As soon as the NFL declared that the 2014 Super Bowl would be hosted at MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, N.J., speculation began that cold temperatures and poor weather conditions could be a prevalent storyline surrounding the game.
Those projections seem to be on the verge of becoming a reality, as latest weather forecasts and predictions are painting a clearer picture of what to expect on the evening of Feb. 2.
Accuweather.com believes that there will be a high of 40 degrees Fahrenheit and a low of 25 degrees, with winds blowing six-to-12 miles per hour. There are decent odds that some precipitation falls from the heavens, with early estimates being a 30 percent chance of rain or snow.
However, there’s no guarantee that these early forecasts come true. According to Jon Erdman of The Weather Channel, specifics such as the amount of snow, speed of the wind and exact temperature cannot be accurately projected until next week. However, he did note that there are some troubling patterns emerging from the models:
Some extended forecast guidance suggests the southward dip in the upper-level jet stream, a so-called trough, may become centered farther west, with the flow aloft becoming more zonal, or more west-to-east.
In this scenario, an upper-level disturbance sweeping through the jet stream could wrap moisture into the persisting Northeast cold air.
Basically the potential exists for at least a light East Coast snow event late next week into next weekend.
This could be troubling news for the NFL and its fans, although there are contingency plans in place for the Super Bowl to be moved if the weather is perceived to be dangerous and a hazard to public safety.
According to Keith Sargeant of USA Today, the league office would consider moving the big game to Saturday, Feb. 1 or Monday, Feb. 3 if needed. However, it would take a massive storm—bigger than the one that just sprinkled more than a foot of snow on most of New Jersey—to reschedule the game away from its traditional Sunday kickoff.
Eric Grubman, the NFL’s vice president of business operations, spoke at length about the topic during a press conference Wednesday, as per Sargeant:
What goes into whether deciding to (move) it, first of all, is public safety. Unless it was a state of emergency which affected public resources in a way that made it impossible to get the resources here, or any kind of declaration by any of the authorities from the states involved that made it difficult to travel safety to and from the stadium, we would absolutely respect that.
With more than 100 million viewers expected to tune in and 80,000-plus attending live, rescheduling an event like this is no easy matter. Fortunately, it doesn’t seem anyone is predicting the sort of large-magnitude blizzard that could derail the game’s 6:25 p.m. ET kickoff.
The players could have some issues, even if it’s just cold and lightly snowing. ESPN’s John Clayton is giving an edge to the Seattle Seahawks over the Denver Broncos in these expected conditions, telling Kristen Rodman of Accuweather.com:
"On a neutral field, in a dome, Denver would have a better chance, but the weather conditions, I do think, are going to affect them…
Seattle, if it's going to be away from home, would have a better chance in colder weather than the Denver Broncos, just by the way they are constructed."
One thing is certain; the conditions aren’t going to be an unexpected variable for either team. Both sides knew well in advance of punching a ticket to this contest that a New Jersey-based Super Bowl would be cold and potentially snowy.
These are issues that each team will have to come up with a way to deal with, making this one of the more unique championship games in league history.
Barring a shocking rescheduling, make sure you tune in to catch the action on Feb. 2. Here’s the rest of the viewing information you’ll need to be more informed and enjoy the contest.
Super Bowl XLVIII Viewing Information
Date: Sunday, Feb. 2
Where: MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, N.J.
Start Time: 6:25 p.m. ET
TV Info: Fox
Live Stream: FoxSports.com
Mobile: Fox Sports Go Mobile App
Spread: Denver -2 (via ScoresAndOdds.com)