Super Bowl or super brrr? Big game coming to NY

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Super Bowl or super brrr? Big game coming to NY

NEW YORK (AP) Amy Freeze can talk football and forecasts.

So with the Super Bowl coming to New York next year, and with local temperatures stuck in the teens, the WABC-TV meteorologist was all set to look ahead.

``Football fans like a little winter weather,'' she offered on a windy Wednesday.

OK, but exactly how wintry?

Try this long-range reckoning for the matchup at MetLife Stadium, from the soon-to-be printed Farmers' Almanac: ``An intense storm, heavy rain, snow and strong winds. This could seriously impact Super Bowl XLVIII.''

Predicts editor Pete Geiger: ``This is going to be one for the ages.''

``Hey, it goes with the territory,'' he said by phone from Lewiston, Maine.

Way too early to say for sure what awaits fans and players in the first outdoor Super Bowl at a cold-weather site. It'll be held Feb. 2, 2014, at the building shared by the Giants and Jets in East Rutherford, N.J.

The record low for a Super Bowl kickoff is 39 degrees when Dallas beat Miami in January 1972 at Tulane Stadium in New Orleans. It will be a lot warmer back in the Big Easy when the Baltimore Ravens and San Francisco 49ers tangle in less than two weeks. They'll be inside the Superdome.

The NFL was aware next year's Super Bowl could be a super brrr.

``Creating a plan for staging a Super Bowl in winter weather is not reinventing the wheel,'' NFL senior vice president for events Frank Supovitz said two years ago. ``Super Bowls have often been played in cities that can experience winter storms, including Detroit, Minneapolis ...''

``Coordinated snow and ice removal plans for travel routes, major event facilities, the stadium campus, and parking have always been part of our planning protocol,'' he said then.

Remember, no city is immune to rugged weather. Even though Green Bay and Pittsburgh played inside Cowboys Stadium two years, snow and ice blanketed the lead-up events.

Besides, a blizzard isn't likely. The National Weather Service said the average high in nearby Newark, N.J., on Feb. 2 is 39.8 degrees and the low is 24.2. The average precipitation on that date going back to 1931 is about one-eighth of an inch.

The only significant precipitation during a Super Bowl came in February 2007 at Miami. Playing in a rainstorm, Indianapolis and Chicago committed four turnovers in the first quarter.

Expect ticket sales to be brisk next year, StubHub spokesman Glenn Lehrman said. Ticket prices are running about $3,100 for the Ravens-49ers game, and Lehrman predicted the 2014 Super Bowl would create the largest demand ``we've ever had.''

``I think people want to be part of a first-time experience. Whatever it is,'' he said.

Lehrman said because so many people live on the East Coast - within driving distance of the stadium, not needing pricey hotel rooms - cold weather wouldn't have a chilling effect.

It certainly had an effect in New York on Wednesday. The radio hosts on WFAN began their noontime show talking about the weather; at De Witt Clinton Park in Manhattan, the artificial turf fields often occupied by pickup football games were empty.

But for a chance to see a Super Bowl, fans might sit for a few hours in a raw setting.

``You can see in Lambeau Field how they endure the cold there. They sell out there all the time, and in the Giants' and Jets' stadium they do the same,'' New York Rangers captain Ryan Callahan said before Wednesday night's NHL game at Madison Square Garden against the Boston Bruins.

``For an event like that I don't think the cold weather is going to deter anybody,'' said Callahan, a native of Rochester, N.Y.

Peggy Beisel-McIlwaine agreed. Her grandfather was the Packers' first president and she recalled being in the stands for the famed Ice Bowl - the 1967 NFL championship between Green Bay and Dallas when the game-time temperature at Lambeau Field was minus-13 degrees.

``I've got sitting in the cold weather down to a science,'' she said in an email. ``Sitting at Lambeau in subzero weather is all about the clothes: Cashmere, fleece and down and, of course, Ugg boots.''

Come next year, Freeze (''that's my real name,'' she added) said the wintry conditions might be a factor. She's seen that up close - while working four years in Chicago, she was a team meteorologist for the Bears, consulting with coaches, special teams members and equipment personnel.

``I'm always for the home-field advantage,'' she said. ``I think the weather will play into it.''

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AP Sports Writer Ira Podell contributed to this report.

