This Sunday, Super Bowl XLVIII (48) will be played in an open-air stadium, built atop a New Jersey swamp, in 2 degree weather, while pretending it’s actually taking place in New York.
I don’t know what confederacy of dunces within the NFL thought this was a good idea. It might be the worst idea. It’s shaping up to be the saddest Super Bowl ever.
For starters, it’s certainly going to be the coldest. Weather guys are talking about 2 to 7 degrees. Ticket prices are dropping by thousands of dollars. People are trying to get rid of their seats rather than sit through the pain of a sub-arctic February night outdoors. Not to mention the shlep. If it snows that day, the highways and byways between NY and NJ will become so impassable you’ll need to leave your family permanently and start a new one somewhere around Teaneck Township off of the I-80.
As far as the pre-game festivities, if there were ever a city that couldn’t give a f*** about something the rest of the country is excited about, it’s New York City. Specifically Manhattan. When the Super Bowl hits other cities, like Miami or New Orleans, all the stops are pulled out and the week-long party literally takes over the town. The locals get into the spirit, businesses play it up and people from around the country (along with their tourism dollars) are welcomed warmly.
In contrast, here’s what we did in New York:
1. The two main focal points for the pre-game “party” are located at Times Square and Herald Square. There are two places in Manhattan that no native New Yorker will ever set foot in, for any reason, ever: Times Square and Herald Square. I know people who’ve quit jobs or broken up relationships because their route involved traipsing through either of these places. Times Square is essentially a petting zoo New Yorkers have set up so that they can see real-live Americans up-close in a protected environment and maybe feed them something. Herald Square, the triangle anchored by Macy*s, is what your town’s main strip mall would look like if they were to airlift unnavigable crowds and an aggressive traffic snarl right smack in front of it and slather the pavement in a gauzy layer of perma-grime and chewed gum.
2. Speaking of Macy*s, in a concession to the fact that we’re “hosting the game” this year, someone managed to put a handful of banners up on the street lamps designating the stretch of 34th Street between 7th and Broadway as “Super Bowl Boulevard” – whatever that means. Apart from the dozen or so sorry-looking flags fluttering above, there is no other sign of this supposed “transformation” anywhere.
3. Did I mention that it’s wet, dirty and cold? Like walking through a giant filth-flavored Slurpee puddle? The Chili Peppers at halftime will never have been quite this chilly. Bruno Mars will be frozen into a walking, talking Frappuccino. Here’s a pic I snapped on my way to the office this morning:
Ohmygod it’s like I’ve been magically transported to some sort of Pigskin Paradise! Come on.
4. New York is not really a party town, midtown especially. You can’t eat lunch for less than twelve dollars and dinner in this city is thirty bucks and up. The nightclubs are forbiddingly haughty toward out-of-towners and completely unwelcoming. The bars are fine but totally inauthentic if they’re within the Super Bowl Boulevard vicinity. You can can get drunk at Bubba Gump’s Shrimp Company or whatever, but you’re not exactly getting the flavor of the New York.
5. Did I mention, the game is not even taking place in New York City. Hell, it’s not even taking place in New York State. They’re playing in New Jersey. Which is its own world. Why the staging isn’t taking place there instead of Manhattan I don’t know. Oh yes I do know: No one gets excited to come to a Hoboken or Newark Super Bowl.
6. Lastly, there is next to no affinity for the two competing teams here, neither is located near us geographically and not many of our citizens have been transplanted from the Pacific Northwest or the Colorado Rockies. It’s just not that big of a thing, there’s very little connection. Talk to someone on the streets of Harlem or the West Village or Murray Hill about Seattle, the only association they’ll be able to form will be like “Oh, is that where Starbucks is from?” or “Isn’t that where Frasier Crane killed Kurt Cobain or something?” As far as the Denver Broncos, well, they have the “Awesome Manning” while we simply content ourselves with having the “Pretty Damn Good Manning.” So if anything, there’s more bitterness and envy than there is camaraderie.
The bottom line, I love my city and we’re good at a lot of things – but hosting the Super Bowl in the dead of winter just isn’t one of them. Hopefully this is the last and only attempt the NFL makes at a New York Super Bowl ever again.
Unless we get a dome.