Photos by Carlos M. Saavedra/Sports Illustrated :: Illustration by MG
Photos by Carlos M. Saavedra/Sports Illustrated :: Illustration by MG

The Cold Truth

The Super Bowl should showcase the best of the NFL, but that can’t happen in a blizzard. Who wants to watch QBs fumble snaps and receivers slip and slide all over the place? Wintry elements favor teams that can run the ball and play suffocating defense. So the more I think about it, let it snow!

By
Richard Sherman
· More from Richard·

Selfishly, I should prefer a snowy Super Bowl.

I’ve never played in the snow myself. Neither has our quarterback, Russell Wilson, who told me the only time he’s ever done it was during a practice at Wisconsin. Yet I still feel confident we would have an advantage over most teams in the snow, no matter the stage, because we run the ball well and we defend the run. Do both of those things, and your offense can run play-action and catch a defense on bad footing—and your defense forces the other team into passing situations with cold hands. Plus, I like the idea of quarterbacks with frozen fingers throwing off target and wide receivers dropping footballs.

But I still think hosting a Super Bowl in New Jersey is a big mistake.

I saw the early portions of the Detroit-Philadelphia game in Week 14. It wasn’t much to watch. The offensive and defensive lines were moving in slow motion. The receivers and defensive backs were slipping around the field. They fumbled the quarterback-center exchange two or three times just while I was watching. The Eagles pulled away in that game, but any close result in conditions like that leaves a lot of doubt about who’s really the better team.

The Week 14 Eagles-Lions game featured nine fumbles. A snowy Super Bowl could prove equally sloppy. (Al Tielemans/Sports Illustrated)
The Week 14 Eagles-Lions game featured nine fumbles. A snowy Super Bowl could prove equally sloppy. (Al Tielemans/Sports Illustrated)

This game is played all over the country, in almost every climate America has to offer, and it’s been that way for a long time. Snow happens, and that’s fine for a regular-season game or even an AFC or NFC Championship Game. A team in a cold-weather city can and should earn the right to host a game in conditions it’s familiar with. Baltimore and Pittsburgh built legacies and winning traditions on cold-weather football.

Yet the Super Bowl city is decided years in advance, and the game is supposed to be played on a neutral site. Teams that make it that far have played through the heat of training camp, winter on the road and in the comfort of domes. Whether their rosters were built for the snow or not, they probably overcame it at some point in the season. The Super Bowl should be a clean slate that showcases the athletes, not the stadium or the city they’re playing in.

How many careers are ended due to injury in one NFL season? How many people get fired? How many bodies and brains are worse off, just so we could find out who the best team is?

After all that, there should be no doubt.

Consider the millions of people around the world who watch the Super Bowl. It’s the league’s responsibility to show its audience the best possible product, and this can’t happen in the snow. Everybody wants to see great offense and passing. While you may get some of that regardless, there will be a lot more drops when the ball feels like a brick. And who wants to see Tom Brady or Peyton Manning—two of the best quarterbacks ever—reduced to dropping center-quarterback exchanges? If you’re going to protect these guys from defenses above all other positions, you might as well protect them from the elements, too.

sherman-interception-giants

It’s the league’s responsibility to show its  audience the best possible product, and this can’t happen in the snow.

And don’t tell me it’s New York’s turn, with their newish stadium. Seattle’s stadium has been around since 2002 and we’d be a great host. Even before that, Seattle put in a few bids, but one of the reasons it didn’t get the game was because they said the weather is unpredictable: too much rain. Yet any player will tell you they’d rather play in heavy rain like that Super Bowl in Miami seven years ago than in the kind of snow we saw in Philadelphia and other northern cities two weeks ago.

I like the NFL’s way of choosing which city hosts the Super Bowl; we have the ability to choose the location based on the quality of the environment. Unlike most of the major sports, one game decides our champion. So we don’t let something like an All-Star game decide where our championship is played, because the idea is the site should be fair to all. How can the possibility of snow, which gives advantages to teams like mine, and Kansas City and San Francisco, be considered neutral?

Change the criteria back to the way it was, but not just yet.

More from The MMQB
353 comments
CharlieN27
CharlieN27

"And who wants to see Tom Brady or Peyton Manning—two of the best quarterbacks ever—reduced to dropping center-quarterback exchanges?" 

