Steve Almasy, (CNN) — For a few days early last week, there was talk that the NFL might have to change its Super Bowl kickoff time by hours or even a day.
But not only is that not going to happen — Sunday night’s game may not even set the record for coldest temperature at kickoff.
That seemed like a certainty when the NFL awarded the game to East Rutherford, New Jersey, making it the first cold-winter city to host the big game in an outdoor stadium. New Orleans’ record of 39 degrees in 1972 surely would fall.
But if the NFL was secretly hoping for some snowflakes to fall during the game, which starts at 6:30 p.m. ET, it missed by a day.
Sunday’s forecast calls for temperatures in the mid-40s for kickoff. There is a very slight chance of rain during the game. If there is snow, it might come Monday night.
And there’s more good news for quarterbacks Peyton Manning of the Denver Broncos and Russell Wilson of the Seattle Seahawks: The wind shouldn’t be a factor.
Sportswriters have noted that Manning has a losing record (8-11, according to ESPN) when it is colder than 40, but the NFL’s MVP said earlier this week that he’s confident he has a grip on it.
“In my two years (with the Broncos), I think we have seen a lot as far as on-the-field situations — weather, crowd noise, you name it — with this team. So I do feel comfortable,” he said.
For the Seahawks, it is as much about inexperience as the weather. Only one player on the Seattle roster has taken part in a Super Bowl before (and he didn’t play).
But Seahawks coach Pete Carroll told reporters that his organization has done everything it could to cut down on the unique Super Bowl week distractions.
“There are a lot of things going on,” he said. “We have a tremendous support staff that will keep us on track with all of the logistics and all that, but basically we have to stay focused on the football.”
He’s not visibly concerned that Wilson, a second-year quarterback, will be overwhelmed by the demands of the week.
“He’s got a great savvy about him and I think he’s going to continue to show that,” Carroll said.
So who is going to win? Oddsmakers have made the Broncos the favorite. Most of the analysts at NFL.com are predicting that the Seahawks, who have the No. 1 defense in the league, will triumph.
Judy Battista writes: “The Seattle defense — along with the weather — holds the Broncos’ passing offense and the scoring down. This allows the Seahawks to play their ball-control style, thus limiting Peyton Manning’s touches.”
If that happens, Fox reporter Erin Andrews and Seahawks cornerback Richard Sherman might meet again postgame, as they did for a memorable interview after the Seahawks clinched the NFC title. Let’s hope it’s as interesting as last time.