Super Bowl: A cold night for red hot chili quarterbacks

(This is the first of three stories I sent to papers, previewing the Super Bowl)


As the Super Bowl threatened to become a Brrr Bowl, one
issue stood out.

“I just want to make sure that Bruno Mars is warm,” joked Howie
Long, a Fox Sports commentator.

Well, that is a concern. Mars is from Hawaii, the Red Hot
Chili Peppers are from Los Angeles; they’re expected to bring some tropical-type
energy to the halftime show, in an oft-frigid part of America.

As Eric Shanks, president of Fox Sports, put it, this is “the
greatest game in the greatest city on Earth.”

The game is, of course, the Super Bowl. The city is … well,
East Rutherford, N.J.

Fox and others keep calling this the New York Super Bowl,
but it’s not even in New York State. Any nods to Jersey? Well, the cast of “Jersey
Boys” will perform at the tailgate party … and Queen Latifah, daughter of two
Newark-area teachers, will sing “America the Beautiful.”

She’s in a varied music line-up: The Band Perry and “American
Idol” winner Phillip Phillips will perform in Fox’s pre-game show; Renee
Fleming will sing the National Anthem … the first time an opera star has
handled a task that at various times has gone to Cher, Jewel, Cheryl Ladd and
Kathy Lee Gifford.

Fox’s Super day starts at noon ET; it will be close to midnight,
by the finish of two post-game comedies:

“New Girl,” which has Jess and Cece (Zooey
Deschanel and Hannah Simone) invited to Prince’s party. “I’m onstage with
Prince,” Simone marveled. “It’s kind of a dream scenario.”

“Brooklyn Nine-Nine,” which just won Golden
Globes for best comedy and comedy actor (Andy Samberg). “It felt like the room
was spinning around,” Samberg said of the wins.

This week would also be his perfect scenario, except for one
catch: “I’m a huge 49er fan,” Samberg said.

His team lost the NFC championship in a battle of two
young-and-mobile quarterbacks – Russell Wilson and the Seattle Seahawks beating
Colin Kaepernick and the San Francisco 49ers. The AFC had two stand-and-pass
veterans – Peyton Manning’s Denver Broncos beating Tom Brady’s New England

Wilson, Long said, is the prototype of “this new breed of
kind of dynamic, athletic quarterback.” And Manning is the master of the old ways
… unless weather gets in his way.

“Weather should not play a factor in a game of that
magnitude and multitude,” argued Deion Sanders, a former NFL star. ”You know what’s
going to happen. Peyton Manning does not fare well in the cold.”

 Many people don’t,
including sideline reporters. In one recent game, Fox’s Erin Andrews said, she
got too close to a space heater. “Somebody said, ‘Your glove’s on fire’ …. It
smelled fantastic.”

This time, however, things might work out. A week before the
game, the Weather Channel was predicting an average day (just above 30),
without snow. Bruno Mars might be safe; the Chili Peppers won’t be red hot, but
they also won’t be frozen.