The 2014 Super Bowl to the New York/New Jersey region had a certain media and fan momentum to it, but the 30 NFL owners besides the Jets' Woody Johnson and the Giants' John Mara and Steve Tisch had yet to be heard from, so nothing was etched in stone, or even ice.
Until now. The vote is in and the NFL — on its fourth ballot of those owners — this afternoon approved Super Bowl XLVIII to be played at the New Meadowlands Stadium. Tampa Bay, which has hosted four previous Super Bowls, came in second, South Florida third.
"I like doing things for the first time," Johnson, one of the bid committee chairmen, said on NFL Network alongside his Giants ownership brethren. "Along with my great partners here, having the first Super Bowl in a cold-weather environment, and what a great place to have it in New York and New Jersey — it couldn't be more fun and a more appropriate location.
"It's going to be played outside. We hope it snows," Johnson added. "In any case, it'll be a lot of fun planning, and we'll do a good job. We'll build up the excitenment and we think the fans will feel something major, major, major will be happening in their home area. We're over-the-top excited."
So let the celebration begin!
In fact, one of the parties is already under way in Times Square, where fans have been watching NFL Network's live simulcast of its "Super Bowl Selection Show" from the annual spring meeting in Dallas this afternoon.
Jets cornerback Darrelle Revis, Giants defensive end Justin Tuck and New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg left the green room at the Marriott Marquis to speak to the crowd in the vicinity of "the crossroads of the world" about the historic awarding of the Super Bowl to this superb new stadium and this superlative metropolitan area. After the bid was announced, 100 Jets and Giants team hats were distributed to the assembled fans.
And in Carlstadt, N.J., not far from the new stadium that opens for NFL regular-season business in September, Jets center Nick Mangold and Giants guard Chris Snee were joined by N.J. Gov. Chris Christie at Redd's Restaurant to view the announcement. Fifty more team hats were distributed and Mangold, Snee and Christie spoke to the fans there.
Adding to the appropriatness of the day, Bloomberg "unofficially" renamed 48th Street near the Marriott Marquis just for the occasion: "Super Bowl 48 Street." That's in the style of Bloomberg's renaming of Manhattan Island "Revis Island" back on Jan. 21 before the Jets' AFC Championship Game appearance, with the Revis Island sign posted at the Times Square Information Center just around the corner from today's festivities.
The vote counts on the first three rounds of voting weren't announced but New York/New Jersey needed at least 75 percent of the vote, or 24 of the 32 owners, to see it their way. After two rounds, South Florida, the lowest vote getter, was dropped from the balloting. In going to the fourth round, the winning bid was required to receive only a majority of votes, or at least 17 of 32.
And by winning the bid, the New York/New Jersey region has made history. The biggest sporting event in the country will be played on the world's largest stage, in the first Super Bowl scheduled to be contested in an open-air venue at a cold-weather site.
For the Super Bowl, the New Meadowlands Stadium will offer 82,500 seats, including 65,000 for general stadium seating, 10,000 in its clubs and 3,900 in its suites.
The host cities also offer a multitude of sightseeing and shopping opportunities and plenty of hotel accommodations. And in the event of cold weather, New York and New Jersey will rely on the area's element tamers, including the State Department of Transportation, State Turnpike Authority and the New York City Department of Sanitation, which is heralded as the most efficient weather-clearing system in the country and routinely uses more than 2,000 trucks to seamlessly keep the city's streets fully functioning in the winter months.
The host committee will supply fans with handwarmers, footwarmers, blankets and heated seat cushions and the concourses with additional heating units and the parking lots with "fire-pits" for tailgaters.
Most football fans will hope they don't need handwarmers and ski masks to watch the game. But many are warming to the idea of a Meadowlands Super Bowl — in almost 5,000 votes cast in an NFL.com readers poll this afternoon, New York/New Jersey had 59 percent of the vote to Tampa Bay's 25 percent and South Florida's 16 percent.
And as of this afternoon the order for the cold-weather gear can be placed because in about three years and nine months, in February 2014, the Big Game will be coming to the Big Apple and the Garden State.
"I give a lot of credit to Woody," John Mara said with a smile on the NFL Network set. "Since we entered our partnership, he's been pushing this Super Bowl for four years."
What could give fans of the two teams even more pride than many are feeling today? Woody Johnson knows. The Green & White leader looked over at his Big Blue counterparts and said with a twinkle in his eye: "And we're going to try to be in that Super Bowl together."