BAYHAM: The Super Blip Versus The Super Party

There were two Super Bowls: the one watched by people around the world on Sunday and the one experienced by tens of thousands of visitors over the past week.

The first was a worldwide televised blip; the second a smashing success.

The power outage in a location that served as the world’s most infamous shelter of last resort during Hurricane Katrina is somewhat of an embarrassment. One on-line magpie tweeted that the incident should not have surprised anyone as the Super Bowl was being played in a homeless shelter.

Locals might take issue with such a description, but a lot of people who were not on the ground to see and enjoy the largely recovered Crescent City might privately surmise that our rebuilt iconic stadium’s roof was patched with duct tape and dried bubblegum.

Until the details about what caused the power outage are made known, I can only think that the tremendous demands on the stadium’s electrical system by the media and/or the halftime show may have been the culprit(s). A case of where the spectacular overshadowed the game; a Destiny’s Child reunion flanked by two halves of football.

The weather in New Orleans this past weekend was gorgeous. The close proximity of the stadium to the hotels and to the tourist destinations is unmatched anywhere in America. The city was the cleanest I’ve seen it since the November after Katrina and New Orleans proved that no city has ever been a better host for the Super Bowl. It’s almost like New Orleans was laid out to hold the game.

While the Superdome isn’t palatial like Cowboys Stadium in Arlington, Jerry Jones’s triumph in extravagance might as well be on an island, wedged between Dallas and Fort Worth. Traffic congestion at the end of games is so bad that the Cowboys arrange post-game entertainment in an attempt to keep people on the grounds and off the interstates.

Once in the downtown area, visitors are likely to utilize our streetcars not so much to go anywhere in particular but to leisurely pass the time. I doubt anyone will be doing the same on the NJ Transit trains next year around this time.

I would happily trade a thirty minute delay of game for what I experienced in South Florida a few years ago with their inefficient transit system that relayed attendees through three segments that made people late to arrive and had folks stuck in the “Big Wait” after the “Big Game”.

Though the game will be played in northern New Jersey in early February in 2014, you won’t have to worry about a roof collapse due to snow since MetLife Stadium is not enclosed.

Attending a game there in 40 degree cold rain in December was a terrible experience; it was 32 degrees in East Rutherford last night.

And while Super Bowl XLVIII will be pitched as a New York City event, the Manhattan skyline and happening party venues are far removed from the game location, which is linked to Penn Station via a transfer at Secaucus Junction.

An inebriated fan could stagger from the Superdome to the French Quarter in less time without dealing with a line. Expect logistical chaos in 2014 as ticket holders in New York City bounce between subway and rail lines in icy weather.

Regardless of the power outage during the country’s largest sports event, the folks who make the decisions about where future championship contests are played had to be impressed with the city and its comfortable February climate and will accordingly decide to work New Orleans back into the rotation as a frequent site for future Super Bowls.

Congratulations to the Baltimore Ravens.

As a longtime Saints fan, I’ve had the misfortune of witnessing plenty of unthinkable rallies by the San Francisco Forty-Niners at the expense of my team. Though at times it seemed the Baltimore Ravens were on the cusp of reenacting a Jim Mora-era Saints team collapse, the blackbirds managed to hold on to claim another Lombardi trophy.



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