FredJones2
FredJones2

So  I guess the old Chinese lady with her hands glued to 10 and 2 on the steering wheel and her left blinker on for 5 miles that I past today here in snowy Michigan is a better driver than let me see..EVERYBODY in Atlanta because she drove all the way home without crashing..CNN news break Snow and Ice had nothing to do with what happen in Atlanta..People in Atlanta just don't know how to drive..how stupid does that sound...Northern Super bowls should be played in a dome..call me crazy but I don't want no excuses neither does a true champion..I wanna beat you on your best day with your best play

Gmony
Gmony

i actually agree with you.. someone else (a non crazy person) must have written this :-)

HughJardonn
HughJardonn

That's what happens when the league has an imbecile for a commissioner. Super Bowls in the snow.

alehkine
alehkine

You go out there and prove you are the best, no matter the weather. It is just another obstacle that I want to see the athletes overcome. Snow? Fine. Rain/mud? Fine. I think it adds to the excitement to see how the teams adapt. If I wanted to see how fast the offense could be run, I would watch a practice, or scrap that, just let the receivers/secondary do wind sprints.  Whats the point? Show me real football outside in the weather. 

rooney5432
rooney5432

That's exactly what I've been saying, but I didn't realize Sherman had already written this article.  As a Seahawks fan, I think it favors us, but like Sherman it's still not the right thing to do.  The focus should be neutral site focusing on the athletes and the game, not the weather.

Ilovemesomeme
Ilovemesomeme

I love the comments section of Shermans articles.  Watching all of the Seattle fans show up on their white horses, with armor freshly polished never gets old.  Listen, this dude writes articles from time to time on this website.  When he does, people will comment.  Some of those people will disagree with what he has to say.  This doesn't make those people a racist.  Sherman DID beat a PED violation.  And those who mention that are being fair in questioning his integrity.  We've all seen many athletes over the years, from Bonds, to Armstrong, to most recently Ryan Braun cheat, and get away with it, often times, while citing their "passed tests" as "proof" that they are clean.  Sherman is a very good football player, unfortunately many times, his mouth, and the fact that's it always running, take away a lot of his appeal from those who aren't Seattle fans.  You'll just have to learn to deal with it.  I for one am looking forward to him getting torched again this postseason "Roddy White style" so that he may (even briefly) decide to stop flapping his gums. 

DennyCrane
DennyCrane

This is as good an explanation as any for why Sherman is a PED guzzling cheat who needs a ref to look the other way to make a "great" play.


NY was chosen for one reason - to reward the area for subsidizing the construction of a stadium with over a billion in public money. Same reason that the SB will be played in Santa Clara next year - to reward the public for subsidizing a private business.


The NFL's real concern is that enough happy fans will show up who will blow millions watching the game. Remember Richard - you're just the hired help so do what your told to do.

kshaw1967
kshaw1967

Playing in inclement weather is part of football. I think the Super Bowl should rotate amongst all the NFL stadiums and not just because a Super Bowl in Lambeau would be great.

BobBCMI
BobBCMI

Perfect conditions make for often predictable, boring football. Run, pass, pass, punt. Football is made for the elements. Suck it up; play the game. and as far as attendance, well, none of us on here could probably even sniff a ticket to the Super Bowl. Let the elite go freeze their collective fannies and watch the game in the elements.


wetmouse
wetmouse

I don't need to read an article allegedly written by a PED cheat on a team full of PED cheats. But the very idea that playing a football game in the snow is a problem is ludicrous. It would almost certainly make the most entertaining and memorable Super Bowl of all time. And many championship games in NFL history were played in frigid condition. Somehow the NFL survived it. 

Snow, by the way, rarely happens in Seattle. It does NOT give Seattle an advantage. But why should 100% of cold-weather teams have the disadvantage of having to play in warm weather sites 100% in supposedly "neutral" Super Bowl sites? That's the real question.

Well, that and how Sherman managed to squirm his way out Ryan Braun-style.

Cracka
Cracka


"Wintry elements favor teams that can run the ball and play suffocating defense."

Which is exactly what the Niners will do after they pummel you into the turf!!!!

