Super Bowl 2014: Grading New York, New Jersey as XLVIII Metropolitan Host Area
Super Bowl XLVIII was a drubbing of epic proportions, but how did New York/New Jersey do as a host city?
The Seattle Seahawks controlled every phase of the game en route to a 43-8 victory over Peyton Manning and the record-setting Denver Broncos.
The first traditionally cold-weather, outdoor game in Super Bowl history came with an abundance of controversy, but let's give MetLife Stadium and the surrounding metropolitan area a final grade.
Typical February weather in New Jersey was the most discussed and debated aspect of Super Bowl XLVIII.
The game itself wasn't affected by the weather—NJ.com reported the kickoff temperature was 49 degrees, only the third-coldest kickoff temperature in Super Bowl history.
While the temperature dropped during the game, it never seemed to have an impact, and there was no precipitation.
According to TimeAndDate.com, the lowest temperature recorded in Central Park the week before the Super Bowl was 13 and the highest was 55.
While that range certainly isn't what Super Bowl patrons are accustomed to, no one expected the New York City Metropolitan area to compare to Tampa, Florida or Glendale, Arizona.
A week removed from sub-zero temps and unbearable wind chills from the Polar Vortex, the NFL "lucked out" on the weather front, that's for sure.
The mass transit to and from the Super Bowl was a downright disaster for one of the largest, most comprehensive commuter and subway systems in the world.
According to ESPN, a record 27,800 riders used mass transit to get to MetLife Stadium for Super Bowl XLVIII; however, the real story surrounded a handful of passengers who collapsed while waiting to board a train at the Secaucus Junction.
Per the ESPN report filed by Jane McManus, "emergency medical workers were forced to push their way through the overheated crowd to treat people at the New Jersey train station."
Also via McManus:
Following the game, a 43-8 Seahawks victory, the almost 28,000 fans who took the train to MetLife Stadium were too much for the train system to handle. Several fans told ESPN.com it took them over 2 hours to get a on a train and a large crowd was seen gathering outside the station.
For a chunk of the afternoon, the crucial train transfer at Secaucus — typically a simple walk through the station — remained uncomfortably tangled, rankling fans unaccustomed to the whims of the transit systems that move many people in and out of New York daily. Eventually, things seemed to smooth out some, but by then, many passengers had already passed judgment.
For the first Super Bowl of its kind that went relatively well otherwise, the mass transit issues were probably the lone damper of the week.
Week of Events
For many, the Super Bowl has become a "week" more than just a three-hour NFL title game on Sunday. It's a five-day "celebration" chock-full of fun, captivating events and parties loaded with A-list celebrities.
The weather might be colder than the typical Super Bowl, but New York City's nightlife and entertainment scene doesn't leave anything to be desired. It was probably one of the main reasons the NFL settled on New York-New Jersey to host this year's game.
Brooklyn native rap icon and sports agent Jay-Z performed at DirecTV's limited audience party on Saturday night.
According to FOX Sports' Clay Travis, "Bud Light and its partners put on events for four straight days at its venue alongside the Bud Light Hotel." New York radio mogul Howard Stern held his 60th birthday this week, another extremely sought after but extremely difficult ticket to get.
For the avid sports fan, the Brooklyn Nets hosted Kevin Durant and the Oklahoma City Thunder on Friday. LeBron James and the Miami Heat played the New York Knicks inside Madison Square Garden on Saturday evening.
Travis explained Bud Light's ridiculous Super Bowl parties:
Bud Light brought in a new cruise ship, anchored it at 48th and 12th Avenue, filled the boat with food and drink, made everything on the boat free, and bedazzled partyers with a five-day medley of performances at its stage venue that ran the gamut from a Bud Light- and EA Sports-produced tribute to New York City hip-hop on Thursday night -- Naughty by Nature, the Roots, Busta Rhymes and Run DMC all took the stage -- to Saturday's Bud Light-presented Zac Brown Band and Foo Fighters duo.
Not bad, right?
