Super Bowl 48

Break It Down Again

I think I might take Russell Wilson for granted.

There.  I said it.

It’s not because he’s positioning himself to be an elite QB.  It’s not because he won a Super Bowl title in his very second year of playing professional football.

It’s because since I follow him so closely, it’s not a “rare treat” to see him in person as much as, say, someone who follows the local teams here in New York.

Prior to last Sunday’s game against the New York Jets, many Jets and local pundits were pooh-poohing Wilson’s not only effectiveness, but that of the Legion of Boom and much-glowed about defense of Seattle was not all *that*.

I thought they were all crazy.  I mean, roll my eyes kind of crazy.  Certainly if you watched this team as closely as Ed and I do, you’d see there is nothing overrated about Wilson or Richard Sherman or Doug Baldwin or Jimmy Graham…and that Seattle gets help even from role players, like Tanner McEvoy.

Plus…Did they seriously believe the Jets were a superior team?  The last time I seriously followed the Jets, Rex Ryan was the head coach, Mark Sanchez was the starting QB, Tim Tebow was the BACKUP, and I literally turned into a Seattle fan at CenturyLink as we saw them play there.

Lastly, this was the first time back at MetLife Stadium since, well, Super Bowl XLVIII.  So there’s that.

Why am I going through all this back story?  Basically because prior to the Seahawks visiting New York for the first time since winning SB48, a few notable “hot takes” said in not so many words that the Seahawks were overrated and especially that quarterback of theirs.  Seeing only his weekly highlights, of course, focus on his amazing footwork and his running game…stuff that quarterbacks aren’t supposed to rely on.

According to Mehta, prior to week four, “Wilson isn’t nearly as awesome as his Puget Sound loyalists believe, so it’s ludicrous to think that he’ll be able to hobble into MetLife Stadium on a gimpy left knee and right ankle on Sunday and have his way with the Jets.”

There is also this “narrative” that the Hawks don’t seem to do well not just on the road…but on the east coast or “10 am PST” start times.  (And touching on Russell’s leg and knee issues, which were legit concerns going into the week…yet when no backup QB was called to replace him…I knew we were in biz and we’d be seeing him on Sunday).

Pete Prisco felt the wrath of 12s with his lazy journalism on these narratives prior to week four.

This is a long trip for the Seahawks, and Russell Wilson is battling a knee injury. How healthy will he be against a good Jets front? The interesting battle will be to see if Jets quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick can battle back against a good Seattle defense. I think he does. Jets take it,” Prisco wrote.

I’m sure you’ve figured out by now that the so-called “experts” in New York and Seattle haters were wrong, dead wrong.

Hawks won 27-17.  I was surprised it was that close, but considering the Jets gave up towards the end (even after scoring an accidental touchdown at one point!), maybe they just took it easy? Why blow them out when they have a week off? (And you know, not kill our ELITE QB AMIRITE?!)

During the game, we had a lot of fun.  New York fans are known as being tough as nails.  But you don’t fuck with a 12.

You’d think after 48, the legend of Russell Wilson might have grown.  Yet, people are looking at him in the Northeast like they’ve finally SAW him.  Now, watch out.

Let’s recap what an awesome display we’ve seen, not just on Sunday, but going into the Bye week in week five.

Some words from a friend…

In case you didn’t get it the first time…DangeRuss got the last laugh.

I can’t say it’s anything surprising to Seahawks fans.  We know what we have in Russell.  It was also refreshing to see Jimmy Graham being utilized to his fullest potential.  Also…12s travel well.  I’m fortunate I live so close.  We were well-represented.  SEA! HAWKS!

What I wasn’t expecting was the defeatist attitude coming from Gang Green.  It was shocking since I know so many Jets fans, and they are die hard to say the least.

I can’t believe what a sad state of affairs it’s been since I crossed enemy lines.  Michael Bennett even said something to the effect that 12s would have never left when the Jets fans were leaving in droves.  I remember at one point thinking the Jets were still in the game (and I was more positive about going into the game than my copilot on the NJ Transit).  There’s no way I would have left if the shoe were on the other foot.

