For the Super Bowl, the NFL tends to favor cities in warmer regions where the weather is unlikely to play a major role in the outcome of the game. If the game is played in a colder area it’s almost always played in a dome with the one recent exception being MetLife Stadium in New York where the temperature at kickoff was less than 50 degrees. The layout of the city is also important with the NFL favoring cities with a centrally located stadium close to a lot of amenities.
I remember watching the 2007 Super Bowl between the Colts and Bears and the commentators losing their minds because it was raining in Miami. Just a few years later, there seemed to be the realistic possibility that it would snow in New York during the matchup between the Broncos and Seahawks. While weather wound up playing a minimal role in both games, it serves as a reminder of how important the location of the Super Bowl can matter.
How does the NFL balance weather, city planning, and appeasing teams that just built brand-new stadiums? Keep on reading to find out.
- The location is determined by a range of factors including weather, stadium quality, and nearby amenities.
- Most Super Bowls are played in warmer cities where weather is less likely to play a role in the outcome.
- The coldest Super Bowl ever was played in Louisiana with a recorded temperature of 39 degrees.
Set in February, the Super Bowl is played when most of North America is in the middle of winter. With so much at stake, the NFL would prefer that adverse weather conditions weren’t a big factor in who takes home the championship. This is why we probably won’t ever see a Super Bowl in Green Bay or Kansas City where a blizzard or other nasty winter weather could decrease the quality of the game.
The NFL took a big chance in 2014 when they awarded Super Bowl 48 to New York City so the game could be played in the recently opened MetLife Stadium where the Giants and Jets play. It was one of the coldest Super Bowls on record with a recorded temperature of 49 degrees. But things don’t always go to plan, even in warmer areas. The 1972 Super Bowl had a recorded temperature of just 39 degrees despite being played in Tulane Stadium in Louisiana. 
Rain is rarely a factor in these warm weather areas and the only time a game was truly played in wet conditions was in 2007 between the Bears and Colts when it rained consistently throughout the game. 
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At first glance, Indianapolis doesn’t seem like a desirable site for the Super Bowl. While the city does have a domed stadium, the average February high is just 40 degrees. 
Why would people want to be walking around outside in that for two weeks?
The reason is the city’s excellent layout that makes a wide range of amenities accessible within a couple of miles of the RCA Dome. There are almost 150 restaurants within two miles of the stadium while its placement downtown also means there’s no shortage of hotels within walking distance or a short cab ride. There are also several covered walkways that allow visitors to get around the city comfortably even when the elements are not ideal. 
I don’t mean to keep picking on Green Bay (as a Vikings fan I actually kind of do), but when you compare Indianapolis’ infrastructure to Green Bay’s there’s no comparison. For Green Bay to host a Super Bowl, most visitors would need to stay in a more populous part of the state such as Milwaukee or Madison which take a couple of hours to drive to. Add that to Green Bay’s beautiful but open-air stadium and Indianapolis looks more and more attractive as a venue.
While New Orleans, Phoenix, Miami, and Indianapolis are all common Super Bowl sites, the NFL does make exceptions for new stadiums. This can often serve as a carrot for building a new state-of-the-art venue and gives cities that don’t normally get to host the big game an opportunity.
Minneapolis got this opportunity in 2018, two years after their new stadium opened downtown. For a glorious week, Vikings fans held onto the fantasy that the hometown team may get to play for the title in their home stadium. But the Eagles shellacked the Vikings in the NFC Championship and the dream died.
This has given other regions the chance to host a Super Bowl that normally wouldn’t including Ford Field in Detroit and Reliant Stadium in Houston.
With a stable of high-quality stadiums in either warm or well-designed cities, the NFL has no shortage of choices when it comes to selecting a location for the Super Bowl. The current system of awarding Super Bowls to cities that construct a new stadium has also served as an appealing carrot and allowed the NFL to mix up the location from time to time.
If you were commissioner, would you put a Super Bowl in Green Bay and hope for snow? Where would you like to see the big game be played? Let us know in the comments below.