Anyone who believes the Super Bowl was a success in Big D, other than the newly-crowned world champion Green Bay Packers, needs to think again and get a reality check. The big “show” that Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones hoped to stage could not have been more of a mess.
The weather—which to be fair was not Jerry’s fault—was horrible, causing restaurants, bars and other businesses to take a huge financial hit. Super Bowl cities depend on the enormous crowds who come to enjoy the fun, if not go to the game, to eat, drink and be merry and for merchants to make money—lots of it. None of this happened.
Further, the lead-up festivities during the week, at venues spread out all over the vastness called “North Texas,” between Dallas, Arlington, and Fort Worth, were particularly ill-conceived. Some events, like the NFL Experience at the Dallas Convention Center, were 15 to 30 miles away from the stadium.
Most importantly, why was there no comprehensive weather plan in place to deal with the unpredictable elements in the Dallas metroplex? How could civic officials, the NFL and an egomaniacal Cowboys owner in good conscience have planned this out so poorly?
I understand that Dallas is not a “snow town,” but icy and snowy weather has been a problem in Dallas before. At the very least someone, should have considered that. Last year’s NBA All-Star Game at Cowboys Stadium, which faced severe weather issues, should have alerted arrogant planners what was possible.
Dallas, while obviously not a cold-weather city, is still not quite southern enough to insure good weather in February. In fact, a city like Dallas, located where it is, is actually more likely to get the unforgiving freezing rain and ice than many other places. A more northern city would probably have “only” had snow.
And why wasn’t there a solid plan in place to deal with that? Why didn’t the Dallas metro area get the extra army of snow plows, salt and sand trucks, just for that possibility?
Why weren’t the Dallas airports better prepared to clear runways and allow access to the city for the thousands of visitors who come to the week of parties in the Super Bowl city? There are lots of unanswered questions.
Before the NFL considers Dallas for a return Super Bowl, particularly the one in 2016 that Dallas is lobbying hard to get, they’d better make sure that comprehensive emergency and contingency weather plans are in place.
Yes, Cowboys Stadium is beautiful. It may well be the most magnificent stadium in the world—that is no exaggeration. The stadium is tremendous. But to leave things to chance the way Super Bowl planners did this year is completely inexcusable.
Next year’s Super Bowl will be held in downtown Indianapolis’ domed palace, Lucas Oil Stadium. The challenges of staging a Super Bowl in a cold-weather city are well-known and well-documented. But by all accounts, event planners in Indianapolis have considered just about everything, and have already put in place a plan to deploy literally hundreds of additional snow removal forces to deal with all manner of unpredictable weather.
To be fair, Indianapolis ironically faced its own ice and snow challenge this very week—a record setting ice storm that closed down schools for the entire week. Still, had the Super Bowl been held there this year, I’m fairly sure that not one party or event would have been cancelled, and nothing about the NFL’s biggest week would have been disturbed.
What I’m saying is Indianapolis, with its compact, walkable, sports-ready downtown, can easily handle a big event like the Super Bowl. Indianapolis has successfully staged more big-time sports events than any American city in the last 30 years. That’s a fact. Look it up. Why can’t Dallas? Why didn’t Dallas? The only winners in Dallas this year were the Packers.