Play to the crowd with your big hit sound
And they won’t simmer won’t simmer, won’t simmer down
Play to the crowd
Play to the crowd
Play yeah yeah
It’s in the way you’re always hiding from the light
Fast off to heaven just like Moses on a motorbike
No revolution maybe someone somewhere else
Could show you something new to help you
With the ups and downs
I want to break it down
Break it down again

In fear of jinxing things, I’ve been to four Seahawks games in person.  They’ve won all four.  I’m very fortunate, but I do know once the odds are raised, I have a better chance of seeing them lose.  I realize how fortunate I am to root for this team.  Thank you all for accepting me into the fold.

(Good 12s Twitter follows include: @DaynaOG, @DKSB17, @hipeegrl…also @Studi_metsimus if you can get over the geeky baseball stuff he posts).

Yet, going out on a high note on such a big stage has made people not only shut up, but now realize, hey!  The Pacific Northwest has got a machine here, and they show no intentions of slowing down.

Is it Week Six yet?!

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Get Your Post-Traumatic Mets Disorder Here!

Sometimes, it’s hard to be a Mets fan.  Maybe all the time.  We’re constantly straddling the line of being afraid to let ourselves be happy, yet at the same time marrying our belief that “believing” and “hoping” is part of our DNA.  I think I’m somewhere in the middle.  I’m not an optimist, nor a pessimist.  I consider myself a realist.  Optimists think I’m too negative.  Pessimists think I’m too positive.  I guess I consider myself “right.”  For me, anyway.  I couldn’t give less than two shits if a fan is either one.  Just don’t be surprised if I call you out on either.

Here’s the reality: this Kansas City Royals team is REALLY good.  Like, seriously, the biggest competition and realest threat that the Mets have seen this year.  Of course, the “realest” threat is because they’re meeting in the World Series, and the stakes are very high.

Perhaps most of us are not rational beings.  But I like to keep things in perspective.  Like wanting to deck someone who tells me to cheer up because the Mets are in the World Series, and we totally didn’t think that shit would happen on Opening Day.  While true, now that my team is in the big dance, I don’t want them to roll over like teams in the past, take it in the ass and get a trophy for just showing up.  That’s not how any of this works.

On the other hand, I want to throw shit (like, literally *poop*) if someone says the series is over and see you next April.  Uh, no.  This is the best of seven for a reason.

But perhaps you’ve seen this meme going around.

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Or maybe this one too…

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This is my problem with it.  I see very faint similarities with how the 1986 team and 2015 team operate.  The 1986 team was SUPPOSED to win it all.  If they didn’t, and remember they were very close to losing game six, it would’ve been considered not only a massive failure, but a loss would’ve been more difficult to overcome because their veterans weren’t getting any younger.  (And to think we didn’t know about Doc Gooden’s problems with drugs at that time).  I could point to the year 2000, and, well, there is a reason we don’t really have a soft spot for them.  It was the 1999 team who we all loved, they were truly the little team that could.  The 2000 team had Mike Bordick.  Nuff said.

I’ll take it a step further.  The Mets lose game one in 2015 on an error by their star third baseman.  The Mets lose game one in 1986 on a run caused by an error by their second baseman.  Let’s not try to compare David Wright, someone who will be a Mets legend and Tim Teufel, who is only a legend because he played on the ’86 team.  Meanwhile, the Mets should not have even been IN that position of Wright making an error in extra innings because Jeurys Familia had ONE bad pitch in the 9th.  (And hey, did game one of the ’86 World Series have a lead four base error that was scored as an inside-the-park home run? On the VERY FIRST PITCH????).

Or was game one of 2015 like the 2000 World Series where Armando Benitez blew a save.  Even better, Timo Perez to this day is still vilified for not running hard around the bases, causing the Mets to not score in a hot inning.  Yoenis Cespedes was the defensive version of Perez, la-la-la-ing in centerfield on that play.

The 2015 team is much better in so many other ways.  Take the pitching.  Harvey, deGrom, Syndergaard, Matz and Wheeler when he’s healthy is a HOLY FUCKING SHIT rotation.

So we’ve got the optimists pointing to 1986, you know, a team that was SUPPOSED TO WIN IT ALL.  Or the pessimists on the other side saying the last two games were like the year 2000, a team that was in WAY over their heads.

