EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. (AP) — Blankets, seat-warmers and earmuffs could compete with hats and T-shirts as must-have Super Bowl souvenirs if the owners of the New York area's two NFL teams woo football's ultimate game to the region in 2014.
"We'll be lucky if it snows," Jets owner Woody Johnson quipped Wednesday at a news conference marking the official signing of the bid package that will be delivered to the league's other 30 owners.
The theme of the new Meadowlands Stadium's bid is "Make Some History," and if the stadium is awarded the game, it will be the first Super Bowl to be played outdoors in a cold-weather locale. Miami and Tampa, which have hosted 14 Super Bowls between them, also are submitting bids. The owners will pick the Super Bowl site at the NFL meetings in Dallas on May 25.
Johnson, stadium chief executive Mark Lamping and New York Giants co-owners Steve Tisch and John Mara extolled the advantages of playing the game in the New York area, but they also acknowledged they will have to get other owners to revise their vision of the Super Bowl as a game that can only be played in bikini weather or in a climate-controlled dome.
"Sports fans aren't easily intimidated by weather," Lamping said on an unseasonably cool, drizzly day at the new stadium. "The game of football was never intended to be played in perfect conditions."
That view was echoed by several players from both teams who attended the news conference, including Jets quarterback Mark Sanchez and Giants quarterback Eli Manning.
Manning spoke fondly of beating the Packers in the NFC championship game two years ago in bone-chilling weather at Lambeau Field.
"Some of my friends still talk about that game more than the Super Bowl," he said. "It's one of my all-time favorite games, being in Green Bay, in negative-20-degree weather. If the NFC championship game can be played anywhere, why can't the Super Bowl be played in a cold-weather atmosphere?"
In December, the league gave the Giants and Jets the right to bid on the Super Bowl despite the traditional requirement that the host region have either a minimum temperature of 50 degrees or a stadium with a roof.
The new, $1.6 billion Meadowlands stadium, which both teams will call home beginning this fall, does not have a retractable roof, but Lamping pointed out that it does have "two of everything" including medical facilities and state-of-the art locker rooms, as well as more than 10,000 club seats and four huge HD video screens in the stadium's four corners. The Giants' training facility is on site, and the Jets' in nearby Florham Park.
Lamping said the bid envisions holding the traditional Saturday night Super Bowl party at Liberty State Park in Jersey City against a backdrop of the Statue of Liberty and the New York skyline. He mentioned New York's Jacob A. Javits Center and Ellis Island as possible sites for other pre-game events.
He also said the stadium would offer fans amenities like hand-warmers, blankets and self-warming seat cushions, as well as fire pits in the parking lot for tailgaters.
NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell said in February that holding the Super Bowl at the Meadowlands "could have tremendous benefits."
Mara was cautiously optimistic Wednesday, saying that while he has gotten a thumbs-down from some owners already, he has received support from others.
"We've already got two votes," he said, referring to himself and Johnson. "We only need 15 more."