The League

Dave Goldberg
Sports Reporter

Dave Goldberg

Covered the NFL for the AP for 25 years and now is a senior NFL writer for Fanhouse.com

A flip of the coin

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The coldest game I can remember covering took place on Jan. 11, 1987.

It was in the Meadowlands, Giants vs. Redskins for the right to represent the NFC in the Super Bowl. The wind was 30 miles an hour, the wind-chill somewhere below zero and it was never a contest. "The coin toss was probably the biggest play of the game, and I'm not being sarcastic," said Joe Gibbs, whose team lost it and the game, 17-0.

To be fair, the Giants were the better team that season -- they'd beaten the Redskins twice before under better conditions.

But with the 2014 Super Bowl all but sure to be played at the same site in a new edifice that will open this season, do we really want coin tosses deciding titles? (Yes, a coin toss more or less got the Saints to the Super Bowl last season, but at least the NFL rectified that by changing the overtime rules so there's less chance of that happening again.)

And do we want the door opened to other cold-weather venues?

The genesis of the New York Super Bowl were the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001. It was floated by then-commissioner Paul Tagliabue along with the possibility of also playing a title game in Washington soon afterward but died when other owners were uninterested and Tagliabue himself noted that Giants Stadium didn't have the "amenities.''

Now we're back and the fans rather than the players are more likely to suffer.

Some of the great games in NFL history have been played in what we'll euphemistically call "weather.'' It was colder for the Ice Bowl in Green Bay on Dec. 31, 1967 than it was at the Meadowlands that January day, although not as windy, and the NFL has forever been enthralled by the spectacle of snow falling on Foxborough in January of 2002 for the "tuck rule'' game in which the Patriots beat the Raiders and started on their way to the first of three Super Bowl victories.

Not to mention the NFC title game in January of 2008 when the Giants beat the Packers in minus-one temperatures in Green Bay in what was supposed to have been Brett Favre's last game.

But those were the result of home-field advantage -- if a team earns home field, let it play in its own climate, although in the case of the Packers, the Giants' home climate isn't much worse.

The Super Bowl, on the other hand, is supposed to be on a neutral site although one day a home team will host one (Giants vs. Jets in the Meadowlands, anyone?) Those played in the north -- two in Detroit, one in Minneapolis and one scheduled for 2012 in Indianapolis -- have been indoors. True, it's gotten nippy at some outdoor games, too, notably at Tulane Stadium in New Orleans when the Chiefs beat the Vikings in Super Bowl IV, but otherwise, weather has rarely been a factor.

It also opens the possibility of all sorts of venues.

Want to roll the dice? Try Denver. I once spent 10 days there in January when the temperature never fell below 50. But I also covered a Broncos-Dolphins game there once in September snow and another featuring the Raiders that started in 50-degree temperatures and ended in a blizzard.

Want just normal cold? Try New England, Philadelphia, Washington, Pittsburgh, Chicago.

But this ones opens a door that never will shut again.

By Dave Goldberg  |  May 25, 2010; 12:00 AM ET  | Category:  NFL , New York Giants , New York Jets , Roger Goodell , Super Bowl Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   Del.icio.us   StumbleUpon   Technorati  
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