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Domes and the NFL

By Kevin Casey

When the Giants and Jets announced that they would be building a new stadium, a debate insued as to whether they should include a dome or retractable roof to keep the elements at bay and to potentially attract a Super Bowl to the New York Metropolitan Area. When the final plans were announced, there was no dome or retractable roof, and that is a good thing. Many people have speculated that it is a cost-saving initiative, but when the late Giants CEO Wellington Mara said that football is meant to be played outside, he had a great point. If the Packers play outside, why can't the Vikings or the Colts? Does the oh-so-horrible weather in Texas require the Cowboys to play in a dome? Most of all, why in the hell do the Saints play in a dome? Despite the lack of climate controls, the Giants and Jets were given a one-time NFL exemption and there is a good chance that we will soon see a Super Bowl in New York (or New Jersey). A Super Bowl being played in freezing temperatures, maybe even snow, is something I am extremely interested in seeing.

Looking at the remaining games in this year's playoffs, there is a good chance that both Conference Championship Games will be played in the climate controlled confines of a dome stadium. With the Saints win against the Cardinals today, they guaranteed that next week's NFC Championship will be played in the Superdome. Additionally, the top seed in the AFC, the Colts, play in a dome, and the second seed, Chargers, plays in an area where the forcast is always 80-degrees and sunny. The only chance NFL fans have of seeing a game where the elements are an intrical part of the game is if the Colts lost to the Ravens tonight, and the Jets knock off the Chargers tommorow. If that happens, the Jets will host the AFC Championship and will close out GIANTS Stadium (ugh!).

This is not how the NFL should be played; and it is most certainly not how playoff football should be played. One of the many aspects of football that makes it so great is the fact that games are played in all types of weather short of a hurricane or tornado. One of the most famous games in NFL History, the 1966 "Ice Bowl" NFL Championship at Lambeau Field between the Packers and the Cowboys, was made so popular due to the sub-zero temperatures the game was played in. There was also the Tom Brady Tuck-Rule Game in 2002 between the Patriots and the Raiders where the only thing more memorable than Tom Brady's FUMBLE ruled incomplete pass was the blizzard-like conditions the teams played under in Foxboro. Finally, and more close to the hearts of Giants fans, was the 2007 NFC Championship Game between the Packers and Giants. The temperature at the game was double-digits below zero, and the ground was so frozen, it was like landing on concrete. Both teams played their hearts out, with the Giants winning and booking a date in the much warmer weather of Arizona. These games are just a few examples of the types of games that make the NFL playoffs so special. Part of a football game is how the weather will influence the outcome of a game. Domes take this great aspect of football out of the game, and have made an already boring playoff season even worse.

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