AFC North: Manziel struggles continue, as does Browns search for franchise QB

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AFC North: Manziel struggles continue, as does Browns search for franchise QB

Watching Johnny Manziel make his court appearance Thursday on domestic violence charges was another reminder of how badly many of the Browns’ quarterback decisions have turned out.

Just two years ago, Manziel was the 22nd overall pick, and the Browns hoped he would be the answer to their quarterback problems. How wrong that looks now, with Manziel out of the NFL, with an uncertain future both on and off the field.

The Browns’ decision to take Manziel in 2014 looks even worse when you consider:

- Two other starting quarterbacks were drafted after Manziel in 2014 – Teddy Bridgewater of the Vikings (No. 32) and Derek Carr of the Raiders (No. 36). 

- Eight first-round picks in the 2014 draft have already made the Pro Bowl – linebackers Anthony Barr (Vikings), Khalil Mack (Raiders), and C. J. Mosley (Ravens); wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. (Giants), defensive tackle Aaron Donald (Rams); guard Zach Martin (Cowboys); cornerback Jason Verrett (Chargers), and Bridgewater.

The Browns’ new regime of executive VP Sashi Brown, chief strategy officer Paul DePodesta, and coach Hue Jackson could have spent another first-round pick on a quarterback this year. Instead, they signed Robert Griffin III during free agency, traded down out of the No. 2 spot in the draft, acquired some valuable draft picks, and waited until Round 3 to draft quarterback Cody Kessler of USC in the third round.

The Browns aren’t sure Griffin or Kessler will solve their quarterback problems either. But it’s hard to blame them for avoiding spending another first-round pick on a quarterback. Not after seeing how far Manziel has fallen so fast.

Secretary of Navy weighs in on Reynolds' service, availability for Ravens

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Secretary of Navy weighs in on Reynolds' service, availability for Ravens

The Secretary of the Navy expressed confidence Thursday that sixth-round draft pick Keenan Reynolds will be able to play for the Ravens next season. Speaking on the Dan Patrick Show, Ray Mabus said there should be ways for Reynolds to fulfill his Navy obligations while pursuing his NFL career.

“If I was an NFL team I would want Keenan Reynolds in my locker room,” Mabus said on the show. “Keenan Reynolds is a great ambassador for not only the United States Navy but the United States military. I’m confident we can work something out so Keenan can do both, play and serve…I’m going to do everything I can to make sure he can do both.”

The Ravens were hopeful that Reynolds would be allowed to play, but said they would abide by whatever decision made by the Navy. Reynolds was a star quarterback at Navy, but will try to forge an NFL career as a wide receiver-punt returner. Reynolds is scheduled to participate in this weekend’s Ravens rookie minicamp.

A precedent for Reynolds being allowed to play has already been set. The Patriots drafted long snapper Joe Cardona in the fifth round last season, and he played all of last season while also working at a Naval Preparatory Academy in Rhode Island.

Reynolds could be a busy man as well next season, juggling Navy responsibilities with football. However, Reynolds has long dreamed of playing in the NFL, and Mabus’ comments were a positive sign.

Three things to know about Ravens fourth-round pick Alex Lewis

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Three things to know about Ravens fourth-round pick Alex Lewis

Here are three things you should know about Ravens fourth-round pick (130), offensive tackle Alex Lewis.

1. Lewis overcame a bad off-the-field incident in college.

After an altercation with an Air Force cadet that left the cadet unconscious, Lewis was sentenced to 45 days in jail for third-degree assault. Afterward, he transferred from Colorado to Nebraska. After researching Lewis thoroughly, the Ravens felt comfortable enough to take a chance on him.

“In terms of the incident, we vet all of our guys,” said Ravens director of college scouting Joe Hortiz. “It’s out there, people know about it, and we’ve discussed it. Our scouts do a great job of not only talking to the coaches there, but following up with the staff at Colorado as well. And we felt very comfortable after discussing with the staffs at both schools and finding out information from different reports, and then as well as talking to the kid about the incident.”

2. Lewis will compete for a backup tackle spot.

Whether the Ravens keep Eugene Monroe or not, Lewis has a chance to be the backup left tackle if he can beat out James Hurst. Lewis could also become the backup right tackle behind Rick Wagner.

3. Lewis was selected a team captain at Nebraska.

That speaks highly of what teammates and coaches thought of him, and how he rebounded from his past troubles.