Fans of the NFL will be glued Sunday for the game, the commercials, the gathering of friends and family and, for many, their introduction to Coldplay at halftime.
When Super Bowl 50 (the numbers will go back to Roman numerals soon enough) in Santa Clara goes down Sunday, the Minnesota Vikings will be well-represented. Not by players, but men in suits who are checking to see what goes right and what goes wrong during the big game and the week of build-up.
Because the Super Bowl is coming to Minnesota in two years, but some of the logistical planning being gleaned in California this week could be rendered moot for Minnesota’s showcase. The weather in Cali at this time of year is glorious for an outdoor game and the outdoor venues for the accompanying events that entail Super Bowl week.
The weather in February in Minnesota is iffy at best.
Seattle players can attest to how nasty Minnesota in winter can be when the gales of January come early.
In February? Forget about it.
This weekend in the Minny is quite mild by February standards. The next week? Likely not so much.
It’s the potential peril the NFL puts itself in when it awards a Super Bowl to a cold-weather city. It’s been 24 years since a Super Bowl was played in Minnesota and the state got lucky when the big game came north in 1992. The weather all week was milder than typical mid-winter conditions. It was still cold by most standards, but, for the locals, they were able to put their best foot forward thanks to El Nino.
Had the Super Bowl been played in Minnesota in 2016, the weather would have cooperated. Considering how many of the interactive fan events are typically conducted outside, that wouldn’t have been a problem. Had it been similar to the first week of January, it likely would have resulted in some owners vowing never again to bring the NFL’s showcase event to their home-country version of Siberia.
For the last several Super Bowls, Vikings brass have been on the ground checking out the logistics of the event in terms of traffic and ancillary events that are part of the wall-to-wall worldwide coverage, and gleaning knowledge for how to make the experience as enjoyable as possible for fans. They’ve moved through the crowds almost anonymously, taking notes and making plans for when the Super Bowl descends on Minnesota for the second time.
The plan is for Minnesota to roll out its red carpet for the football world and showcase the state and the City of Minneapolis in 2018. The biggest question facing the planners of Super Bowl 52 is simply an obstacle they can’t control – the potential for heavy snow or bitter cold, or maybe both.
It’s an occupational hazard in Minnesota that always makes the region a long shot to land a Super Bowl. Some scoffed when Indianapolis was awarded a Super Bowl, but the reaction from just about anyone who attended was that the people of Indiana did it right and knew how to put on a show for the biggest event of the year.
Minnesotans plan to do the same. The clock is ticking down to when the biggest circus in the world comes to the Twin Cities for a week of pomp and circumstance. What is being learned this week in Santa Clara will be incorporated two years from now when the show comes to town. There will be thousands of hours of preparation and planning put in to make the event perfect.
There’s only one variable that will come into play that the event planners will have no control over and it will be the one variable that will determine whether the Super Bowl comes back to Minnesota again – the always unpredictable winter weather in the Upper Midwest.