Mehno: Forget about Pittsburgh as big-game site

PITTSBURGH – See what happens when football season ends? Suddenly there’s a scarcity of topics, and buzz about playing the Super Bowl in Pittsburgh develops.

The NFL will play its big game in East Rutherford, NJ next February, the first time the Super Bowl has been played outdoors in a place that routinely has winter weather.

It’s not likely to be the start of a trend.

If the NFL had any interest in rotating the game among cities without regard for the weather, it would have started a long time ago. Sentiment for a New York Super Bowl started in the aftermath of 9/11.

Apart from the game, Super Bowl week is the NFL’s annual trade show and convention. It’s a chance to throw parties for all the companies who spend millions of dollars with the NFL.

Those people don’t want to go to Pittsburgh (or Cleveland or Cincinnati) in early February. They want New Orleans. They want Florida and Arizona. They want places where it’s not news when the sun shines. At least they want an assurance that it won’t be 20 degrees when the game kicks off in the dark.

The NFL has staged the game in Detroit a couple of times, but that was a nod to car companies who have been NFL partners for a long time. The game was played under a dome.

The NFL is taking a chance with next year’s game in New Jersey. They may try another cold-weather city, but that won’t be their preference.

In other words, no one should count on renting their basement cot to a budget-minded Packers fan in the near future.

Asleep on the job

How about CBS play-by-play guy Jim Nantz suggesting the Baltimore Ravens would take a deliberate safety, only to have analyst Phil Simms immediately dismiss the idea?

Then, upon further deliberation, Simms again rejected the idea.

The Ravens, of course, took the safety, and it turned out to be the correct strategy at the end of the Super Bowl.

Nodding off

It’s been generally accepted that the annual Dapper Dan banquet is a snoozer. It literally became that last week, with several witnesses reporting that Steelers chairman Dan Rooney nodded off during the proceedings.

Who can blame him? He’s 80 years old, he’s still adjusting to his move home from Ireland and a four-hour banquet is enough to challenge anyone’s attention span.

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