Wednesday, January 22, 2014

MetLife Stadium digs out from snow in 'dress rehearsal' for Super Bowl (VIDEO)

The crew at MetLife Stadium — home of the first cold-weather outdoor Super Bowl on Feb. 2 — was shoveling snow from the seats and clearing the parking lots in East Rutherford this morning after Tuesday's snowstorm dropped around 14 inches of snow on the Meadowlands.

Eric Grubman, an executive vice president with the National Football League, said the stadium operations staff and NFL production staff was pretending today was the day of the Super Bowl and called it a "dress rehearsal" for the big game.

"At 7 o'clock this morning they put themselves on the clock," Grubman said. "They are running to about an 18-hour allotted amount of time. And we have people watching and evaluating and grading. So, we're treating this as if it's pregame and we have to get the bowl cleared."

If a storm like Tuesday's strikes the day before the Super Bowl, Grubman said he's confident the game will be played at the appointed time of 6:30 p.m.

He would not speculate on what would happen if such a snowstorm struck the day of the Super Bowl. However, Grubman said the NFL could change the day the Super Bowl game is played, if needed. Instead of next Sunday, the game could be played anytime between next Friday and next Monday.

During the news conference, he also showed off "warm welcome kits," the care packages fans will receive at the stadium. Keeping with the theme of embracing the cold, the package contains hand warmers, neck warmers and lip balm, among other items.

The game between the Denver Broncos and Seattle Seahawks will, of course, be the first Super Bowl played outdoors in a cold-weather climate.

The long-range forecast for Super Bowl Sunday looks pretty good, so perhaps the NFL will avoid the disaster of a major winter storm disrupting the game.

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