Sucka

oldguy68
oldguy68

I think the ice bowl was the best NFL championship game ever played

jimmyjon_55555
jimmyjon_55555

10000% disagree... football was MADE TO BE PLAYED IN THE SNOW.  if you cant hack it in the snow- well thats your issue.  look at guys that play in domes and then when they have to play outside (imagine that? playing outside?)  theyre not as good...  is that the NFLs fault?  no - its called practice-  and you should prob practice outside once in a while.    

mlynch
mlynch

I think playing the Super Bowl in the snow would be awesome.  I don't buy the argument about the weather.  I've always wondered how MLB can determine a true champion when many of the play-off & World Series games end up being played in cold weather.  Anyone remember when the Red Sox beat the Rockies?   They had games snowed out.  Based on the argument some are making with the Super Bowl being played outdoors in NYC, the Rockies should have won due to "home field" advantage.  I don't recall anyone ever complaining that the best team didn't win the World Series that year.  Football is meant to be played outside in any weather.  I enjoyed watching the Eagles-Lions game a couple of weeks ago in Philly, which was played in a blizzard.  Coaches & players always talk about have to adapt and overcome, this is another opportunity to do so.       

SweetLightCrude
SweetLightCrude

If bad conditions call into question the meaning or outcome of a game, what does that mean for the dozen or so teams that play a significant portion of their schedule in bad conditions? 


A team that plays in the north must build its roster around the potential of bad weather. Such teams are at a disadvantage on a fast track because in order to get to that fast track they need to win in the cold and snow. 


It makes no sense that the only "true test" of football is playing in conditions that are the norm for some teams but not for others. 


Snow and cold is a reality many teams deal with regularly. It's fine that the SB now and then faces those elements.

j_gilmour
j_gilmour

Sorry Richard, in this case you're just wrong.  I really respect the career you are building and the fact you openly talk about your perspective in this column but I disagree completely.  My reason; you are an entertainer.  You are an athlete, a writer and anything else you want to be.  But on Sunday's, and if you're lucky enough to get there in February, you are playing a game to entertain.  You are part of a story and every great story needs context to be relevant.  The weather and the locale this year's SB builds some of that context and give the potential to be something special.  That matters more than players who would rather play in heavy rain instead of snow.  It matters more than getting the best execution out of every play.  It gives you and your peers the opportunity to be remembered just a little differently and maybe more distinctly.  It gives you the opportunity to stand out and not blend in with all the other mundane, forgettable events we see a number of times a year.

SkeeterSkier
SkeeterSkier

I figure...The 12th Man in New York deserves a Superbowl at their place before Seattle because they've been around a lot longer.

Beethzart
Beethzart

Anyone who says that the Super Bowl has to be played in a warm weather city or a domed stadium for a great game completely misses the boat. The most exciting games, ones we remember for decades, are playoff games in snow and ice and rain and weather. Why do we love an AFC Championship game in  snow, or remember games such as the Ice Bowl so fondly? Because these players play any time, anywhere. I am hoping for at least 6 inches of sticky white snow before the game. I want to see guys breath as they huff and puff while chasing each other. I can't wait to watch NFL Films slo-mo of a glorious catch as the flakes pour down on NJ.


BRING ON THE SNOW!


And in a couple of years, lets head out to Green Bay for the big game. 

GoPSULions
GoPSULions

The Superbowl show have a lottery draw and select all 32 teams.  The game should go to every team in the order selected over that 32 year period.  The Super Bowl should not reflect the playing conditions of limited # of sites.  There is no reason a game should not occur in snow on occasion.  Sorry, if you're some rich corporate sponsor that is not a true NFL fan and do not like to sit in the cold, then watch it on TV.

