As winters warm, why can’t Philadelphia host a Super Bowl?

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — Sure, not every February day is 70 degrees and sunny, as Wednesday was.

But in 2023, more winter days than in the past are closer to that — and fewer are closer to the weather NFL officials feared when (back in the 1960s) the league sent teams from places like New York, Kansas City and Green Bay to places like Los Angeles and Miami to play in the first Super Bowls.

With one exception, all 57 Super Bowls have been played in domes or cities with year-round warm weather.

That exception: 2014’s Super Bowl in East Rutherford, New Jersey, near New York City. And although a sample size of exactly one doesn’t pass statistical muster, for what it’s worth, that game’s kickoff temperature of 49 was only the third coldest on record and fully 10 degrees higher than it was for Super Bowl VI in soupy New Orleans in 1972.

The second-coldest Super Bowl was also in New Orleans before the city built its dome.

CBS News Philadelphia Meteorologist Kate Bilo analyzed Super Bowl gametime weather conditions in Philadelphia for the past 10 years – in other words, what the fans and players would have experienced had the game been played here.

Her findings?


“Super Bowl Sunday has been pretty much exactly what you would expect in early February,” Bilo said.

Twice, it snowed early in the day but not during the game.

“Most days were just cloudy,” Bilo said.

Kickoff temperatures averaged 39 degrees, ranging from 33 in 2022 — a day Bilo conceded some people might have preferred to be in Los Angeles, where the game actually was and where the temperature was 82 — to 50 in 2014, the same day the game in New Jersey kicked off at 49 degrees.


But then again, do fans really want to watch a football game in beach weather?

“Football weather, to me at least, is chilly winter weather,” Bilo said.

Joe Wentz, sitting at the bar at lunchtime at Harrisburg’s Mr. G’s, an Eagles hangout, was blunter.

“We want to play in the snow and rain. That’s real football. Everyone else is like, ‘Oh, we’ve got to get indoors,'” he said in a mocking, high-pitched voice. “Come on. Is that real football?”

But not all fans of “real football” — even of the real football played by the Eagles — want Philadelphia to host a Super Bowl.

“That’s our house — and our house only,” Michael Gustin, the cook at Mr. G’s, said of Lincoln Financial Field. “Like, say Dallas comes and plays in Philly. How is that going to make us feel in the Super Bowl? Like, no — no, thank you.”

But love or hate the idea of a Super Bowl here, and love or hate the warmer average temperatures, Bilo said those averages will likely continue getting warmer, even if — also a feature of climate change – extreme weather (including snowstorms, when they do happen) becomes more extreme.

The 2024 and 2025 Super Bowls will be in Las Vegas and New Orleans. After that — given the climate trends — how likely is Philadelphia to someday be considered?

The NFL didn’t directly answer that question.

“We gauge host interest across all of our clubs, who work closely with their local partners in that process. Multiple factors determine the host city for Super Bowl, including host stadium, the mix of hotels and venues, local partnerships and more,” the league said in a statement. “We work closely with our Fan Engagement and Major Events Advisory Committee and full ownership when selecting a host city.”

And the city?

“Philadelphia always welcomes the opportunity to host sporting events on the world’s stage — look no further than the 2017 NFL draft, or the upcoming 2026 World Cup and 2026 MLB All-Star game, as past and future examples,” said Sarah Peterson, the city’s communications director.”

For more than a half-century, by chance, Super Bowl teams always played at neutral sites, because no team ever reached a Super Bowl the same year its city hosted the game. But then two years in a row, in 2021 and 2022, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Los Angeles Rams won in their home stadiums. 

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