If noted tough guy and football legend Mike Ditka believes that playing the Super Bowl in a cold-weather atmosphere is a bad idea, it really means something.
Ditka went on record to criticize the NFL's decision to hold Super Bowl XLVIII at MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, N.J.
"The weather’s going to be a problem,” he said bluntly, per Carlos Monarrez of the Detroit Free Press. “They made a big mistake. The game shouldn’t be there. I mean, it’s stupid."
The former Chicago Bears and New Orleans Saints head coach added that poor weather would only be a detriment to the players:
First of all, it’s not fair to the players. It’s not going to be fair to the fans. It’s not going to be that enjoyable.
I mean, I understand it’s the Super Bowl and it’s a privilege to play in the Super Bowl. It’d be nice to be playing in Miami or San Diego or New Orleans or somewhere the weather is conducive to guys being able to show their talents.
The fact that Ditka—someone for whom adjectives like compassionate and empathetic are rarely used—is complaining about the playing conditions speaks volumes.
It has been one of the biggest storylines surrounding Super Bowl XLVIII ever since the league announced the game would be held in MetLife Stadium. While the Super Bowl has been played in Detroit before, the Pontiac Silverdome and Ford Field are both domed stadiums, providing optimal conditions despite the chill outside.
That won't be the case in East Rutherford. Just last week, the New York/New Jersey area was pounded with snow, illustrating how unpredictable and unflinching Mother Nature can be.
At the moment, at least, the weather shouldn't be too extreme on Sunday. The Weather Channel is calling for a high of 39 degrees and a 20 percent chance of precipitation during the day, with the temperature dropping to 23 degrees with only a 10 percent chance of precipitation at night.
Players and fans alike will have no respite from the cold. But hey, that's what that "Warm Welcome" kit is for.