WilHenderson
WilHenderson

PICK TWO STADIUMS a year in advance .  Let 2014 Pro-Bowl winner decide whether it is to be the NFC stadium OR AFC stadium for 2015 Super bowl  .. ADD to that both PRO-BOWL teams have them coached by each stadiums coach . Imagine , choice of Arizona OR Miami with each pro-bowl team coached by Arians & Philbin ;)  That should provide for firey pre-game and half-time speeches when the super bowl for thir cities are the prize .  ALSO makes pro-bowl worth watching 3:)

psychsports
psychsports

Never will the weather in NY get so much attention again. Maybe we can focus on climate change and protecting the environment while we are at it?  Less importantly we can address what the Giants and Jets need to do to get back on track in a more creative way than has been put out there to date. That would entail new ways thinking of course which at times is in short supply. Read at psychologyofsports.com

ypjramer
ypjramer

If every other game can potentially be played in snow, including all of the playoffs prior to the Super Bowl, than it should also be allowed for the Super Bowl itself. I would love to see a Super Bowl held in some of the iconic stadiums that have a ton of history but haven't been able to host a Super Bowl because they are in a cold weather city. Lambeau Field is one that comes to mind (I'm not a GB fan either). 

The excuse doesn't seem to be for the game itself but for those that may have more padded wallets and can front the money to even attend the game in the first place so they can be comfortable. It's FOOTBALL people, you should be able to enjoy it wherever you are watching it. So, enjoy the privilege of even being at the game, something many people won't ever get the chance to do.

SephirothDZX
SephirothDZX

The Super Bowl is about determining the best team in the league that year. A team that cannot adapt to, or win in, the elements is clearly not the best team. Please, lets not pervert the Super Bowl from a Championship Game into a glorified NFL commercial.

wayreth21
wayreth21

Football in the snow is great.  The Super Bowl is already overpolished and overpresented in every manner.  Lets take football back to its roots and play  it in all conditions, snow, rain, bitter cold.  After all the teams will play in those situations prior to the Super Bowl, don't gloss it over and only play it in CA, LA, and FL.


JasonMorrisRVA
JasonMorrisRVA

Sherman might be the only person in the country who didn't think the Eagles-Lions snow game wasn't entertaining.  Some of the most memorable games in NFL history have been played under adverse conditions.  Why not a Super Bowl?  
I can't wait to read all the columns by sports writers this February.  Every time the Super Bowl has been played in a cold weather city, the writers whine about how they couldn't play golf outside.  Now the players are whining too? After reading this, I hope Seattle gets killed in either the playoffs or Super Bowl.

ihavesaidit
ihavesaidit

@alehkine The point is that the weather can introduce a huge "randomness" factor that will lead to the best team not necessarily winning, even if they're the best and the best at overcoming bad weather in general. Maybe an unexpected out-of-control wind draft sends a perfectly kicked field goal off target. Maybe a piece of hardened snow in just the right spot tackles the QB before a winning perfect pass, etc. You can't prove you're the best when the conditions aren't the same for both teams. Weather can play a huge advantage to one team or the other, in a completely random way, and so if you want the Super Bowl to be decided by a coin-flip among the two best teams, so be it, but don't fool yourself into thinking games played in terrible conditions are a fair measure of superiority.

Ilovemesomeme
Ilovemesomeme

@rooney5432 I guess it depends on your definition of a "neutral" site.  For teams who always play outdoors, I have a hard time believing that a Super Bowl played indoors against a dome team would be considered "neutral." 


It's all about your perspective I suppose.  If you really want things to be fair then you would rotate between all 32 venues. 

AidanMcMurray
AidanMcMurray

@IlovemesomemeRoddy White style? Roddy only had two catches against Sherman. The TD wasn't even Sherman's responsibility. If I remember correctly it was Kam Chancellor who was supposed to be giving him safety help. On a few other plays though Richard played like a boss against Roddy.


jewalden
jewalden

@Ilovemesomeme  Your opinion has nothing to do with the substance of the article, except to b*tch about Seattle fans and Sherman. Why did you bother posting? With an opinion like yours that has nothing to do with the subject matter, I question your integrity.

thestuckup
thestuckup

@Ilovemesomeme  I just discovered the comments section but it seems to me that there are fare more posts with the evident intent to sound sage and cast Sherman as an arrogant cheat. For many, football is just entertainment. The players that run their mouths are often entertaining. You may not like his mouth but in some weird way even you must be entertained because Sherman managed to elicit a response and a reminder of his PED test.

