When the lights went out in the Superdome in the middle of the most-watched television spectacular on the planet, it was more than an inconvenience. It was a sobering reminder of the importance of getting everything right, especially when the world is watching.
The Super Bowl is coming to New York and New Jersey next year, and that’s cause for celebration—and concern. There’s no question that the metropolitan area knows how to handle large-scale events. But the Super Bowl is an event like no other, and it’s never been held in this area. What’s more, the media inevitably will see the game as a referendum on the region’s recovery from Sandy. All the more reason to check, and check again, and then triple-check every arrangement, every flip of the switch.
That said, there’s no reason to doubt the competence of the host committee and the volunteers, nor the combined expertise of New York and New Jersey. Our area has been tested before, and our people understand the stakes. They know that the NFL has never before held a Super Bowl in an outdoor facility—MetLife Stadium—in a cold-weather city. (The game has been played in places like Pontiac, Mich., and Indianapolis, but in domed stadiums.)
The weather is out of everybody’s hands. But the logistics are not. And, as the 34-minute blackout in the Superdome demonstrated, it’s imperative that planners war-game all kinds of scenarios, however unlikely.
Getting it right won’t be easy. But the rewards will be worth the effort.