Fox Sports Execs, Analysts Embrace Frigid New York Super Bowl
"The NFL shouldn't be apologetic about a cold weather Super Bowl," says Fox Sports COO Eric Shanks. "Football is a cold weather sport."
Although Super Bowl XLVIII will be the first open-air, cold climate Super Bowl ever, Fox Sports executives and NFL analysts brushed off concerns that the weather in the New York-New Jersey area will wreak havoc on the big game.
"It's not like football is never played in the cold," noted Fox Sports COO and Super Bowl executive producer Eric Shanks, adding that the network and the league always have contingency plans for eventualities.
Reporter Erin Andrews observed that it was 15 below for the Jan. 5 Packers-49ers matchup from Lambeau Field in Green Bay, Wisconsin.
"I think the unique thing about football is not the best of five, best of seven, it's one game, regardless of what the elements are," added analyst Howie Long. "It's one of the things that I believe draws people to football. Does [the weather] impact the game from the quarterback's perspective? Sure. But I think it embodies what football is all about."
Billed as "the boldest and the coldest," Super Bowl XLVIII will be played Sunday, Feb. 2 at MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, NJ, across the Hudson River from Manhattan and the home stadium of the New York Giants.
"I think [the weather] is more of a media-driven story," added host Curt Menefee, addressing media reporters peppering the panel with all manner of hypothetical disaster scenarios at the winter Television Critics Association press tour on Monday.
The networks of 21st Century Fox will morph into Super Bowl cross-promotional mode beginning Sunday, Jan. 26, with a flurry of football-themed entertainment programs and Super Bowl-themed shows, opens, bumpers, promos, program marathons and news coverage. Fox Sports is constructing a three-story, 40' x 40' climate-controlled studio and broadcast compound in Times Square, where Fox Sports anchors and analysts will be housed for the week leading up to the game.
The company's affiliates, Fox News Channel and various Fox Sports 1 programs will also originate from the studio. And the network will test out a few new bells and whistles at the NFC championship game Jan. 19 in Seattle, including an infrared camera that will show a player's body temperature on the field.
"In my opinion, the NFL shouldn't be apologetic about a cold weather Super Bowl," Shanks said. "Football is a cold weather sport. You know what you're getting into. So let's celebrate cold weather Super Bowls. How great would it be to have a Super Bowl in Green Bay?"