Know who/what I think this team is playing like RIGHT now?  The Chicago Cubs, circa a week ago.

//platform.twitter.com/widgets.jsSo you wanna know why people are concerned? THIS IS WHY.  Our stop em, drop em ace got shelled.  The Mets squandered a Harvey start.  Bears repeating that Jeurys Familia had ONE BAD PITCH. 

So yes, “ya gotta believe” and all that shit.  I was on a podcast a week ago, and I said, “Why Not Us?”  Repeating the refrain that got Russell Wilson and the Seattle Seahawks all the way to the Super Bowl championship in SB 48.  Except the Seahawks made it look so easy that year.  Oh yes, 30+ years of being a Mets fans reminds me that shit does indeed happen, and the Mets have literally not made anything easy for me ever as a fan.  Literally.  Ever.

I can look at how the New York Rangers got to the Stanley Cup Final in 2014, and squandered two leads whilst complaining about officiating instead of just growing a pair and winning the fucking game.  Then they went home down two games, and made game three a “must win” game.  And they didn’t win it.  And they lost the SCF in five. 

How can I compare three different sports and three entirely different teams?  I’ve seen it, recently, but most of all, comparing and contrasting two teams in different years is just as asinine.  If I’m cautious, I have seen this with my teams.  So if I’m not thinking of 1986 here, it’s because I see no similarities with that team except maybe the difference in scores. And that is a stretch.  The Mets didn’t lose game one of the 2015 World Series 1-0.  If I’m thinking about 2000, and Perez and Benitez, I know the 2015 team is light years better than that team.  And will be for years to come. 

It’s because my teams have bitten me in the ass before, and I refuse to roll over and take it again. 

Russell Wilson says the Seahawks treat each week as “going 1-0.”  Just need to treat the next games as such.  In the meantime, I’ll realize that my love of sports and its accompanying history will somehow bite me in the ass and make me do weird things in the name of post-traumatic Mets disorder.

(Oh, and get off my lawn)

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It’s Only Weird If It Doesn’t Work

walkers Do I have any Walking Dead fans in the house?

When someone gets “infected,” they are said to have “turned.”  They “turn” into walkers, the living dead.  They either have been dead by different causes or bitten by a walker themselves in order to turn.
I have turned myself, you know.  I can pinpoint exactly when this has happened.  It’s not a sickness, not a virus, nor is it a disease.

It was a turn for a life altering experience.

It happened in Seattle, Sunday, November 11, 2012.  I talked about it here.

When I travel to follow my teams around to other stadiums, I know there is a 50 / 50 shot they may lose.  This game was no different.  Except something changed in me, and I couldn’t put my finger on it.

I was leaving that day, so I thought maybe I was just eager to get home, and therefore, antsy.  But I was changed, and there was definitely a point of no return for me.  I just didn’t know what it was.

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My husband is a creature of habit.  He wakes up at the same time every day, wears essentially the same “uniform” (t-shirt, black shorts, white socks, black sneakers).  He has a strict schedule and adheres to it.  He loves trains, only because they are on a strict time table.  Anything he can set a watch to, he’s all for.

To say he’s superstitious would be a gross understatement.  He won’t eat until the Mets take a lead, he acts much like Robert Deniro’s character in Silver Linings Playbook.  Everything has a place.  A place for everything.

However, his superstitions rival those in the Bud Light “It’s Only Weird If It Doesn’t Work.”  We don’t listen to Paula Cole songs ad nauseum.  But this is what we do on Seahawks game days:

  • watch from home (abysmal record watching games at bars and such)
  • he sits on the couch, I sit on the bed
  • we talk to each other via Twitter
  • he shaves (seriously – it takes a lot for him to do that)
  • we have some sort of alcohol beverage of choice
  • we order from Domino’s

Yes, I know that last part is sacrilegious for a Jersey girl and current city dweller.  However, Ed does not eat pizza.  Ordering “real” pizza is a waste of time for me these days.  And I like their cheesy bread.  His food of choice is pasta in the bread bowl.  Because there are no such things as too many carbs.

