Sunday’s Super Bowl is expected to be the coldest ever
Typically, the Super Bowl is situated in a warm weather locale.
Not this year. Not even close.
Super Bowl LII, which is Sunday in Minneapolis, is projected to be the coldest Super Bowl of all time.
There’s no snow in the game day forecast, but the predicted high is in the single digits — that’s Fahrenheit, not Celsius — with a low below zero. Factor in the wind chill, and it likely will feel below zero the whole day.
And it’s expected to be 3 degrees at kickoff, which is at 5:30 p.m. CT (6:30 p.m. ET) in Minneapolis.
Fans should get a reprieve from the cold, of course, if they have tickets to the game. US Bank Stadium, home of the Minnesota Vikings, has a fixed roof.
“Despite the cold, there will be plenty of warm entries to get you into the game,” Peter O’Reilly, the NFL’s senior vice president of events, said this week.
The coldest Super Bowl to date was held near Detroit. It was 13 degrees at kickoff for Super Bowl XVI in 1982 at the Silverdome, which also was an indoor venue.
The National Weather Service office in Minneapolis issued a special weather statement this week, warning of bitterly cold wind chills for those outside this weekend for Super Bowl festivities.
The wind chill in Minneapolis is expected to dip 10 to 25 below zero from Saturday night through game time Sunday night, with 1 to 2 inches of snow expected Saturday.
However, that forecast doesn’t appear to bother the NFL.
“I’m often asked what makes Super Bowl LII in Minnesota unique, and the conversation often turns to the cold and to the weather,” O’Reilly said. “But my real answer is it’s the people. The people of Minnesota, the incredible volunteers who have come together — record numbers of volunteers.”
More than 10,000 people have volunteered to help during Super Bowl week, according to the Minnesota Super Bowl Host Committee.
“It’s the people and the energy and the warmth here in the ‘Bold North’ that is really coming through,” O’Reilly said.
While Minnesotans may be radiating warmth, it’s probably safe to say that ice sculptures will remain intact at Super Bowl Live, a 10-day, outdoor fan festival.
Conversely, it was much warmer Sunday at the Pro Bowl in Orlando. Though the high was in the mid-70s, it wasn’t exactly ideal. Camping World Stadium has no roof, and it was pouring rain.
The previous two Super Bowl hosts were considerably warmer (Houston for Super Bowl LI and Santa Clara, California, for Super Bowl 50). The next four cities to host Super Bowls will be Atlanta, Miami, Tampa and Los Angeles.
Even if this Sunday’s Super Bowl were held outdoors, it still wouldn’t be the coldest NFL game of all time. Based on kickoff times, the coldest game in league history was the iconic “Ice Bowl” at Lambeau Field in Green Bay, Wisconsin. It was 13 degrees below zero (wind chill minus 48) when the Green Bay Packers hosted the Dallas Cowboys on December 31, 1967.
Other arctic-like games in NFL history include the San Diego Chargers at the Cincinnati Bengals on January 10, 1982, when the temperature was minus 9 degrees, with a wind chill of 59 below; and January 10, 2016, when the Seattle Seahawks played the Vikings outdoors, with a temperature of minus 6 degrees and a wind chill of 25 below zero.
Super Bowl XLVIII at MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, New Jersey, was the first Super Bowl played in an outdoor cold-weather stadium. The NFL got lucky that season: It was 49 degrees at kickoff.
This will be the first Super Bowl in Minnesota since Super Bowl XXVI, when the Washington Redskins defeated the Buffalo Bills 37-24 on January 26, 1992, at the Metrodome.