NFL Makes Contingency Plans for Super Bowl 2014 Blizzard

The National Football League is willing to reschedule the Super Bowl if a blizzard hits New Jersey on Sunday, Feb. 2, though a league official said it’s “highly unlikely.”

Frank Supovitz, senior vice president of events for the NFL, said Commissioner Roger Goodell will make the call as late as possible. The event at MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, New Jersey, is the first Super Bowl to be held outdoors in a cold-weather venue. The NFL title game could be rescheduled for the Saturday before if heavy snow is forecast, or for the Monday or Tuesday after.

“There is a potential for a move-up or move-back scenario depending on what we see coming,” Supovitz told reporters today after officials showed off a snow-clearing armada at the venue. “If we see something that is crippling the region, then we’ll make a decision based on the intelligence we have at that time. How late we do that is going to be as late as possible.”

Alfred Kelly, president and chief executive of the NY/NJ Super Bowl Host Committee, said weather has been a constant part of planning since the stadium was awarded the Super Bowl. He and league and government officials highlighted their preparedness, including the display of an ice- and snow-melting truck that can turn 600 tons of snow an hour into water.

The game is projected to bring 400,000 visitors to the New York City region, and a $550 million boost to the area’s economy, according to the league and New Jersey Governor Chris Christie.

Plows, Crews

MetLife, home of the New York Giants and New York Jets, is an 82,500-seat, open-air arena that opened in 2010 across the Hudson River from Manhattan. The $1.6 billion stadium replaced the 34-year-old venue across the street.

Brad Mayne, the stadium’s president and chief executive officer, said the 6.3 inches (16 centimeters) of snow removed from the facility and parking lots following the Dec. 14 and 15 storm showed how well the crews deal with winter precipitation. That storm began at 7 a.m. the day before the game and continued through 5 a.m. that Sunday, when the Seattle Seahawks won the 1 p.m. game against the Giants.

“Even though the storm ended just hours prior to kickoff, our experienced crew totaling nearly 1,000 were able to have the stadium ready,” Mayne said.

On Call

On the day of the Super Bowl, the stadium will double its snow-removal staffing to 1,600 people and deploy 30 front-end loaders, as well as 12 hauling trucks and six plows to clear the facility, according to a statement. MetLife will also have the melters ready to deal with any snow, Mayne said.

New Jersey’s Transportation Department will have 821 trucks to plow or salt roads on hand within a 30-mile radius of the stadium, said Deputy Commissioner Joseph Mrozek. The agency will have as many as 3,200 trucks statewide that can be redeployed if needed, and almost 60,000 tons of salt nearby. The agency also will spread brine on local roads, he said.

Transportation and utility crews from New York City and state also will be on call. Mrozek said his agency will be operating a weather-command center to monitor and control any snow response.

“Since the moment we were awarded the opportunity to host Super Bowl 48, people have been concerned about the impacts of cold weather and specifically snow,” Kelly said. “The good news is that this region is indeed ready.”

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