Sleet and snow are good for many things — delaying flights, closing roads, the Winter Olympics — but they are not conducive to throwing tight spirals or catching Hail Mary passes.
This year’s cold-weather Super Bowl in New York has caused many football fans to wonder who will succeed despite the prospect of poor conditions?
The Super Bowl showcase the best in the NFL, but many think that can’t happen in a blizzard. Who wants to watch quarterbacks fumble snaps and receivers slip and slide all over the place?
Wintry elements favor teams that can run the ball and play suffocating defense. With New York City set to host the much-awaited cold weather Super Bowl, teams like the Saints, Seahawks and 49ers won’t have the ability to avoid the chill altogether. Other teams such as the Broncos, Patriots, Bears or Ravens may actually welcome such a change in venue for the big game.
In the AFC, only the Indianapolis Colts appear to be out of luck and may get left out in the cold. The Colts build their offense around quarterback Andrew Luck’s ability to throw the ball, as do the Broncos, Patriots and Bengals. The difference between the Colts and those other teams is the Colts play indoors. While Peyton Manning, Tom Brady and Andy Dalton are playing in the elements perfecting their offenses in harsh conditions, Andrew Luck and the Colts are playing in ideal conditions. While the Colts will get one home game, they’ll be heading to Denver or New England should they make it out of the wildcard round of the playoffs.
In the NFC, there’s no denying the impact cold weather games will have on the Seattle Seahawks and the New Orleans Saints. The Seahawks are built to withstand that type of weather with a strong defense and solid rushing attack, but for whatever reason, Seattle doesn’t play as well on the road. The Saints, much like the Colts, rely far too much on the passing game to withstand an ill-timed snowstorm in New York. New Orleans fields a suspect defense and an offense that is one-dimensional. While the Saints rank second in the NFL in passing yards, they come in at just 26th in rushing, meaning the air game is vital for their success.
The teams that could actually benefit from the wintry weather would be the Ravens, Chiefs and Bears, all of which play traditional style football, keeping games close until the bitter end. The problem they face is the inability to keep up with high-octane offensive attacks. They will have to pin down the passing attacks of teams like the Broncos, Patriots or Saints if they want to survive and advance.
A snowstorm Super Bowl means low scores and cautious play calling, but in the end the chilly weather wont affect the playoffs as much as we think it will. Some of the most memorable games in the NFL’s history have come in subfreezing temperatures. It’s just another hurdle that teams must overcome and those featuring a strong running game will benefit from the poor weather, while teams featuring potent aerial attacks will be forced to adjust.
How do you think having the Super Bowl in New York will impact the game? What teams do you think could thrive in the conditions and what teams do you think will be hurt by them?