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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.

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Report: Boldin to sign with Lions

Report: Boldin to sign with Lions

Former Ravens wide receiver Anquan Boldin is back for a 14th season.

Boldin, who turns 36 in October, will sign a one-year deal with the Detroit Lions, according to ESPN's Adam Schefter. In Detroit, Boldin will be reunited with Lions coach Jim Caldwell, who became the Ravens offensive coordinator during their run to the Super Bowl in the 2012 season.

The Lions had a major void at wide receiver with All-Pro Calvin Johnson's retirement.

RELATED: RAVENS AGREE TO ONE-YEAR DEAL WITH OL JAKE LONG

A former second-round draft pick, Boldin spent seven seasons with the Cardinals before the Ravens traded for him in 2010. In three seasons with the Ravens, Boldin averaged 62 catches and 882 yards. He came up huge in the 2012 playoff run, with a team-best 22 catches for 380 yards and four touchdowns. He had six catches for 104 yards and a touchdown in the Super Bowl win over the 49ers.

After that Super Bowl run, though, Boldin was traded to the 49ers for a sixth-round draft pick. Boldin led the 49ers in catches and receiving yards in each of the past three years. He had back-to-back 1,000-yard seasons with the 49ers in 2013 and 2014, leading many to question the Ravens decision to trade him. Last season, Boldin led the 49ers with 69 catches for 789 yards.

Boldin enters this season ranked 17th in NFL history with 13,195 receiving yards. One of the few players ahead of him is current Ravens receiver Steve Smith Sr., who ranks 11th (13,392). Boldin last season became the 13th player in NFL history with 1,000 career receptions and now has 1,009. Smith, incidentally, needs 39 catches this season join Boldin in the 1,000-catch club.

MORE RAVENS: RETURNING PUNTS KEY FOR 3 RAVENS WR'S ON BUBBLE

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Ravens agree to one-year deal with former No. 1 overall pick Jake Long

Ravens agree to one-year deal with former No. 1 overall pick Jake Long

The Ravens are expected to sign veteran offensive lineman Jake Long after he flies into Baltimore on Tuesday night, CSN has confirmed. The impending Long-Ravens deal was first reported by Adam Schefter of ESPN, who reported that Long and the Ravens had agreed to a one-year deal. That contract is expected to be signed if there were no last-minute concerns once Long arrived in town.

Long is a former Pro Bowl left tackle with the Dolphins who was the No. 1 overall pick in the 2008 draft. He spent five seasons with the Dolphins, before joining the Rams for two seasons, then playing four games with the Falcons last season. Long is still only 31 years old, but he has been plagued by injuries in recent seasons, including two torn ACL’s.

The Ravens view Long as insurance at left tackle to as a backup to first-round pick Ronnie Stanley. While the Ravens believe Stanley can handle the starting job, the Ravens were left thin at the position after releasing veteran Eugene Monroe, who has since retired. James Hurst has been the Ravens’ backup left tackle, but in Long, the Ravens would have a more experienced option should Stanley struggle or suffer an injury.

RELATED: RETURNING PUNTS KEY FOR 3 RAVENS WR'S ON BUBBLE

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For three Ravens WR's on bubble, returning punts could be key

For three Ravens WR's on bubble, returning punts could be key

The Ravens don’t know who their primary punt returner will be, but they have plenty of options heading into training camp.

Keenan Reynolds, Michael Campanaro, and Kaelin Clay should all get reps returning punts. All three of those wide receivers are on the roster bubble, making their contributions on special teams even more important.

Campanaro has shown he can contribute as a wide receiver when he’s healthy.  However, avoiding injuries has been a major issue for Campanaro during his first two seasons.

The Ravens would prefer their punt returner to help the 53-man roster in another capacity, which may give Campanaro an edge. But if Campanaro, Reynolds, and Clay are not among the top six wide receivers when final cuts have to be made, will the Ravens decide to keep any of them strictly for their ability to return punts?

Reynolds will be a popular storyline during camp, as he tries to make the transition from Navy quarterback to NFL wide receiver. If Reynolds shows promise as a receiver, it will increase his chances of making the team, because his speed and ability to change direction will likely translate well to returning punts. Meanwhile, Clay had an 82-yard punt return for a touchdown against the Browns last season, so he has already shown explosiveness as a returner.

Figuring out their best option for returning punts is one of many things on the Ravens’ to-do list, with the first full-squad practice scheduled for Thursday.