Last week the Chicago Bears and the Houston Texans matched up in what some people called the preview of the Superbowl. While both teams have the talent, the coaches, and the record to reach the Superbowl, this particular game can never be referred to as a Super Bowl preview. The Superbowl is limited to 2 opponents when on Sunday the Bears and Texans not only face off against each other but against the elements. Continuous rain and heavy wind played as much a factor in the outcome as the players on the field, which will never be allowed in a Super Bowl.
Two prerequisite criteria for a Super Bowl site are a large capacity and warm weather/domed stadium. Fans, players, owners, and even the talking heads on TV want to see the peak of competition when Super Bowl Sunday arrives without the weather dictating the style of play. In the spirit of good competition and watching the superior team prevail, a controlled environment for the Super Bowl is necessary, but it comes at a cost: the loss of tradition and legends.
Football is a hard nosed game played on the gridiron in any conditions (besides lightning) and it always has been. Inclement weather forces teams to adjust and do what ever the weather allows to win the game. Games in inclement weather are won in the trenches where the roots of football lie. Protecting the Super Bowl from the elements denies a long standing tradition of hard fought sloppy battles. However, not everyone fights to hold on to tradition, but everyone remembers the legends.
Legends are born out of adversity. Adversity comes from a worthy opponent, but in football it can also come from the conditions. By protecting the Super Bowl from the elements, we are preventing the birth of legends out of games where one must not only be better than his opponent but must also find a way to beat those elements. For instance, who played in and won the Ice Bowl of 1967? I do not even need to write it here. By contrast, who played in and won the 1968 NFL Championship? NO GOOGLE! Picture Adam Vinateiri’s 2 field goals in the 2001 Divisional Playoff “Snow Bowl.” Can you picture the spot, the hold, and the white field? Now try to picture any of Vinateiri’s other playoff game winning field goals. The memories are there but they do not stick out like the “Snow Bowl.”
The Bears and Texans could meet again the Super Bowl but the game will be played very differently. There might be a lot more of an air attack, fewer interceptions, and warmer weather. One team would win, an MVP would be named, and confetti would fall, but if the Super Bowl were played at Soldier Field in January, a legend would most certainly be born. Imagine if the game last Sunday had in fact been the Super Bowl, with the rain, the wind, and the 6 turnovers. It would have been far more memorable than another quarter back throwing for 300 yards and 2 TDs. Let weather back into the Super Bowl, so that every once in a while, we get to see what a handful of stars are really made of. Let us see the birth of a legend in the Super Bowl.