I grew up in the small town of Griffith in the northwest section of Indiana, where winter his hard for four months every year from Thanksgiving until the first week of March. As miserable as copious amounts of snow the residents of the “219” or as some call it, “The Region” have to deal with, football helps us keep our mind of the cold for a little while.
In the 1980s, sub zero temperatures were called, “Bear Weather” as an homage to the hard-nosed Chicago Bears teams coached by Mike Ditka in the mid to late 80s and of course the 1985 Bears, who went 18-1 on their way to a dominant Super Bowl victory over the New England Patriots. This mythical phrase made notice of yet another football team who used cold weather in December and January to their advantage against teams from warmer, more desirable climates. The Bears were never as dominant as you may have thought, but for another generation of people, football was viewed as a more enjoyable product in the winters of the Midwest.
While the Bears played low scoring games in frigid games at Soldier Field, the children of this area played backyard football in the snow — enjoying every minute of it. Growing up in that area, football seemed to be perfect in the snow and rain. Playing in the elements always seemed to present another challenge, one that everyone always took on with a smile. Yes, it was cold and your whole body was freezing afterwords, but it was a feeling kids from the south and west coast couldn’t relate to.
I bring up this topic, because we are less than two months away from the first outdoor, cold weather Super Bowl in NFL history at Metlife Stadium in the Meadowlands in New Jersey. Anyone and everyone from former players, columnists, radio hosts and fans have voiced joy and annoyance that the largest event in American sports could easily be altered by snow, wind and freezing rain. The fact that some would rather have the Super Bowl in a dome or the warm climates of Florida and California year after year is disappointing.