of course, the peculiar American tradition of screaming and waving your hands for the possibility of being tossed a tee shirt with a commercial logo.
A week earlier, snowballs would have been tossed instead. Goodell, who said he will sit outside here Sunday afternoon at MetLife Stadium, owes someone upstairs a whole bunch of NFL licensed merchandise.