Baltimore Ravens' quarterback Joe Flacco apologized Tuesday for calling the idea of playing a Super Bowl outdoors in cold weather "retarded," but didn't back off his criticism of the idea. The 2014 Super Bowl, of course, is being played at MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, N.J.
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Here is what Flacco, whose Baltimore Ravens face the San Francisco 49ers in the 2013 Super Bowl in New Orleans, said on Monday:
"I think it's retarded," Flacco, a native of New Jersey, told reporters on Monday after the Ravens arrived in New Orleans for Super Bowl XLVII. "I probably shouldn't say that. I think it's stupid. If you want a Super Bowl, put a retractable dome on your stadium. Then you can get one.
"Other than that, I don't really like the idea. I don't think people would react very well to it, or be glad to play anybody in that kind of weather."
During media day on Tuesday, Flacco expanded on his reasons for disliking the idea, calling it "crazy."
"I think it's obvious reasons," Flacco said. "They've done it the way they have been doing it for the last 47 years for a reason. A lot more goes into this game than just playing the game.
"It's for the fans and the players that played for the right to get there. There's a lot of things that go into it. It's kind of a crazy decision, I believe."
ESPN New York columnist Johnette Howard backed Flacco's argument:
The NFL's awarding of the Super Bowl to the Giants and Jets has always been seen as a payback for the Mara family and Woody Johnson's decision to self-finance the construction of the stadium. Having the game in the business and media capital of the world should be more lucrative for the league, too. (As long as Flacco was being flip, he could've added if the NFL wants the benefits of having the game here, let the league build a dome over MetLife Stadium to optimize its cash-cow potential.)
But players don't care about that. Nor should they. It's easy to see why players would want to nip the cold-weather-site trend before Denver, New England and Chicago follow through on expected attempts to host the Super Bowl in undomed stadiums, now that New York/New Jersey is.
Players just want a chance to play in the fairest conditions possible. Then let the best team win.
That's all Flacco seems to be saying. His word choice was poor. But his logic was rock solid.
There is little doubt, as incredible as the experience could be for the region, that the 2014 Super Bowl is a huge gamble for the league. As much as the weather can impact the game itself, the Super Bowl is also about the surrounding festivities. Commissioner Roger Goodell recently discussed the elements in a press conference about next year's Super Bowl:
"We are thrilled. Football is made to be played in the elements," Goodell said. "We're gonna celebrate the game here, we're going to celebrate the elements. We're going to make it a great experience."
Is Flacco right, Giants' fans? Or should he maybe just spend his time worrying about the game he is playing this weekend?