PHOENIX – It rained here Monday. And by “rain,’’ I mean a few drops. The official amount of precipitation was .01 of an inch, or about the depth of Bill Belichick’s conscience.
That’s how you do a Super Bowl. You don’t let foul weather even think of intruding. You don’t let nature decide anything other than how many dangerous UV rays to beam at tourists.
As I write this, the temperature in Phoenix is 73. I’m not trying to make you unfortunates in Chicago jealous. That’s just a bonus. I want you to understand that this is where the Super Bowl is supposed to be — or places just like it. Tampa or San Diego or Tahiti.
Football was meant to be played in all kinds of weather. The Super Bowl wasn’t. Football is a vicious game often played in harsh conditions by people with hands clawed by the cold. Meteorologically, the Super Bowl is a spa day.
The Super Bowl should be played in ideal conditions and, under no circumstances, in a domed stadium. The week leading up to it should be warm and sunny so that people from cold-weather climes can visit, thaw, decide to stay, live off the grid and sell turquoise jewelry on the side of the road.
Why do I care so much? I care because of Minneapolis.
The fact that our friends to the north will play host to the 2018 Super Bowl is beyond insane, and not just because Minnesota in early February is a snow cave. The idea of Minneapolis getting the Super Bowl is beyond insane because it already has hosted one, in 1992. I was there. It was – what’s the word? – cold.
Did no one learn his lesson the first time?
The game is tentatively set for Feb. 4, 2018. The record low temperature for Minneapolis on Feb. 4 is minus-28. Not wind chill or feels-like temperature. Minus-28, period. Let’s call it the real-feel temperature, as in, “I really can’t feel my extremities anymore.’’
We all know what this is about: Politicians agreed to use taxpayer money to pay for a new domed football stadium to replace the homely Metrodome and keep the Vikings, and in return the NFL promised the city a Super Bowl. That purportedly means lots of tourist money for Minneapolis, but it stinks for the fans who will stream into town to watch their team play in the big game, only to find that their umbrella drinks are wearing earmuffs.
My great fear is that Chicagoans, envious of Minneapolitans, will start clamoring again for a bid. Three years ago, Mayor Rahm Emanuel met with NFL commissioner Roger Goodell to discuss the possibility of the city hosting the Super Bowl. Emanuel is still interested in playing host.
“We talked about why [not] Chicago?’’ he said in 2012. “Just two weeks ago, [we] had a bunch of world leaders here. Sixth-largest NATO summit. And if we can do that, it would be an appropriate place to have a Super Bowl.’’
But nobody summits outside in the cold and snow, not even a bare-chested Vladimir Putin at a Russia-European Union summit. Tourists don’t flock to summits.
The 2015 NFL draft is more our speed. It will be held indoors April 30-May 2 at the Auditorium Theatre, where Mel Kiper Jr.’s hair can’t be buffeted by winds. That’s how we roll.
I’m still not over the fact that the Super Bowl was played in New Jersey last season. Just because a snowstorm missed the New York area by a few days last year didn’t make choosing it as the site of a Super Bowl a good idea. And just because a major blizzard took a wrong turn this week and missed the Big Apple is not a reminder that the NFL got it right last year. It’s reminder that the league got very, very lucky.
One of these days, the weatherman is going to be right.
Patriots owner Robert Kraft would like New England to host a Super Bowl – the same New England that just got nailed with a blizzard. He’s crazy and watches games from a suite.
The more enlightened understand what’s important.
“I definitely like the Super Bowl being in a warm-weather place,’’ said Patriots wide receiver Brandon LaFell, who prudently grew up in balmy Houston. “We’ve been practicing in the freezing cold the last three or four weeks. I love it being out here.’’
There is a reason the Super Bowl is supposed to be in places like Phoenix. The reason is the orange orb glowing in the blue sky and emitting enough heat to make people swear off long sleeves. Follow the sun.