ToddRay
ToddRay

Its being played in New Jersey

DennisShaneMcCarthy
DennisShaneMcCarthy

@DennyCrane Ignorant biggot...... what makes you so worthy you can talk to people in that manner?  You shame yourself and embarrass the rest of us.  Go away please.  I think we can say most are using something and have masking protocols that work pretty well.  What sells?? Bigger, stronger, faster.... how do we get it......??? Organic smoothies and superfoods??  Dont be so superior and naive DennyCrane.  You Sir, are dismissed!!

gobears51
gobears51

@DennyCrane @DennyCrane  "Hired Help" and "Do what you are told to do?" Those are very, very racist comments Sir. Boarding the line of a slave master disciplining an insubordinate slave. I know, I know,  we live in a "New" America, where we know longer have racism [chuckles], but we should really choose our word more carefully, unless it was your intent to be a racist jerk. You made a very good point and dirtied it with that racist rhetoric. 

drudown
drudown

@BobBCMI 

"The only reason I would go to [Jersey] is to buy it."


/s/ Al Czervick, 'Caddyshack'

drudown
drudown

@BobBCMI 


Oh put a sock in it.

Let's count your non sequitur contradictions in turn.

You start by alleging "suck it up, play the game"

Only to cry

Gee, "none of us on here could afford a football ticket",

Man you sound lame.

I'm sure you voted for "no new taxes, ever"

Trying to "drown the government in the bathtub"

That includes old people and children.

Some "game."


mattster21
mattster21

@wetmouse You should work on your syntax. When you say "allegedly written," you are saying Sherman allegedly wrote this. I think you mean it was written by an "alleged PED cheat." But hey, you're the whiz here. I mean, clearly you can name all the PED violators on the Seahawks. Ok, go!


Sherman (exonerated), Browner....and a bunch of guys who never played a snap for the Hawks, were on the practice team or got cut in the preseason.


Try not to be such a sheep and believe that the Hawks violate PED standards on a weekly basis. Plenty of guys who end up being non-rostered get busted for PEDs.


We're happy to have Sherman on the team.

ljlowber
ljlowber

@cracka really now? It's hilarious that so many 49er fans are talking trash on the articles written by the guy that just ended your season. If you're going to talk, you'd better be prepared to back it up...otherwise do everyone including yourself a favor and keep your banal thoughts to yourself. Richard writes well-thought out articles on some of the more compelling and perhaps unrecognized issues in the NFL - see his article addressing players payment, or lack thereof, during the pre-season. The least you (and all of the 49er fans that have nothing better to do than stalk and insult Seahawks players), could do is add something relevant to the conversation.

PhillyPenn
PhillyPenn

@wayreth21 Yes, God forbid that poor Bruno Mars would have to perform the half time show in poor conditions.  

kaiser28
kaiser28

@JasonMorrisRVA Entertaining, perhaps. But sloppy football. And have someone read the article to you again...he said it would be advantageous to him and his team.

Ilovemesomeme
Ilovemesomeme

@thestuckup@Ilovemesomeme I read Shermans articles because I am entertained by him.  I am also entertained by his incessant gum flapping because it's both entertaining when he backs it up, as well as when he crashes and burns.  My comment was more directed at those Seahawk fans who feel like criticizing Shermans use of PED's is unwarranted because his "appeal" was "successful."  As I pointed out, you don't have to fail a drug test to be guilty of PED use, and there isn't a doubt in my mind Sherman cheated, and is probably still doing so. 

MATTSTER22
MATTSTER22

@mattster21 @wetmouse Until it is proven in a court of law that this was written by Sherman, it is fair to say that this was allegedly written by Sherman.  Mattster21 is a total teenie tiny weenie

KarthikGomadam
KarthikGomadam

@Cracka - I dont know what team your trolling rearside supports. But am pretty sure a team with fans such as yourself will not win anything, even if all meals were PED spiced up. Suck it loser; Get back to your couch, park that rear side, and watch the superbowl.

bygeorge
bygeorge

@MATTSTER22@mattster21@wetmouseApparently you missed the part about Richard Sherman graduating from Stanford with a Bachelor's degree in Communication.  Or that he's now working on his Master's degree when not working at his "day job" in the NFL.

With all the writing he's doing (including his column in SI), and all the interviews he's done (where he seems to frequently say ridiculous or offensive things -- but at least using proper English), it seems clear that he does both his own writing AND his own speaking (though this is not always a good thing).

Rather than asking a court of law, how about checking with his editors at SI?  I doubt they'd be paying him for articles if he wasn't writing them...

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