Wednesday, February 10, 2010

On Snow Bowls

It's snowing here in Brooklyn, and the shelves at Trader Joe's have been swept clean of Trader O's, and I've come to a conclusion: At this point in my existence, I like the idea of snow more than snow itself. I suppose that's inevitable; at some point, snow becomes a burden rather than an excuse, and the negatives outweigh the positives in every possible way...except when it comes to sports. I find myself actively wishing that the AFC Championship were being played at the Meadowlands this afternoon. I find myself thinking that a Super Bowl played in the snow would be, regardless of outcome, one of the three most memorable games in history. I realize that the NFL would never allow it, but the more I think about it, I'm not sure why they wouldn't; this is a sport that essentially built its legacy on a frozen tundra, but it's practitioners are too soft to play the most important game of the season in anything other than optimal conditions?

I would argue that, in this age of media saturation, we remember games affected by the weather more fondly than any other. I mean, if I bring up the Tuck Rule game, what's the first thing you remember? It was snowing. The Ice Bowl, and The Fog Bowl: This is football; or at least, this is football, until the Super Bowl, or until the bowl season.* So why not play a Super Bowl in New Jersey, or in Green Bay, or in Boston? Why not play the BCS Championship in Pittsburgh? It's not like the game won't sell out and generate millions in revenue, even if it's in Detroit. What exactly are they afraid of? CEOs contracting frostbite? Most of the halftime acts are already cryogenically preserved. If there's a populist revolution in the offing in this country, this is where the revolution begins: With a big game in the snow.

One of the three most memorable games I ever attended in person was this one, back in 1987. You want to know what I remember most? It's not the finish, even though the finish was outstanding**. What I remember is that I went to buy a hot chocolate at halftime, and I held it up to my lips and the chocolate dribbled down my chin. I was so cold that my lips had frozen into solid blocks. At the time, it was painful, but in retrospect, it was one of the seminal moments of my existence.

I don't think I'd ever want to experience that again, but I'd like to experience it vicariously.

*With the notable exception of the Cotton Bowl, where the weather seemed entirely unpredictable. The idea that it could snow in Texas never ceased to be shocking.
 **And damn, Blair Thomas was a truly great running back before he tore up his knee.

(Photo: Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)


WarningTrack said...

I'd like to see more of this to, but by way of answering your (possibly rhetorical) question: I think it's played in warm weather because a) they want a well-played "clean" game, which they think will be attractive to much more casual fans than you or I, and more importantly, b) it's a massive media event, which is infinitely harder to organize and get off hitch-free in mild weather. That badass stage The Who was on, for example, would be implausible in Wisconsin this time of year.

WarningTrack said...

Er, that should be "too" and "easier," not "to" and "harder."

You get the idea. Toss in the fact that there's an absurd amount of travel to and from the game, and they really don't have much choice.

オテモヤン said...


WarningTrack said...

You know, I'd never thought of it like that, オテモヤン.

Michael Weinreb said...

If オテモヤン just gave away the ending of Lost, I'm going to be upset.

WarningTrack said...

I'll bet he gets made if you refer to him as オモテヤン by accident.