Why the Weather Will Not Be an Issue at Super Bowl XLVIII

Michael FitzpatrickFeatured ColumnistJanuary 23, 2014

A football with the Super Bowl XLVIII logo is set on a mound of snow as an for an NFL photographer to make photos of it as workers shovel snow off the seating area at MetLife Stadium as crews removed snow ahead of Super Bowl XLVIII following a snow storm, Wednesday, Jan. 22, 2014, in East Rutherford, N.J. Super Bowl XLVIII, which will be played between the Denver Broncos and the Seattle Seahawks on Feb. 2, will be the first NFL title game held outdoors in a city where it snows. (AP Photo/Julio Cortez)
Julio Cortez/Associated Press

Leading up to Super Bowl XLVIII, there will understandably be a lot of talk about the weather conditions at MetLife Stadium.

How cold will it be?

Will it snow?

Will the NFL change the date or time of the game to avoid any kind of public safety catastrophe?

Analysts will, of course, breakdown Peyton Manning’s supposed struggles in colder temperatures and evaluate which team will have a perceived advantage over the other in every weather condition imaginable.

All of this is inevitable. After all, it is much easier to fill up two-to-three hour preview shows with at least some talk about the weather.

And as the initial long-range forecasts begin to trickle in, Super Bowl XLVIII will almost certainly be the coldest Super Bowl on record.

Weather Underground is showing a low of 13 degrees on the evening of February 2, with winds coming out of the Northwest at 10-15 miles per hour.

Of course, anyone who has ever been to MetLife Stadium will know all too well that you can add at least five miles per hour onto any local wind forecast, creating wind gusts of up to 20 miles per hour, which will likely drive the wind chill temperature to somewhere around zero degrees by kickoff.

Weather.com’s 10-day forecast currently reaches to Saturday, February 1, but it's showing a low of 20 degrees with winds coming out of the Northwest at 10 miles per hour.

Myforecast.com is calling for a high of 25 degrees and a low of 13 on February 2, with winds at 13 miles per hour coming out of the Northwest.

As we all know, weather forecasts can change dramatically from day-to-day, even more so from week-to-week. But as of right now, virtually every long-range weather forecast is painting a similar picture for the evening of February 2 at MetLife Stadium—it will be dry but extremely cold with a moderate amount of wind.

So, which team will have an advantage in these weather conditions?

Well, this writer believes that, as usual, many fans and analysts are placing far too much emphasis on the weather conditions.

Manning's poor record in colder conditions has been well documented.

That being said, on December 8 of last year, Manning threw for 297 yards and four touchdowns against the Tennessee Titans in the fifth-coldest game in Broncos history—the temperature was 14 degrees at kickoff.

Just two weeks ago, Manning threw for 230 yards and two touchdowns in the Broncos' AFC Divisional Playoff victory against the San Diego Charges in what was one of the coldest home playoff games in franchise history. The winds that day were also gusting well above 25 miles per hour, which not only dropped the temperature even lower, but also created a more difficult environment to throw the football.

Manning also managed to throw for 247 yards in very wet and rainy conditions in the Indianapolis Colts' 29-17 victory over the Chicago Bears at Super Bowl XLI.

So, while Manning may only have a career 12-12 record in games where the temperature is below 40 degrees at the time of kickoff and is just 4-7 when playing in temperatures that are below freezing, he has performed extremely well during the last two cold weather games he has played in.

But let’s look beyond just Manning’s performance in cold weather conditions and focus on some of the other brilliant big-game predictions that have been made based on weather conditions in recent years.

Remember when the football world was abuzz with how terrible Drew Brees and the New Orleans Saints had been on the road, particularly in colder conditions...well, how did that work out?

The Saints went into a frigid Lincoln Financial Field and defeated the Philadelphia Eagles, 26-24, while Brees completed 20 of 30 passes for 250 yards.

Then, there was the major advantage that the Green Bay Packers supposedly had over the San Francisco 49ers in sub-zero temperatures at Lambeau Field during Wild Card Weekend...and how did that work out?

Well, Colin Kaepernick threw for 227 yards in a 23-20 victory over the Packers.

Remember when the New York Giants were said to have been at such a disadvantage in the 2008 NFC Championship when the temperature was one below zero with a wind chill factor of -23 at kickoff?

Eli Manning had never played in conditions even remotely close to what he faced that night in Green Bay, and Brett Favre was going to easily outgun him and the Giants defense...and how did that one work out?

Manning threw for 254 yards in a 23-20 victory over the Packers.

Essentially, every single time that the so-called "experts" have made game predictions based on the weather conditions in recent years, they have been dead wrong.

If we have learned anything, it is that the weather actually has much less of an impact on the outcome of a game than most experts typically predict.

If there was a large amount of snow in the forecast or some form of hurricane-like conditions moving toward New Jersey on February 2, then maybe the advantage would lean toward the Seattle Seahawks and their strong running game.

But cold and dry temperatures, which are currently forecast for Super Bowl XLVIII, will not really favor one team or the other, no matter how many hours experts spend discussing the matter.

For months now, people have been tossing around doom-and-gloom weather scenarios for Super Bowl XLVIII and detailing why these imagined conditions will favor one team over another.

But the way it looks right now, the only people who will really be affected by cold and dry conditions on February 2 will be the 83,000 fans who will undoubtedly be wishing they had waited a year to attend Super Bowl XLIX in Arizona.

It’s time for people to stop focusing on the weather and start focusing on football, because if you make any form of a prediction based on the weather, recent history has shown that you will probably be wrong.

Unless otherwise specified, all statistics for this article came from nfl.com or pro-football-reference.com.


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