New York? Supe is being played in swamps of Jersey

Workers shovel snow off the seats at MetLife Stadium as crews removed snow ahead of Super Bowl XLVIII following a snow storm, Wednesday, Jan. 22, 2014, in East Rutherford, N.J. Super Bowl XLVIII, which will be played between the Denver Broncos and the Seattle Seahawks on Feb. 2, will be the first NFL title game held outdoors in a city where it snows. (AP Photo/Julio Cortez)
Workers shovel snow off the seats at MetLife Stadium as crews removed snow ahead of Super Bowl XLVIII following a snow storm, Wednesday, Jan. 22, 2014, in East Rutherford, N.J. Super Bowl XLVIII, which will be played between the Denver Broncos and the Seattle Seahawks on Feb. 2, will be the first NFL title game held outdoors in a city where it snows. (AP Photo/Julio Cortez)
Posted: January 28, 2014

It is Super Bowl week, and I've heard that this year's game is being played in my home state of New Jersey. Well, actually, I have not heard that very often. Almost everybody across the country who talks about this Super Bowl between Peyton Manning's Denver Broncos and Richard Sherman's Seattle Seahawks refers to the game as being in New York.

That, of course, is just fine with NFL commissioner Roger Goodell. Even though it is New Jersey that will foot the majority of the bill and reap the minority of revenue, the NFL prefers to conjure an image of Manhattan skyscrapers rather than the swamps that house MetLife Stadium across the Hudson River over in Jersey.

Goodell was guilty of that offense last week in an interview with the New York Daily News. The question was whether the commissioner could see the Super Bowl returning to MetLife Stadium someday.

The last part of his answer: "To close Times Square and have a toboggan run in the middle of Times Square, that's wonderful, that's fun. People are going to be able to experience the Super Bowl beyond just the game itself. We are going to have days of events that are going to be unique to New York."

Uh, Commish, what about us, over here in Jersey? Hello? Could you throw us a bone?

Yes, the NFL says, Jersey gets a bone. Just don't expect any meat on it.

No, the NFL said, public parties in New Jersey cannot use the trademark name Super Bowl because that is reserved for Super Bowl Boulevard, which is on Broadway, which is in New York City. So the party in East Rutherford will go by the name of Meadowlands Tailgate Party.

My state's politicians aren't too happy about the treatment New Jersey is getting either. (Perhaps we should close all bridges and tunnels coming into the state from New York City on Super Bowl Sunday.)

Sen. Robert Menendez, a New Jersey Democrat, was especially ticked when the NFL unveiled its official Super Bowl program cover and it featured the Manhattan skyline with a little sliver of Jersey City that could be seen with the use of the Hubble telescope.

"For all of those who are geographically challenged, welcome to New Jersey, welcome to the home of Super Bowl XLVIII," Menendez said at a news conference last week.

In fairness to the NFL, a program with a photograph of American Dream Meadowlands, which sits next to MetLife Stadium, might have scared away fans from Denver and Seattle the same way it has frightened off investors of the ill-fated idea of a psychedelic mall with an indoor ski slope.

If you're not familiar with the American Dream Meadowlands, we'll give you a brief synopsis:

The project was launched in 2003, with groundbreaking in 2004, and was initially known as Xanadu Meadowlands, which conjures thoughts of a 1980 Olivia Newton John movie that was so bad it never should have been released. In other words, the project and the movie have a lot in common.

In 2007, the name of the project was changed from Xanadu Meadowlands to Meadowlands Xanadu, but that exhaustive search for a better moniker did little to help bring the place to completion. In 2009, with the project 80 percent complete, a subsidiary of bankrupt Lehman Brothers missed payments, causing a lot of other investors to back out. A bad snowstorm in February 2011 caused a partial collapse of the ski slope - isn't snow supposed to be good for ski slopes? - and a new deal to complete the place was struck between the New Jersey Sports and Exposition Authority and Triple Five Group - owner of the Mall of America in Minnesota - in April 2011.

The new plan, which many hoped would be complete in time for the Super Bowl in my home state, is still not complete because of delays caused by financing, permitting and - get this - a lawsuit filed by the New York Giants and New York Jets, the two New Jersey football teams that play in MetLife Stadium. It seems the Giants and Jets are concerned about potential traffic gridlock on game days.

Anyway, back to the Super Bowl in my home state. Since I live in South Jersey, which to people in North Jersey might as well be South Philadelphia, I suspect that not much of the promised $550 million to $600 million in revenue that is supposed to be generated from the big game is going to find its way to the good people of Burlington County.

If it makes you feel any better, the North Jerseyans aren't feeling much better about this Super Bowl than the South Jerseyans, including James Cassella, the longtime mayor of the host city, East Rutherford.

"New Jersey isn't getting the respect it should," Cassella told NJ Spotlight. "The one thing we have over New York City is that we have the Super Bowl and they don't. But [look at] the TV commercials, look at all the banners up in New York City."

Cassella, a Giants season-ticket holder, said he didn't even get invited to the game, so he's the one really being left out in the cold, even though the commissioner is boasting about how he'll be sitting in the stands pretending he's just a regular guy.

This could have all been avoided, of course, if this Super Bowl had been played in either a warm-weather climate or a place with a dome, like it should have been. Now, Manning and the Broncos and Sherman and the Seahawks will have to deal with the elements while the world watches a Super Bowl that everyone thinks is being played in New York.


bbrookover@phillynews.com

@brookob

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