The losses outside of the home were enough to give us pause to continue watching games from the couch.  Even so when presented with an opportunity to attend the Super Bowl right across the river with a once in a lifetime chance to see his lifelong team, we didn’t jump at it.

Because it’s only weird if it doesn’t work.

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I was 10 years old when the Mets last won the World Series, in 1986.  Shortly after that, the New York Giants won the Super Bowl.  I remember earlier in 1986, when the Chicago Bears were all over the place, with their Super Bowl Shuffle.  A few months later, the Mets came out with their Lets Go Mets Go! song.  I guess I was used to dominance, but clearly I didn’t know as much about the Mets’ history as I do now, and having come to terms with the fact that the 1980s dominance was a once in a lifetime type of thing.

So when the Giants were all over the place then, I asked my dad (my touchstone for learning about what teams to root for) if he was a Giants fan.  He said no, he was a Jets fan.  So I went along with it because I did what Dad told me to do.

We weren’t the type of family that sat around and watched football on a Sunday afternoon.  In fact, I didn’t go to my first live football game till 2002, and my dad only went to his first Jets game in 2010.  When I asked if he ever went to a game at Shea Stadium, he told me, “No.  At least, I don’t think I have.”

I didn’t speak football.  I spoke baseball and hockey.  To me, those sports were fun, and I understood them.  I didn’t get much out of football, because I didn’t get it.  Baseball and hockey I understood.  Football to me was an ADD sport.  Meaning, it was for short attention spans.

Football is only 16 games of a regular season, less than a handful more in the playoffs.  Commitment phobes can enjoy with minimal risk.  Baseball is 162 games a year, hockey is 82.  Let’s not even go there with potential additions of postseason.  I could weave story lines from those sports.  Football, eh, whatever, not so much.  You didn’t need to pay a ton of attention at schedules.  You had one day a week to devote, maybe two if you followed rivals playing on Monday.  (And now, Thursdays too).

I think it was in 2008 though that I started to rebel.  The Giants had won their third championship in my lifetime.  I couldn’t care less about the Giants, though I have lots of friends who were fans.  I just felt nothing towards the team, as much as I hated the Patriots.  I could never understand how a person could claim to be a “Jets and Giants fan.”  To me, it was the ultimate cop out.  We all know the Jets are horribly mismanaged and put the fun in dysfunctional.  Rooting for the Giants as well as the Jets was a way to have your cake and eat it too (yes, I get it – what’s the fucking point of cake if you can’t eat it??  But you get the idea).  The Jets won’t ever win, but the Giants have won a bunch of championships in my lifetime.  I could only be happy that the Patriots lost the last two Super Bowl wins for the G-men.  But I could not in good conscience root for them, ever. Plus their fans cannot stand Jets fans. The reverse relationship reminds me of the people who are Mets fans but “root for the Yankees” too. There’s a lot of angst in that relationship. I’ve found it’s tenfold with Giants fans who actively dislike Jets fans.

Getting back to the rebelling part.  I started to get mad about the penance I’ve paid as a sports fan.  While I know many fans of the teams I root for cannot boast of remembering a championship year, I have those memories, even vivid and fond memories.  So in 2008, my dad and I went to see Eric Clapton and Steve Winwood.  It was a few days after the Giants beat the Patriots.

“Dad, it’s bad enough you made me a Mets and a Rangers fan.  But a Jets fan?????”

The only team I technically rebelled against was the Knicks.  I am not a huge basketball fan, but I did like John Stockton and coined myself a Utah Jazz fan.  Remember, in the ’90s, everyone and their cousin was a Chicago Bulls fan.  They were a one man team.  The Jazz seemed to be the only team that could have the potential to beat them.

It didn’t happen.  Yet, when I met Ed, I found out that he too became a Utah Jazz fan because of the Stockton and Karl Malone.  He still follows them; after Stockton retired, I lost interest.

I went to a live Knicks game in 2007.  I was so bored, I thought I was watching paint dry.

Basketball wasn’t my sport, after all.

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Don’t mind this stream of consciousness.  This is new territory for me.   Being a Mets fan, I was raised with the notion that you stick with your team.  The day I turn coat the Mets is the day you can officially check me into Bellevue for psychiatric observation.

