Now that the New York Giants and New York Jets will host the 48th Super Bowl following the 2013 season, Packers fans want to know whether Lambeau Field is a possibility to host the NFL’s championship extravaganza.
The answer is no.
While the NFL broke its 50-degree rule in awarding the game to the new Meadowlands Stadium in East Rutherford, N.J., on Tuesday, there is no chance an exception will be made for Green Bay.
The official answer comes down to hotels.
The NFL’s NFC spokesman, Randall Liu, told Packer Report that “among the criteria ownership considers is number of hotels in the area. Most cities/regions that host have 27,000 (rooms) within a one-hour drive.”
According to Brenda Krainik, the director of marketing for the Greater Green Bay Convention & Visitors Bureau, you’d need a two-hour radius around Green Bay to find that many hotel rooms. That means a potentially hazardous drive to Milwaukee, considering two of the six biggest snowstorms in Green Bay history have come in February, with 14 inches in a 1913 storm and 13.7 just four years ago.
Beyond that, there’s the notion that Green Bay isn’t exactly an entertainment hotbed. If the Hollywood elite and Wall Street moguls are going to freeze to watch a game, they’d better be able to have fun before and after.
Oh, and the weather is still an issue. The average in East Rutherford on Feb. 2 — the date of the Super Bowl — is a high of 40 and a low of 28, according to NOAA. So, considering kickoff is sometime around 6:15 p.m. with the game ending at 10 p.m., the mercury figures to be hovering around 30. The record high is 59 (1988) and the record low minus-4 (1961).
That’s not exactly mind-numbingly cold, and it’s downright balmy compared to Green Bay. The average here on Feb. 2 is a high of 26 and a low of 10. The record high is 45 (1992) and the record low a stupefying minus-26 (1996). During that 1996 cold snap, the thermometer didn’t even break 0 for five consecutive days.
"This didn't open the door wide, it opened up a crack," Marc Ganis, a sports franchise consultant, told USA Today. "Besides Washington, I don't know if any other Northern city with an outdoor stadium can make a compelling case. New York is New York and the nation's largest market. There was a lot of sympathy for the city after 9/11. And this is a way for the league to support a $1.6 billion stadium."
Not that it wouldn't be fun. The most famous game in NFL history is the Ice Bowl, with the temperature at kickoff minus-13 and wind-chill at minus-48 for the NFL championship game played Dec. 31, 1967 at Lambeau. Rather than kick a field goal to force overtime, Vince Lombardi followed Bart Starr's advice of going for the win with a quarterback sneak. "Well, run it and let's get the hell out of here," Lombardi said. Following the blocks of Jerry Kramer and Ken Bowman, Starr scored with 13 seconds to go to cap Green Bay's 21-17 win over Dallas.
And the NFC title game between the Packers and Giants on Jan. 20, 2008, at Lambeau mesmerized the nation, with the kickoff temperature at minus-1 and wind-chill at minus-23. The Giants won 23-20 after Brett Favre's overtime interception.
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Bill Huber is publisher of Packer Report magazine and PackerReport.com and has written for Packer Report since 1997. E-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org, or leave him a question in Packer Report’s subscribers-only Packers Pro Club forum. Find Bill on Twitter at twitter.com/packerreport and Facebook under Bill Huber.