EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. (AP) – The first cold-weather Super Bowl was actually pretty warm.
The National Weather Service said that temperatures for Sunday’s NFL title game at MetLife Stadium were 10 to 15 degrees above normal, and just nine degrees below the record high of 62 set in 1973.
It’s certainly not what league owners expected in 2010 when they awarded the game to the Jets and Giants. The fears that snow, ice and frigid temperatures would detract from the game normally held in either warm-weather cities or in a dome proved unfounded – at least by a day.
The snow is forecast Monday.
Some two hours before kickoff, it was 52 degrees and cloudy. Fans stood in the stands wearing Broncos and Seahawks jerseys, holding their jackets or hanging them over seats.
The coldest kickoff temperature in Super Bowl history was 39 degrees at Tulane Stadium in New Orleans for Super Bowl VI, when Dallas beat Miami 24-3.
“Considering the cold weather we have had at the end of January, I would say the people going to the game are pretty lucky,” National Weather Service meteorologist Joe Pollina said in a telephone interview with The Associated Press.
The temperature was almost the same as it was in October in Boston when the Cardinals and Red Sox played in the World Series. The difference was it felt colder in Beantown because the winds ranged from 7-to-14 mph. The wind was calm in East Rutherford.
The normal for this northern New Jersey area is 40 degrees with a low of 25.
Pollina expected the temperature at the kickoff to be around 48 and about 40 at the final gun, barring overtime.
Rain is expected late in the night and it is expected to turn to snow, with 4-6 inches accumulating before ending Monday afternoon, Pollina said.
It’s par for the course for the area, Pollina said, noting arctic weather dropped the temperature to single digits in recent weeks, while the temperature reached 61 degrees on Jan. 11.
Fans appreciated the break.
“The last two weeks the weather has been brutal,” said Justin McElroy, 41, of Callicoon, N.Y., who was attending the game with his brother Kevin, 39.
“This is like a walk in the park,” Justin McElroy said.
In the past week, the brothers, who grew up in Seattle, had loaded their vehicles with ski pants, hunting boots, long johns, two pair of gloves apiece and extra layers of clothes.
“Even if it wasn’t like this, it didn’t matter,” Kevin McElroy said. “It would still be amazing to be at a Super Bowl.”
Karin Cambria, 46 of Denver, and her sister, Kris Link, 43 of Highlands Ranch, Colo., got tickets to the game because Cambria was the designated driver of the year for the Broncos. They planned for the cold, bringing eight layers of clothes made with high-performance cold-weather technology, blankets, pant warmers and feet warmers.
“We’re not wearing half the stuff we brought,” said Link, who was wearing an orange wig and carrying her jacket. “We didn’t need to.”
During pre-game warm-ups, players wore light sweats or jogging tights.
Robert Garner of Fort Collins, Colo., walked into the stadium wearing orange firefighter pants and an orange firefighter’s hat.
“It could have been really cold. It could have been warm,” said Garner, a Broncos season ticket holder. “It was just luck of the draw.”
By TOM CANAVAN, AP Sports Writer
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