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NY/NJ gets 2014 Super Bowl!

EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ - The nation's premier sporting event is coming to its greatest metropolitan area – and the Giants' extraordinary new home.

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NFL owners today voted to deliver Super Bowl XLVIII to the New Meadowlands Stadium, the glittering 82,500-seat stadium where the Giants and Jets will begin playing their home games this season. The game, which will be played in February 2014, will be the first Super Bowl played in a cold-weather, outdoor venue.

The Giants and Jets co-sponsored the bid – officially entitled "Make Some History"- to bring the Super Bowl to the New York/New Jersey metropolitan area for the first time. The region was selected over competing bids from South Florida and Tampa to host the 2014 Super Bowl.

The game is tentatively scheduled for Feb. 2, 2014.

"I think this is a unique opportunity to play the biggest game in the world on the biggest stage in the world," Giants president John Mara said. "We're very excited about it. It's going to be great for New York, great for New Jersey and certainly great for the National Football League."

The owners, meeting in a hotel just outside Dallas, voted to make history on their fourth ballot, where a majority (17 of 32 votes) was required for victory. On each of the first three ballots, a 75 percent majority is needed. On the second ballot the lowest vote-getter, South Florida, was eliminated. Neither New York/New Jersey nor Tampa received 75 percent of the votes on the third go-round. But on the fourth vote, the Giants/Jets bid received the necessary votes to bring America's greatest game to the nation's No. 1 region.

After the votes from the final ballot were counted, NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell announced that "Super Bowl XLVIII will be played in New York/New Jersey." Giants treasurer Jonathan Tisch, co-chair of the bid with Jets owner Woody Johnson, thrust his arms in the air. Gathered in another room in the hotel with Tisch were Mark Lamping, the CEO of the New Meadowlands Stadium, and more than a dozen people who helped put together and promote the bid. As soon as Goodell made his announcement, they popped open bottles of champagne.

In the owners meeting room, Mara and team chairman Steve Tisch shook hands.

"Not only did we feel the support in that room, but we felt this is going go be great for the NFL, it's going to be great for the fans of the Giants, the Jets and the other 30 teams," Steve Tisch said. "And I think it's absolutely fantastic for everybody that loves to watch NFL football around the world."

"I like doing things for the first time," Johnson said. "Having the first Super Bowl in a cold weather environment – and what a great place to have it, New York City and New Jersey – it couldn't be more fun, a more appropriate location. It's going to be played outside – I hope it snows."

"I don't know if I agree with you on that," Mara said.

How about a flurry?

"A light flurry would be okay," Mara said. "We'll take that."

Although the final vote total wasn't announced, many owners had said in the last week that they strongly supported the Giants/Jets bid to bring the Super Bowl to the New York area.

"Ever since 9/11, I've hoped that something like this could happen,'' New England Patriots owner Bob Kraft told the Boston Globe. "I see two major things: Payback to the people of that region in bringing what I think is the greatest sporting event in the world, to host it, and thank them for what's gone on almost a decade later. And then also a thank you to the owners (of the Giants and Jets) who stepped up with real financial stakes.''

Both Mara and Tisch spoke of their fathers, the late and much-loved Wellington Mara and Bob Tisch, and what they would have thought of the Super Bowl coming to the New York metropolitan area. The former owners passed way three weeks apart in 2005.

"I think he probably would have thought that we've come a long way since the Polo Grounds in 1925 to get to where we are today," Mara said. "My father used to tell stories of walking into school with pockets full of tickets to hand out, just to get bodies in the building. The league and the sport have come a long way."

"I think he would have been very emotional," Tisch said. "He loved the Giants, he loved the partnership he had with Wellington and the Mara family. And to get the support of the other 30 owners that we got today is an amazing experience. … My father would have been very emotional and very proud and very, very happy to have heard this announcement today."

New York Mayor Mike Bloomberg certainly was. In an interview with NFL Network, Bloomberg said the Super Bowl will be a big happening event even in a region that is accustomed to hosting important events.

"The most important thing is we're just thrilled to hold the Super Bowl here," Bloomberg said. "It means so much to the country and to the world. This has become a worldwide event. The 48th Super Bowl being here in our region is going to give a new spirit to the people here. It also gets the message out that this region is a great place to visit, particularly in February."

The game is almost four years away, but Bloomberg has a vision as to what will happen.

"It's going to be a great game," Bloomberg said, "and my prediction is it's going to be the Jets versus the Giants and it's going to be decided by one point and New York's going to win."

Although the Jets and Giants compete in many ways – for sponsors, fans, players and on the field – the owners emphasized that the two franchises have worked well together to first build the new $1.7 billion stadium and then to conceive and endorse the bid that will enable it to host the Super Bowl.

"I think what we did initially when we decided five years ago to become partners in the stadium endeavor, we behaved like partners," Tisch said. "When you behave like partners, functional partnerships evolve. We also became partners when we decided to make the bid for the Super Bowl in 2014. And we approached it as partners, not as adversaries, not teams with problems with each other. Our histories are different (and) our legacies are different. But we had a common goal to build a beautiful stadium, which we achieved, and a common goal to get the Super Bowl in New York in 2014, which we achieved."

Mara said, "I give a lot of the credit to Woody. Since we entered into this partnership three or four years ago, he has been pushing this Super Bowl idea on me almost non-stop. We were a little reluctant at first, but he finally won us over. And I think it's a testament to the great partnership that we do have that we were successful."

The Giants players strongly supported the local franchises' effort to bring the Super Bowl to their new home.

"Nobody knows how to host an event like the greatest city in the world," said quarterback Eli Manning. "The Super Bowl is the greatest event and I think meant to be played on the greatest stage. I'm happy for John Mara and Steve Tisch and their families and for Woody Johnson and the Jets. They have invested greatly in this region, and it's good to see them rewarded and New York and New Jersey rewarded."

"This region is a world class champion, and it deserves to host the biggest game in our new stadium," defensive end Justin Tuck said.

"This is great news," running back Brandon Jacobs said. "Our goal every year is to be Super Bowl champ. If it's even possible, knowing our home stadium will host the Super Bowl gives us even more incentive."

Those owners who were against playing the Super Bowl here were thought primarily to be concerned about the weather and what effect a cold and perhaps snowy or icy day would have on the game. That segment of owners believes the conditions should have no influence on the outcome of a championship game.

But the Giants players, who won the NFC Championship Game in frigid Green Bay in January 2008, insist the opposite is true.

"I know a lot of people have talked about the weather," defensive end Osi Umenyiora said. "All I know is that when we won the NFC Championship game in Green Bay in minus-23 wind chill, it felt like Miami Beach to our team and our fans. I was ready to have an umbrella drink on the 50 when Lawrence (Tynes') kick went through in overtime, and I don't drink."

"As a player, you love the idea of playing the greatest game in the shadow of the greatest city in the world," said center Shaun O'Hara. "For the Super Bowl, you want great accommodations for your team and family, a great practice facility to prepare for the game and great hospitality to keep your family and friends occupied. You also want a state of the art stadium for a great game day atmosphere. A New Jersey and New York Super Bowl accomplishes all that."

As usual, defensive tackle Barry Cofield put today's news in a broader context when he said, "I think the vote to play the Super Bowl here is a tribute to our ownership and what our franchise has meant to the evolution of our league as a business and in terms of its popularity. Our ownership has always done what's best for the league, and this is a way for the other owners to acknowledge that, as well as what it has taken to build a new stadium. And, of course, it is an acknowledgement of what this region and New York City has to offer."

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