Blizzard won't put fans off Super Bowl's $25,000 seats
And so it arrives again, the only sporting event on earth where the ads matter as much as the result and the last place you'll find roman numerals outside Wrestlemania: Super Bowl XLVIII.
The NFL had the novel idea to hold this Sunday's game in New York, where thermometers flirt with zero this time of the year.
Not surprisingly, the weather is the dominant talking point five days out from kick-off. Denver Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning is 37 years old and his performances dip when the mercury drops. A throwback, gladiatorial affair seems inevitable, which might look good on television for a few minutes though it'd disappoint the generation of NFL fans weaned on the sport's pervasive blitzkrieg offensive game.
I find the location of the game its most interesting sub-plot, but for different reasons. I come from New Jersey, which is where the game will actually take place, since seemingly the only thing in the known universe that New York City doesn't have is an NFL stadium.
Like when the 1994 World Cup visited Giants Stadium, the New Jerseyness of the Super Bowl is being billed largely as an inconvenience for attendees to overcome. Meanwhile, the NFL is quietly relying on the labour of about 12,000 local volunteers – none of whom get to attend the game – to make sure the event functions smoothly.
My father tells a good story about how as a college student in New Orleans in 1972, he happily passed up $5 tickets for Super Bowl VI in Tulane Stadium since the game was played in sub-zero conditions. How things have changed – 50-yard line seats for Sunday's game will set you back at least $25,000. You can bet they will be filled, blizzard or no blizzard.