He also noted that "Kings Of Leon, Robin Thicke, Kendrick Lamar, the Foo Fighters, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Imagine Dragons, the Zac Brown Band, John Legend, Mary J. Blige, Jake Owen, the Black Keys, Goo Goo Dolls, and Fall Out Boy all took the stage around the city" during Super Bowl week.
Everyone knew New York City would be an incredible host from a star-studded, entertainment standpoint—it delivered.
Press Box Situation
While the press box situation doesn't ever apply to the masses, hundreds of writers, reporters, TV and radio personalities were credentialed for Super Bowl XLVIII, so much so, that, as has become the norm, an auxiliary press box was created to accommodate the larger-than-usual media contingent.
Because that press box was "outside" in seats normally sold to the public, the MetLife Stadium staff provided heat lamps for the media in case temperatures dipped to uncomfortably cold levels.
The winter weather never came, but the heat lamps surged from start to finish.
Deadspin.com aggregated the collection of media members who tweeted complaints of the exceedingly warm temps inside the auxiliary press box during the game.
This from Mike Florio's Pro Football Talk report on the heat lamp fiasco posted at 5:59 EST on Sunday, "it’s so hot that phones and tablets are shutting down."
There weren't any documented complaints from the typical, enclosed press room, but a myriad of grumbling tweets came in from media members situated in Super Bowl XLVIII's auxiliary press box.
We can't say we were surprised by this.
In-stadium concession prices are outrageous across the entire NFL, and Super Bowl XLVIII was bound to be no different.
ESPN sports business reporter Darren Rovell shared pictures of concession menus and prices sent to him by fans who attended the game inside MetLife Stadium.
Paying 12 dollars for a beer is ridiculous, but for the biggest sporting event in America, it's not shocking.
However, 11 dollars for a hot chocolate?
As is the case with any NFL game or any other enormous gathering of tens of thousands of people, security was likely the top priority for Super Bowl XLVIII inside MetLife Stadium.
Envelops were sent to MetLife-area hotels during the week leading up to the Super Bowl that contained "mysterious" powders, but they were tested and ultimately deemed "non-threatening", per a NorthJersey.com report.
During the game, there were no threats or security scares, but that wasn't the case afterward.
As Seattle Seahawks linebacker and Super Bowl MVP Malcolm Smith was being asked questions in a post-game press conference, a "9/11 truther" grabbed the microphone and was able to get in a sentence about his conspiracy theory.
NJ.com met with the man, a New Jersey-area journalist, who said he "snuck into the Super Bowl" without credentials or even a ticket.
Indigo Flow Ink posted a Vine of the bizarre incident.
The "truther" was quickly snagged by a public relations employee and subsequently arrested, but was quoted saying this: "I didn't think that I'd get that far. I just kept getting closer and closer. Once I got past the final gate and into the stadium, I was dumbfounded."
While the press conference interrupt didn't harm anyone, it does raise some legitimate questions about Super Bowl security.
Opened in 2010, MetLife Stadium is an 82,500-seat, state-of-the-art, multi-purpose stadium located in East Rutherford, New Jersey.
According to the New York Daily News, it cost $1.7 billion to construct. Per the same NYDN report published by Gary Myers in March of 2010, there are 32 escalators, 2,100 televisions and a 118x30-foot video board inside.
MetLife Stadium is loaded with premier suites and amenities.
According the venue's official website, there are over 10,000 club-level seats and over 200 luxury boxes for the most expensive but finest game-watching experience.
There were no complaints about MetLife during the Super Bowl, which isn't surprising. It's one of the NFL's newest, largest and most lavish stadiums.
MetLife Stadium dodged a nasty winter storm that hit the New York City/New Jersey area the morning after Super Bowl XLVIII, which was probably the best development for the host city and venue.
The metropolitan area was tremendous from a "week of events" perspective, the stadium was certainly of Super Bowl-caliber, and the concession prices weren't too exorbitant.
Media members in the auxiliary press box cooked under ultimately unnecessary heat lamps, the "9/11 Truther" situation was a little frightening and the mass transit logjam wasn't especially encouraging.
The first cold-weather, open-air Super Bowl was a general success, but some logistical nuisances would need to be fine-tuned if MetLife Stadium ever hosted again.
Overall Grade: B-
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