By Michael Waterloo
Of The Spirit
This Sunday, I'll be rooting harder than I have in a long, long time.
No, I don't really have a preference as to who wins the Super Bowl, as I respect Peyton Manning and absolutely love Richard Sherman, but I'll be pulling for the one that many of you have been cursing out the past few weeks — Mother Nature.
Come Sunday, I want snow — and tons of it.
Give me a blizzard.
Give me Winter Storm Jacqueline, for all I care.
While many of you will be gathering around Gobbler's Knob on Sunday for Phil, I'll be consuming a massive amount of dip, wings and other unhealthy food that I'm going to regret eating on Monday, all while watching the Super Bowl.
As you surely know by now, the big game will be played in an outdoor stadium, in a cold-weather city for the first time, well, ever.
Sadly, the weather report for Sunday in New Jersey isn't calling for snow, but man, could you imagine it?
Skip the negative-20 temperatures that we've been having, and just give me a blizzard.
It makes for the best football.
No, really, it does.
Journey back with me to Dec. 8, 2013, during Week 14 of the NFL season.
Now, Steelers fans will remember their game against the Miami Dolphins as the one where Antonio Brown stepped out of bounds on the final play by a toenail, taking away what could have been the greatest play in Steelers history outside of the Immaculate Reception.
Personally, I remember it as one of the top three most enjoyable games of the regular season, along with Detroit at Philadelphia and Minnesota at Baltimore.
Besides all of them being played at the same time on the same week, what else do they have in common?
All three were played in blizzard-like conditions.
Watching the Direct TV Red Zone Channel that week — which is the greatest thing created since Sheetz — I flipped back-and-forth between the three games, not caring about the other contests taking place.
There's something about football in the snow that makes it more enjoyable.
The argument against having a Super Bowl in a cold-weather climate is that the ultimate game that decides the champion in the league needs to
be played in the most ideal conditions.
Oh really now?
Just to make sure we are all on the same page, the game that decides everything needs to be played in perfect conditions, but the 20 weeks of football prior to that don't?
The Seahawks could have gone to Chicago and Green Bay, played in subpar conditions or a blizzard in two straight weeks to get to the Super Bowl, but all of the sudden, the conditions have to be perfect?
Sounds absurd to me, but that's the argument.
What makes football great, to me, is watching teams overcoming the odds and finding a way to win.
That's what makes the game great, but as an event, I want it to be entertaining.
I won't be shelling out thousands of dollars to freeze my tuckus off, so
I want to be entertained.
Now, in the grand scheme of things, Sunday's game is more important than just crowning the 2013-2014 champion.
It isn't about Pete Carroll getting it done in the NFL or Peyton Manning's legacy.
Short-term, sure, but going forward, if things go off without a hitch on Sunday, the NFL will prove that it can have a Super Bowl anywhere, well, except in Los Angeles.
Green Bay, Chicago, Denver, Pittsburgh, Kansas City and Minnesota could all host a game someday.
As long the stadium has 70,000 seats, they are eligible to host the big game.
Do you think the Steelers are adding additional seating to Heinz Field for their health or for an extra $100,000 of ticket and merchandise sales per year?
No, they are adding the seats with their sights on hosting the Super Bowl one day.
Having it in New York — which is the prime place to test it out — is a trial run for all of the cold weather stadiums.
Truthfully, I don't think a blizzard will help or hurt the cause.
Attendance will always be there for the Super Bowl, regardless of the weather, and if it snows at the game, the ratings at home will be through the roof.
Even in prime conditions, nothing is guaranteed to go perfectly, such as last year's power outage.
So why not keep the experiment of the cold-weather Super Bowl going?
The people will flock, the eyes will watch, the advertisers will continue to make $50 million 30-second ads, and most importantly for the league, the money will continue to flow in.