NEW YORK — Football fans and degenerate gamblers had plenty to bet on during Sunday night’s Super Bowl:
Would kickoff temperature be above or below 34 degrees? (It was above.) Would the national anthem be sung in less than 2:30? (It was.) Would Knowshon Moreno cry? (He didn’t.)
A day after the NFL wrapped up a mostly hassle-free Super Bowl in New York/New Jersey, here’s another bet that seems pretty safe:
Boston will host a Super Bowl sooner rather than later.
The notion seemed crazy for the first 47 or so Super Bowls, but not any longer. New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft has been open about his desire to bring the NFL championship game to the region. And based on the success of last week’s events, you can bet that the cold-weather Super Bowl is about to become a “thing.”
Just listen to Kraft’s recent comments on the subject . He’s not hiding his intentions.
“I’m a great supporter of playing this game in all elements,” he said Friday. “There are a group of us that really wanted it here, and the NFL has been very supportive of that.”
And from May 2013: “We would love one day to hold it here, if it’s a good experience there.”
Well, it certainly was.
The lasting memories of the NY/NJ Super Bowl will be mild weather — it was downright balmy at game time — and great cooperation from local officials. Transportation was no problem for the media members getting back and forth between Manhattan and New Jersey throughout the week, thanks to police escorts. However, multihour waits on game day for trains on the New Jersey transit system were severely problematic.
And we won’t mention the little snowstorm that hit New York and Boston on Monday, blanketing the field at MetLife Stadium and complicating travel plans across the Northeast. Or the snowstorm due to hit New England on Wednesday.
Instead, you can bet that Kraft, at the owners’ meetings this March and May, will mention that Boston had a high of 55 Sunday, and it was 45 and cloudy around kickoff time. Compare that with the weather in upcoming Super Bowl host cities: 63 and cloudy in Phoenix, 51 and rainy in San Francisco, and 41 and rainy in Houston.
The stadiums in Phoenix and Houston have roofs, but you get the point: Unless the game is in Miami, New Orleans, or San Diego, there’s a decent chance of cold or inclement weather in just about every city.
Also, guess what? San Diego and Miami aren’t getting Super Bowls for a while after failing to improve their stadiums with public money. That leaves the NFL looking for new host cities, and New York did a lot of favors for Boston, Philadelphia, Washington, Chicago, and Denver over the past week.
Governor Deval Patrick of Massachusetts, who conceded that he was initially skeptical of the idea of a cold-weather Super Bowl, is now fully on board.
“I think we can do anything,” Patrick said Monday. “It will take some adjustment. It will take some investment of time and thought and planning and so forth.
“You know, this is a world-class community.”
It’s important to note that the earliest a Super Bowl could come to the region would be in 2018 -- the 32 owners will vote in May for the site of that game. And as of now, there are no formal plans for Boston to submit a bid.
“Boston has great potential for hosting an event like the Super Bowl,’’ Mayor Martin J. Walsh, a big Patriots fan, said Monday. “However, we are not engaged in any formal process around hosting the Super Bowl here.”
But in talking with people around the league last week in New York, the sense is that the owners in Foxborough and other cold-weather cities soon will be submitting bids to host the game – if not this year, then within the next couple of years. Don’t be surprised if Pittsburgh, Kansas City, Baltimore, and Nashville want in as well.
And you can bet Boston will get one of the first cracks at it. A pecking order exists in NFL ownership circles, and Kraft is right at the top. He’s on some of the most important ownership committees, including the Management Council executive committee, and is chairman of the broadcast committee.
Kraft also was a key figure in the 2011 collective bargaining negotiations with the NFL Players Association — you know, the ones in which the owners destroyed the union — and put millions of extra dollars in the pockets of himself and his fellow owners.
Eagles owner Jeffrey Lurie is well-liked among his fellow owners, as is Denver’s Pat Bowlen. But with San Diego and Miami out of the picture, and Arizona, San Francisco, Houston, and New Orleans already chosen as recent sites, the path is clear for Kraft to wield some power and bring the big game to New England.
Of course, there are a few logistical problems that would have to be dealt with. One is infrastructure; a host city needs about 30,000 to 35,000 hotel rooms to house all of the media, employees, and fans. Boston has 35,000 hotel rooms if you extend the area out to Interstate 495, and Providence can chip in another 6,000.
So this likely would have to be a Boston-Providence partnership, with Providence playing the role of New Jersey — putting in a lot of the work without getting much of the credit. Because, let’s be honest, this thing will be billed as a Boston Super Bowl. The game will be held in Foxborough and events will take place across the region, but Boston is obviously the draw.
It shouldn’t be too difficult to pull off, weather permitting of course. The media center and operations could be focused in a touristy part of downtown. The two teams easily could stay in hotels in Quincy and Braintree, as NFL teams often do when they play the Patriots. Media interviews could be done at the team hotels — a mere 20-minute trip from downtown with an escort — and then one team could bus down to Foxborough every day for practice, while the other team buses up to, say, Boston College for theirs.
It wouldn’t be much different from the setup last week, when the media were bused to Jersey every day, the Broncos were bused to Florham Park for practice, and the Seahawks worked at the Giants’ facility.
Obviously, Boston isn’t nearly as big as New York, which can handle a major event and not even blink. Traffic across the region would be horrible that week, and I don’t even want to think about how bad Route 1 would be on game day.
But the first cold-weather Super Bowl went so well that there is already talk of bringing it back to New York/New Jersey.
“I don’t see any reason why we shouldn’t consider doing it again,” Giants owner John Mara said on ESPN New York radio last week. “I think that when the NFL owners that are here, when they leave MetLife Stadium tonight after this game, I’m pretty confident that most of them will say to themselves that it was a great idea to have this event in this area, New York and New Jersey, and why not come back here again? It’s good for the league.”
Kraft would agree that the Super Bowl was a rousing success, but he would probably tell Mara to slow down a bit. Boston and Philadelphia and Chicago want a piece of the action before New York gets it again.
The lesson learned last week? Anything is possible now when it comes to the Super Bowl, particularly when it means bringing it to Boston.