Texas has been plunged into a big freeze this week leading to fears over whether the Superbowl will survive the weather this weekend. Pittsburgh Steelers and Green Bay Packers fans will be waiting on tenterhooks to find out if the unexpected snow storms will lead to the cancellation of the XLV (45th) Superbowl.
It was on Wednesday that a blanket of snow was hurled across the Texan landscape, bringing it with it an icy furore and bitter cold winds that shutdown power plants and airports, and turned roads into ice rinks.
The Cowboys Stadium is of course a state of the art Mecca; it can house over 100’000 fans in its various seating arrangements and 300 executive suites, while for those at the back there’s a 160 x 70 foot video wall suspended from the closed dome ceiling which puts you right in the centre of the action.
With the covered roof, masses of bodies and that HUGE TV SET in there, there’s no fear of the pitch becoming frozen. The only possible problems that could affect the big event will likely come from power shortages.
A few local power stations succumbed to the weather earlier in the week which left thousands of homes in the dark, while the occupants had to endure a rough few hours in frozen conditions. Utility workers moved quickly to rectify the situation, but with a -6 cold snap expected on the big day they’ll be going all out to make sure nothing gets in the way.
On Wednesday Greg Aiello, an NFL spokesperson broadcast a Twitter message just after sun-up to inform the world that media activities would go to plan. He was true to his word and with the roof closed the Packers, Steelers and a whole clutch of reporters continued with their business ahead of Sunday’s game.
“The show goes on,” Aiello wrote. “Media day is on schedule. Drive carefully.”
The North Texas climate is usually moderate but this cold front has shown a frostier nature to the oil capital’s wintry side.
Players on both sides have felt the pinch too; even the Packers who must feel the cold conditions give them a little home comfort and advantage.
“It’s a little too cold for me,” said Green Bay linebacker Clay Matthews. “Texas is supposed to be hot and humid. I was looking forward to that. I am a California guy.”
Steelers safety Ryan Clark was like a stuck record as he repeatedly said, “Man, it’s freezing in here!” between questions, and his team mate Hines Ward added, “It’s crazy. I didn’t even think it could snow in Texas!”
On how badly the storm affected Texas and potentially the game, Suppovitz of the NFL said, “Wherever you go, you always want to have a contingency plan. In South Florida, we have a contingency plan for flooding. In Detroit, we had a contingency plan for snow. In Indianapolis next year, we’ll have similar plan like that for deep cold and snow.”
“Here, we had a contingency plan for frozen precipitation because ice is the thing that you have to be most concerned about.”
Michael Morris, the director of transportation for the North Central Texas Council of Governments, said sand truck crews gave the “bad storm” everything they had to keep roads clear.
“I don’t think the question is we will never have a Super Bowl again in a town that has had weather or the potential for bad weather,” he said. “I think they want to showcase the investment they’ve made in their stadiums. I think the judgment will be how ‘was our response?’ And I’m proud of our response.”
So it looks like the big game is going o be fine. It can snow all it likes with that big roof covering the stadium; and once the big event kicks of, the players and fans won’t care in the slightest what the weather is doing outside.
Let us know who you think will win this year’s Superbowl by leaving a comment.
While you wait for the big game reflect on some NFL legends like George Blanda, Don Meredith, Patrick Chung, Julius Peppers, and the best that never made it – Marcus Dupree.
images: blogs.sitepoint.com, sportsosphere.com