The Super Bowl is all about determining the very best team in the NFL, and that is why the game has almost always been played in pristine or controlled conditions. That may not be the case on Feb. 2 in East Rutherford, N.J., though, and that has plenty of fans concerned.
Purely from a football perspective, the Seattle Seahawks and Denver Broncos are evenly matched. Seattle has the league's best defense, and Denver has the game's best offense, but there is a belief that inclement weather could benefit the Seahawks over the Broncos.
More than a week before the Super Bowl, forecasts called for possible snow showers and bitterly cold weather, but things have changed significantly. Precipitation shouldn't be a huge factor, and the temperature is expected to be fairly mild as well.
With that in mind, the Seahawks and Broncos should enter Super Bowl XLVIII on equal footing. Here is a more in-depth look at the MetLife Stadium forecast and further analysis regarding how it will impact the big game.
Super Bowl Essentials
Date: Sunday, Feb, 2
Where: MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, N.J.
Start Time: 6:30 p.m. ET
TV Info: Fox
Live Stream: Fox Sports Go
Spread (Bovada): Denver -3
Super Bowl Forecast
It has been a freezing-cold winter in the New York/New Jersey area this year, and the initial expectation was that fans and players would have to brave icy temperatures during the Super Bowl. As it turns out, however, Feb. 2 is shaping up to be one of the mildest days in East Rutherford in quite some time.
According to Weather.com, the high temperature of the day will be a downright balmy 50 degrees Fahrenheit.
The temperature will obviously drop a bit as game time gets closer, but it shouldn't be a significant factor. The forecast calls for temperatures above 40 degrees Fahrenheit for most of the Super Bowl, which is as good as anyone could have possibly hoped for.
Both Denver and Seattle are cold-weather cities, so 40 degrees Fahrenheit won't make for uncomfortable conditions for the players on the field. In fact, Super Bowl XLVIII won't even surpass Super Bowl VI as the coldest ever, according to Raphael Miranda of WNBC in New York:
So it looks like the NY Superbowl (NJ) will be warmer than Super Bowl 6, the coldest outdoor game so far back in 1972 pic.twitter.com/uFveyXhvnH— Raphael Miranda (@Raphael4NY) January 31, 2014
Based on what the early forecasts called for, NFL commissioner Roger Goodell has to be ecstatic about how things are shaping up. After so much worry and concern, the temperature won't even reach the freezing point for Super Bowl XLVIII.
Perhaps even more so than the temperature, football fans have been talking about potential snow showers ahead of Super Bowl Sunday.
A huge snow storm blasted the area about a week ago, and that led to plenty of speculation regarding whether the NFL might have to make contingency plans to move the date of the game.
All of that panic is well in the rear-view mirror now, though, and it's entirely possible there won't be a single drop of precipitation at all.
Which weather factor do you believe will play the biggest role in Super Bowl XLVIII?
According to Weather.com, the estimated snowfall is set at less than one inch, and it isn't supposed to start until after midnight, at which point the Super Bowl will have been long over.
There is a chance of rain, but it would be light showers resembling a drizzle, so that shouldn't impact things too much.
Even if it does snow more than expected, Broncos offensive tackle Orlando Franklin isn't concerned, according to Ed Bouchette of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, saying, "We live in Denver, Colorado. It's not like it doesn't snow. The Broncos are weatherproof, I feel like."
There has long been talk about Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning struggling in poor weather after playing the bulk of his games in a dome while with the Indianapolis Colts, but he has had plenty of strong games out in the elements this season.
Heavy snow or rain showers might have been a concern in terms of shifting the advantage in Seattle's favor, but neither is anticipated for the Super Bowl.
When it comes to passing the ball effectively, wind can be an even bigger issue than snow or rain. That is especially true for an older quarterback like Manning, since accuracy is his bread and butter much more so than throwing power.
In fact, Seahawks cornerback Richard Sherman was quoted as saying that Manning tends to throw wobbling passes known as "ducks," and he hasn't backed off that assertion, according to Kieran Darcy of ESPN:
I still feel the same way I felt. He's a great quarterback, he does a great job. But at the same time, when he catches the ball, he doesn't necessarily catch the laces all the time. But he throws an accurate ball, regardless of how he catches it, how he gets it -- he delivers it on time and accurately.
In the event of gusting winds, Manning's penchant for throwing "ducks" could be a major issue. Luckily for the NFL MVP, however, Weather.com is forecasting winds of just eight miles per hour.
Manning has to deal with that type of weather all the time in Denver, and the same can be said for Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson in Seattle.
In fact, the wind in East Rutherford is ideal compared to what some of the other cold-weather NFL cities are experiencing, per ESPN's Colin Cowherd:
Just watched @weatherchannel and Chi/Minn will have -40 wind chill this week. So if this NY Super Bowl works out....— Colin Cowherd (@ESPN_Colin) January 26, 2014
Ultimately, just like the temperature and the precipitation, the wind won't be noticeable enough to sway the game in one direction or another.
The hope is always that the Super Bowl will be played on even terms, and despite concerns about that not being the case, the Seahawks and Broncos appear to be in the clear.
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