Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel wants to bring a Super Bowl to the Windy City. How successful his quest will ultimately be, though, depends in large part on something that’s completely beyond his control – the success or failure of Super Bowl XLVIII.
In a private meeting with NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell, Mayor Emanuel proposed the idea of making Soldier Field, Chicago’s landmark stadium, the site of an upcoming outdoor Super Bowl.
Up to this point, Soldier Field has hosted a Barack Obama NATO summit, Martin Luther King’s Chicago Freedom Movement rally, an address by Douglas McArthur during World War II, and the Infamous Long Count Fight between Jack Dempsey and Gene Tunney back in 1927. Never a Super Bowl, though.
Mayor Emanuel hopes to change that.
“We did speak about this earlier. We are, as you know, hosting a Super Bowl in New York in an open-air stadium in 2014. And we’re excited about that,” said Goodell.
“We think it’s going be a great thing for our fans and a great thing for New York. And I think if we can do it successfully there, I think that opens up doors that we’ll all be looking at.”
Super Bowl XLVIII, scheduled to take place at MetLife Stadium in 2014, will mark the first time that the biggest event in American sports is played outdoors and in a cold weather environment. How that turns out will seriously impact whether other historic stadiums that have never previously been considered as potential sites get their shot at hosting.
And while there is always the chance that Super Bowl XLVIII will be awesome and that everyone will start thinking that cold weather environment Super Bowls are the way to go, folks from Chicago aren’t especially optimistic. Via Rick Morrissey of the Sun-Times:
Try to imagine if the Super Bowl had been played in Chicago during the Blizzard of 2011, when the area was trapped beneath 21 inches of snow and Tom Skilling’s isobars were aroused like never before. Put aside the logistical problems of getting the field ready and getting people to and from the stadium. Think of two teams reaching the title game and having to worry about how to stay warm and whether the footing will go from bad to does-anybody-know-a-good-lawyer by the third quarter.
Ten years ago, Chicago experienced a 10-inch snowstorm and a low of minus-7 within days of each other — in March.
And don’t get me started on the capriciousness of lake-effect snow.
Expect to see this issue continued to get batted around until 2014. At that point, the notion of a cold weather environment Super Bowl will either die a quick, icy death – or it will gain a whole wave of momentum unlike anything we can envision right now.
Either way, you have to give Mayor Emanuel credit for trying.