I know personally several people who turncoated the Rangers by making them wait too long for a championship by becoming a Devils fan. To me, there’s nothing dirtier.  Would you believe I know someone who had broken his arm in a fight at the old Garden, defending the Rangers honor, only to become a Devils fan a decade later?

I gave up on hockey, once, but you’d never see me do that.  Give up on the Rangers.  They drive me crazy.  My teams do, at some base level.  They wouldn’t be my teams if they didn’t.

But that day in 2012, in Seattle, I had a life altering experience.  I was a visiting fan.  But I turned that day.  I turned into a 12th Man.  And it was the last thing I expected to ever happen to me.

mark_hey_markAnd that was the play that made it happen.

I was born to be a Mets fan, and I was made to be a Rangers fan.

And I never thought I’d leave a team.

It was more than just the win (and contrary to popular belief, the Seahawks started to turn that day – they were 5-4 prior to that game.  The Jets at least helped propel them to the playoffs that year).  It was the vibe.  It was fucking Seattle.  I can’t even pinpoint what it was about the city.  Perhaps it was the picturesque views.  I can’t pinpoint that we had a great time at any one place.  It was the Hawks nest, the 12th man that pushed me over the edge.

If you’ve never experienced the 12th Man, well, you just have to be there. It’s not just the Seahawks that make that city great, sports-wise.  The city has managed to put Major League Soccer on the map with their crazy Sounders fan base.

When I told people I had gone to CenturyLink amongst diehard football fans, it gave me automatic street cred.  What was more was that I found I wanted to be a part of it.

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So I went to the source, a 12th Man who might understand my plight.  Shortly after the Super Bowl last year, I had asked my husband how he felt about me becoming a 12th Man.  He’d feel less alone, I said.  Plus I really loved Seattle.  I wanted to root for a team there.

His answer was short, but sweet: No.

His reasoning was simple: my dad would be too mad at me if I jumped ship.  He said I could be happy for him if the Seahawks did well.  But I, myself, said I could never root for two teams.

This was different, I said.  I wasn’t meant to be a Jets fan.  Trust me, no one struggled with changing teams more than I did.

Then he went there.  Actually, he more alluded to the fact that I didn’t have great luck with my teams.

Waaaaaait a goddamn minute here.

This was coming from a guy who didn’t have more than me, sportswise.  We didn’t root for world beaters or dynasties. Shit, at least I had a good season with my hockey team.  Twenty years ago, but still.

So I proved to him that I could actively root for his team.  But something else happened.  I became a football fan.  I finally got it.  I finally understood it.  And I bought into the silly superstition that we had to watch the games at home. And order Domino’s.

I also found out I looked really cute in Seahawks colors.

DSCN8891  DSCN8900

Then they made it to the big game.  Then they won a championship.

Seahawks cupcakes

He offered me a Seahawks cupcake, and said, “I’d like to invite you to be a 12th man.”

I guess I paid my dues.  It was worth it.

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Those who know me know that outside of New York City, I’d live in San Francisco.  But after visiting Seattle, all I could talk about was Seattle this, Seattle that.  Can’t wait to go back to Seattle.  Et cetera, et cetera.

spaceneedle

I talk about San Francisco less and less.  I talk about Seattle more and more.

What’s more is that I will probably never see another city like Seattle in support of their sports teams.  I don’t see anything like it here when we have a team pulling for a championship.  Sure, we have our fans.  But really, there is a disconnect with so many people and so many teams.  I have a friend who moved out to Seattle, was a die hard New York everything, and got caught up in the 12.

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DSCN8879One theme you’ll hear me talk about is finding a place to belong.  Sure, we’re born to stand out, but all we want to do is find people like us.  To let us know that it is okay…to be different.  But like-minded.

I found that on places like Twitter and other forms of social media.  I met my husband as a result of it, and many of my best friends.

It was exciting to be a part of this, from beginning to end.  I want to thank the 12s who have welcomed me into their fold, and it’s nice to see that some of them will even send newspapers to this coast, like I would do when something good happened to the Mets!

