Could this year’s Super Bowl in Indianapolis be a new wave of Super Bowls in cold-weather cities? Typically the NFL doesn’t award the Big Game to cold-weather cities and usually opts for warmer climates such as Tampa, Miami or Atlanta. But that could be changing.
The NFL first tried its luck with a cold-weather Super Bowl in 1982 when Super Bowl XVI was at the Pontiac Silverdome (former home of the Detroit Lions). The Super Bowl went north ten years later in Minneapolis at the Metrodome for Super Bowl XXVI. The Big Game would not return north until 2006 and Super Bowl XL, which was at Ford Field in Detroit.
And, the NFL wowed many when the league awarded Super Bowl XLVIII (48) in 2014 to MetLife Stadium, home to this year’s NFC berth for the Super Bowl, New York Giants, and New York Jets. MetLife Stadium is an outdoor stadium. That is unheard of.
Twenty years ago, the NFL would not award the Super Bowl to a northern city unless they had a domed stadium. Of course, I never understood why Seattle’s Kingdome never hosted a Super Bowl. Indianapolis has had a domed stadium ever since the Colts moved there in 1984; 2012 will be the first time the city has hosted (albeit in a new stadium). Seattle, Indianapolis and Detroit lost the bid in 1992 to Minneapolis.
And, the Saint Louis Rams have played in a domed stadium since 1995, and that city has never hosted a Super Bowl either.
Maybe the NFL is getting pressure from other teams that want to host the game. Maybe the NFL has seen the success of the NHL’s Winter Classic: an annual, outdoor regular-season game usually held in a football stadium or ballpark. Since 2008, the Winter Classic has received rave reviews from fans; and has garnered big ratings on television; and maybe it’s possible the NFL would like to cash in on that for themselves.
After MetLife Stadium hosts the Super Bowl in 2014, the Super Bowl will have been in a cold-weather city for three out of the last nine years. And, if that game is successful, it could mean that cold-weather cities like Chicago, Cleveland, Foxboro and Pittsburgh could have a chance to host the Super Bowl in the future. Or, possibly even a Super Bowl at venerable Lambeau Field?
Miami has hosted the most Super Bowls, but 2010 may have been the city’s last. Miami’s aging Sun Life Stadium is far below par when it comes to newer stadiums in Dallas, Houston and Phoenix. The NFL has told Miami that significant improvements need to be made to the stadium if they want to host again.
Then there’s the fans. Sitting outside in cold weather probably isn’t as bad as sitting in a four-hour rainstorm like they did in 2007 in Miami (Super Bowl XLI). We could be seeing a whole new era for the Super Bowl, starting this year with Indianapolis.