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Saturday, May 26, 2018
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Martin Fennelly Columns

Fennelly: Embrace the cold? Good luck, Super Bowl fans

The Super Bowl is going to freeze its Roman numerals off. That we know. The latest forecast calls for highs in the XXXs in the New York-New Jersey area, lows in the XXs, with a 30 percent chance of snow.

Have no fear: There are plows in place, front-loaders and salt trucks, ready to remove the snow, slush or frozen Richard Sherman quotes. If anyone needs to warm their hands and feet, New Jersey governor Chris Christie is going to be burning tollbooth traffic cones all week.

The NFL, too, has various contingency plans, including moving the proceedings, though not to Tampa, which, once upon a time, lost out to New York in the bidding for this particular Bowl. Great call there, guys.

The game could be moved to Friday, or the following Monday, to get in front of or behind any storm.

Winter has always had the homefield advantage, since the very beginning of the Ice Age, which came right after the worst 11 o'clock Storm Team AccuWeather forecast in history (“... so you might take along a sweater.”). Even our hard work and best efforts at global warming might not save America's Game.

The Farmer's Almanac predicted that the Northeast could be hit by a large winter storm Super Bowl weekend. It also predicts “piercing and biting” cold. It also says it's not a good time to plant Brussels sprouts. Actually, I say that. I hate Brussels sprouts.

I blow hot and cold on this Super Bowl.

On one hand, the one in the mitten, this idea is an absolute zero. This is the NFL being the No One is Going To Tell Us Where To Play league. Its owners, 32 sultans, take turns hosting sports' biggest stage in their stadiums. Follow the money. If you follow it outside, dress in layers.

Some memorable history has been written in bad climes. I'm thinking about the minus-15 “Ice Bowl,” Cowboys defensive linemen trying to dig a toehold in the tundra before Starr followed Kramer into the end zone. And don't forget the Russian winter, 1812. I do not believe Napoleon covered the spread.

OK, it's not as if Broncos coach John Fox and Seahawks coach Pete Carroll are heading the Amundsen and Scott expeditions. The Broncos come from Denver, where it snows. The Seahawks come from Seattle, where it pours.

Let's give the lads a chance.

I'd also like to remind you that there have been a lot of lousy Super Bowls that have been played in great conditions or indoors. And Garo Yepremian, the man, the muff, occurred under sunny skies, temperatures in the 80s. Jackie Smith dropped that pass from Roger Staubach on a warm Miami night. Leon Lett was stripped by Don Beebe on a pleasant evening in Pasadena. And Janet Jackson was stripped by Justin Timberlake with the roof on in Houston.

True, Peyton Manning's legacy might be riding on the weather. Manning won his first Super Bowl in a driving rain, against Lovie Smith's Bears. But now he might have to throw frozen footballs with all the in-flight consistency of pig iron. And if the wind turns barbaric, Manning will doubtless have some choice words for the heavens as we read his blue lips.

NFL commissioner Roger Goodell, ever the trooper (annual salary: $29.5 million) has vowed to go full Nanook and sit in the open stands with normal fans, if you consider paying thousands of dollars to sit in a meat freezer normal.

I'm pulling for everyone and their sled dogs. And I like run- and defense-oriented Seattle over Denver in the last outdoor cold-weather Super Bowl.

Watch out for your Brussels sprouts, kids.

Me? I'm going to get my blankie.

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