Ian O’Connor | ESPNNewYork.com
Count Hall of Famer Don Shula, the winningest NFL coach of all time, among those who believe the league made a mistake by putting Super Bowl XLVIII in a cold-weather market with an uncovered stadium.
In an interview to air on ESPN Radio’s “The Ian O’Connor Show” on Sunday morning, the former two-time Super Bowl champion coach of the Miami Dolphins was asked for his reaction when he found out this year’s game had been awarded to MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, N.J.
“Why?” Shula said. “That was pretty much my reaction. I certainly believe that when you get to a game of that magnitude, you want to play it in conditions where weather won’t be or might not be something that affects the outcome. So that’s why I think Miami, New Orleans, San Diego, all those warm-weather cities are the best cities for a game of that magnitude.
“Plus, the fans. You’ve got to give the fans an opportunity to come in ahead of time, enjoy what the town has to offer, enjoy the game and then stay for a couple of days afterwards, and enjoy everything. So if it’s a brutal weather condition in New York, you’re not going to do that.”
The 84-year-old Shula, who finished his career with a record 347 regular season and postseason victories and with only two losing seasons in his 33 with the Dolphins and Baltimore Colts, was asked how inclement weather would impact the Denver Broncos and Seattle Seahawks on Super Bowl Sunday.
“Certainly it will take away from their ability to play the game to the best of their talent,” he said, “and you don’t want the weather to influence a game that much. Perhaps it won’t, but the odds are that it could be a factor in the outcome if it’s brutal weather conditions.”
Shula’s Dolphins lost the coldest outdoor Super Bowl on record on Jan. 16, 1972, when it was 39 degrees at kickoff inside Tulane Stadium in New Orleans for what would be the Dallas Cowboys‘ 24-3 victory.