Super Bowl vote shows NFL power

The biggest surprise about the New York area landing a Super Bowl turned out to be that the NFL owners were more concerned about the cold than they should have been.

It took four ballots to declare the Meadowlands a winner, which seemed about three too many considering the Jets and Giants did more than their part for the league by getting a new $1.6 billion stadium built in the first place.

A win is a win, though, and politicians and team owners got together at the stadium Wednesday to congratulate each other and predict the 2014 game will be a great event, no matter the weather.

Now organizers can begin concentrating on the real question surrounding the game: Bon Jovi or Springsteen? Which aging New Jersey rocker will be willing to brave the elements for this halftime show?

That's probably more important to most fans than the extended forecast. There are more than 100 million people in this country who could care less if the Super Bowl is in New Jersey or Newfoundland.

Their only care is that it's in high definition on the big screen in the family room.

Give the NFL credit — with a big assist from the media center of the world — for making the site selection more interesting than Mets-Yankees interleague play, or the NBA conference finals.

What has been all but overlooked in the game razzle-dazzle is a Supreme Court decision that could have far more impact on the league and its future.

The court rejected the NFL's request for broad antitrust law protection Monday, saying it must be considered 32 separate teams — not one big business — when selling branded items like jerseys and caps.

At the same time, the high court reversed a lower court ruling throwing out an antitrust suit brought against the league by one of its former hat makers, which was upset that it lost its contract for making official NFL hats to Reebok International Ltd.

That could have ramifications on everything from talks with the players' union to the setting of ticket prices. Nevertheless, the hot-button topic is possible snow accumulations for a Super Bowl that is four years away.

We know this much: Yes, it will probably be cold — most likely in the 30s — and there's a good chance the wind will blow. But using Feb. 2 as a probable date, records show that in the past 44 years, there was snow 4 percent of the time and the rain percentage was 14.

It doesn't exactly figure to be the frozen tundra of legend at Lambeau Field. Then again, no one plays on tundra these days anyway.

And while it's true that the cold might put a warm weather team like Tampa Bay at a disadvantage, there's not a lot of downside to hosting the game up North. That's especially true for the people the game is really played for — those sitting in front of their televisions on the biggest money-making day of the year in any sport.

Honestly, do you care if some corporate bigwig at the game on his company expense account has to bundle up between trips to the martini bar? Are you concerned that some other freeloading executive might get wet while waiting for someone to bring a catered meal to his seat on the 40-yard-line?

Hardly. And unless you're one of the few who has a rooting interest in the game instead of a betting interest, you don't care that the ball may not sail perfectly in the wind or that the wide receivers have to wear extra thick gloves.

Giving the Super Bowl to New York/New Jersey for building that new stadium isn't likely to start a trend, no matter how much teams like Pittsburgh and New England might want one of their own. The New York experience is probably a one-off, at least for the next decade or so.

Meanwhile, the NFL has other things to worry about. The Supreme Court ruling could make it harder for the league to get broader protection against antitrust laws. And it could give the players' union something to use next year — the threat of decertifying itself — when the collective bargaining agreement ends after next season and there's a possible lockout or work stoppage.

Not that any of that matters to the casual fan. They'll start to worry about labor relations when it looks as though their favorite players might not be allowed on the field.

No reason for them to worry about the temperature at kickoff time in 2014, either.

Because they won't be the ones freezing in the Meadowlands.

____

Tim Dahlberg is a national sports columnist for The Associated Press. Write to him at tdahlberg(at)ap.org