By Steve Keating
DALLAS (Reuters) - NFL boss Roger Goodell has shrugged off concerns about playing the 2014 Super Bowl in the New York region after punishing winter storms pounded North Texas, the frost-bitten host of this year's championship game.
Critics are worried that freezing and windy weather in the New York area in winter could ruin the occasion but Goodell said he was confident the Big Apple would cope with whatever Mother Nature provided.
"North Texas was prepared if this happened and in New York, not only are they prepared, they're probably planning on this type of weather," Goodell told a news conference in Dallas on Friday.
"I think it's going to be a fantastic Super Bowl here, and I also think it's going to be a fantastic Super Bowl in New York."
The NFL had traditionally insisted the Super Bowl, normally played in late January or early February, must be held in areas where the external temperature exceeds 50 degrees Fahrenheit (10 degrees Celsius) or in a stadium that has a closed roof.
But the league's Super Bowl Advisory Committee agreed to a waiver for 2014 to allow the Giants and Jets to submit a joint bid for their new $1.6 billion stadium across the state line in New Jersey.
With this year's game a little over 48 hours away, the Super Bowl party had yet to get started as the city struggled to dig itself out from under the snow and sleet that has left North Texas paralyzed.
Downtown streets that were expected to be alive with Super Bowl parties have been largely deserted with many of the expected 150,000 visitors struggling to reach Dallas as the inclement weather causes travel chaos.
American Airlines said on Friday it had canceled 630 flights to and from Dallas, and Southwest said it canceled 130 flights in all of Texas, but Goodell insisted the foul weather would not distract from the biggest annual sporting event in the U.S.
"Certainly we've had a winter to remember, some may say to forget," he said.
"It's happened here in North Texas this week but it hasn't dimmed an enthusiasm of the NFL or the people here in this community.
"The storm is approaching and attacking most of our country and here in North Texas we are prepared and all of our events are going on as scheduled."
(Editing by Julian Linden)