Now in addition to going to baseball trips, we’ll now be traveling 12s, at least for one game a season.

coopedhawk  seahawkscelebrate

See, when we went to CenturyLink last time, the Seahawks won.  So my husband can allow that.

Remember folks, it’s only weird if it doesn’t work.

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And trust me, we know from weird.

When Did We Become Such Cold Weather Crybabies?

I think it started during the football game in Green Bay, Wisconsin.  Green Bay is not exactly known for its balmy weather and tropical beaches. It’s the midwest.  It’s frickin cold out there.  Even fans of the Packers joke about how many layers they need to wear.  I wish I could find it, but the point has been moot for me, there was an article in the New York Times a few years back about a fan who wore several layers in preparation for late seasons and playoffs games.  It’s a ritual, and something accepted amongst football fans in cold weather climates.  Think: Buffalo, Green Bay, Chicago.

Prior to their playoff game on January 5th, everyone was beside themselves.  OOOOOH, it’s gonna be freezing…in Wisconsin…in January.

I was surprised.  I mean, isn’t it a given that it’s an occupational not to mention a spectator “hazard” that if you work or watch an outdoor sport, unless you are in a dome, you’re going to be exposed to the elements?  I mean, shit, football doesn’t even have postponements or delays related to rain (unless, of course, there is lightning).  You play through that shit.

The beginning of 2014 hasn’t exactly been boastful of an unseasonably warm climate, especially in the northeast, where we’ve had the phrase Polar Vortex become an essential part of our lexicon.  It’s snowed quite a few times, and I’ve even joked around with my friends about how the cold isn’t so bad, but factor in wind and snow elements, I’m over it.

We chat about the weather with total strangers.  We joke about not wanting to be outside in the elements.  People buy dog booties for their dog walks.  We get bundled up to walk to the corner store or even to drive somewhere.  It goes with the territory.

But I draw the line at people complaining about it being cold at a voluntary outdoor sporting event.  Really?  I mean, REALLY, guys?  It’s January, and it’s in the northeast.

IT’S GONNA BE COLD HERE.

I will give fans who attended the game credit: I didn’t see many people complaining on that end about the Stadium Series on Sunday.  Most of the folks there are die hard.  They do get the fact that one needs to bundle up to enjoy the game.  Yet, I see tweets like this that get my blood boiling.

Every single person in that stadium yesterday was there voluntarily.  Each person presumably bought a ticket, and attended on their own free will.

The players, however, get paid a very handsome salary to play these games.  The night before, a game was played in Los Angeles, not exactly a hotbed (pun not intended) of perfect outdoor ice hockey activity.  We didn’t hear one problem with the “ice.”  But in the Bronx in January by the goddamn Harlem River, Devils goalie Martin Brodeur blames the ice on his poor performance (The Rangers scored 6 goals against him before he was taken out of the game…mind you the Devils also scored 3 goals in the first period…no one had a problem with the ice before then??)

Oh, but there’s more.  This week, Super Bowl XLVIII will be held at MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, NJ.  Now, all the cold weather crybabies are reporting on the nonstory that “WAHHH! It’s gonna be COLD and elemental in New Jersey IN JANUARY. WAHHHHHHHHH!”

Bite me.

This time around, it’s not Uncle Daddy or any of the players crying about the weather or potential hazard of it.  It’s mostly the sportswriters who all of a sudden have a sympathy for the players who get paid millions of dollars to play on the big stage…in the snow, rain, or sleet.  Shit, I’ve seen frickin beautiful days here with low temps.  Has anyone considered that the Super Bowl could be played in something like THAT??!

The Denver Broncos and the Seattle Seahawks kind of corner the market on playing in the elements.  Denver gets snow.  Seattle gets rain.  The only people I see “inconvenienced” with the weather are people who have to sit in the stands (who are paying around $2,000 for an upper bowl seat) and the writers who are subscribing to some of the laziest journalism I have ever borne witness.

Their headlines are akin to chatting about the weather.  Is this the state of sports writing today?

I just have a tough time believing that when New York/New Jersey was chosen as the Super Bowl venue, that no one considered weather factors.

It’s January in the Northeast.  Guess what?

It’s cold here.