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October 5, 2001

by Bill Hogan



The first thought that enters my mind when I see someone on the road and notice a MSRP sticker in the window is "there goes another poor bastard that just got screwed".

Who among us has ever driven a brand new car off a lot without getting a sinking feeling in the pit of the stomach that we just got bamboozled into making a very bad deal on a very expensive automobile? Nobody - nada.


How many truly honest, up front, car dealers have you met in your lifetime? None - nada. (That's zip, zilch, zero).

NADA, the National Automobile Dealers Association, completed negotiations with the NFL over use of the Superdome in New Orleans for Super Bowl XXXVI. New Orleans gets the game on February 3, 2002 - NADA gets a small fortune for 'accommodating' the NFL - and, once again, the average football fan, like the average new car buyer, gets screwed.

Having bought a half dozen cars in my lifetime, I can picture how the 'haggling' went:

David Hyatt (executive director of NADA) to NFL Commissioner Paul Tagliabue: "I tell you what I'm gonna do, Paul - can I call you Paul? I feel like we've become friends. I'm gonna let you have this 26 year old, 70,200 bucket seat stadium - complete with hard top, imitation leather luxury boxes and a durable carpet floor - for the low, low price of ten million dollars. What do you say, Paul - can I call you Paul? (In a whisper) I could get in big trouble for this, but for you Paul - I can call you Paul, right? - I'll go as low as 7.5 million."

If I were Paul (can I call Commissioner Tagliabue Paul?), I would have told Mr. Hyatt:

* I'd rather drive a 1977 Ford Pinto, with a full tank of gas and no break lights on a Los Angeles freeway at rush-hour than give you seven and a half million dollars to switch the date of your convention.

* We're gonna take that seven and a half million dollars, donate it to a worthwhile disaster relief fund and have the 2002 Super Bowl in the shadows of 'Ground Zero' at the Giants/Jets home in the Meadowlands.

* We're gonna pump about 400 million dollars into the New York area's struggling tourist economy.

* We're gonna show the world that we are ready to meet the threats of terrorists head on and we will not be denied.

And we will determine football's World Champion in frigid February weather, on a frozen field and make Vince Lombardi proud.

Think about it. It makes perfect sense. They've played eight Super Bowls in the cushy, climate controlled confines of the Superdome. They've played seventeen more in the other warm weather cities that were being considered as alternative sites (Miami, Tampa and Los Angeles).

This season, there is no place for "sunny" or "breezy" or "balmy" or "climate controlled". This year, it's time for "blistery", "bone-chilling" and "frozen tundra".

We're long past outdoor mimosa parties and sun soaked celebrities. Let this year's Super Bowl belong to the real football fans. Those people who relish the opportunity to sit for six hours on a frozen piece of plastic in sub-zero temperatures.

And there should be a special section reserved on the shady side of the field for anyone that can produce a ticket stub from the 1958 NFL Championship or the 1967 'Ice Bowl'.

Phooey on anyone who thinks cold weather takes away from the spectacle of the biggest game of the year.

In the December 28, 1958 NFL Championship, by all accounts, the weather was frigid, the field was frozen and the game - well it's been called the greatest in the history of the NFL. The Baltimore Colts beat the N.Y. Giants 23-17 in the first ever sudden death overtime championship. The game was televised, the game was historical, and man was it cold.

On December 31, 1967, with a trip to Super Bowl II on the line, the Green Bay Packers beat the Dallas Cowboys 21-17 when Bart Starr dove over the goal line with 13 seconds left in the game. Thirteen was also the game-time temperature when measured in degrees below zero! And that doesn't take into account the 'wind-chill factor'. When it's 78 degrees and sunny - it's breezy. When it's 13-below, it's windy. And it was windy.

Two of the greatest games in NFL history and not a bottle of sun screen to be found.

It's time to find out just who the real football fans are. The hoards of socialites and celebrities that often attend the Super Bowl to be part of the 'in crowd' can give way, this time, to the die-hard football fan. The ones that know how to dress for warmth instead of fashion.

Give New York City Super Bowl XXXVI.

Give the rescue workers at 'ground zero' sideline passes.

Give the sun seekers a suite at the Waldorf Astoria and a big screen TV.

And give NADA, well, nada - zip, zilch, zero - not a single penny. If they need a place to hold their annual symposium on 'How to keep a straight face while telling a customer the rustproof undercoating is extra but well worth it' - then let them have the Superdome.

Minus thirteen degrees - HA!


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