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Update February 2, 2014- Told you so, lead story tomorrow will be how New jersey screwed up the transportation to the game.
Opinion February 1, 2014- By Steven E. Greer
What would happen if, as an experiment of the effectiveness of government, one placed the most dysfunctional bureaucracies of the country in charge of the biggest private sector event in the world? We will find out tomorrow as that social experiment is conducted on Super Bowl Sunday.
The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey is overseeing most of the security for the Super Bowl. The steps that the authority has taken to protect against a terrorist attack seem unwise from a security standpoint, and certainly onerous from an entertaining perspective.
For all the football fans who spent significant amounts of money to stay in expensive Manhattan hotels, looking to be treated like VIPs, they will instead be forced by the Port Authority to use public transportation to get to the game across the Hudson River, over in East Rutherford, New Jersey. No fancy SUV taxis will be allowed. Instead, the fans from Denver and Seattle will be using some of the most decrepit subways and trains of any large city in the world. On Sunday, their first act will be to walk into the depressing Penn Station to hop a train.
Tailgating is as much a part of American football as the game itself. Well, thanks to the New Jersey police and Port Authority police, few people will be allowed to park near the stadium. The pre-game festivities will be held inside sanctioned commercial tents. The only way to make the games safer would be to force people to stay home and watch on TV.
From the outside of the stadium, fans with tickets costing thousands of dollars will be looking at one of the ugliest football stadiums, even though MetLife Stadium was constructed only three years ago. Despite being one of the costliest stadiums at $1.6 Billion, it inexplicably does not have a dome. The WSJ wrote an article about the poor design of MetLife stadium (and Barclays Center).
Why the New York Jets and Giants play in New Jersey is the result of inept city and state politics. Mayor Bloomberg tried to build a stadium in Manhattan, but New York politicians in the pockets of Madison Square Garden shut him down. Also, New Jersey politicians did not want to lose the NFL. MetLife Stadium is owned by yet another “authority”, the New Jersey Sports and Exposition Authority (NJSEA).
The Tri-State area just loves its “authorities”. They are great ways to skirt state and city laws, and for governors to appoint cronies. The newspapers are filled with stories about corruption emanating from authorities. New Jersey’s governor, Chris Christie, might well be impeached for “Bridegate” that involved the same Port Authority in charge of important aspects of the Super Bowl.
Super Bowl week has traditionally been one of Mardi-Gras-like partying, whether the game was hosted in New Orleans, Tampa, Pasadena, or Miami. For Super Bowl 48, the NYPD, under its new commissioner, is taking great pride in busting prostitution rings. The newspapers report them as “sex trafficking rings”, as if Manhattan was Thailand or Eastern Europe. The result of the crackdowns on these mundane hookers has been the creation of a puritanical, very un-New York, boring week of lame events in Time Square.
Lastly, the weather, and the open stadium, will be one of the biggest reasons that Super Bowl 48 will suck. Bruno Mars as the halftime act is bad enough, but to watch them improvise for the cold will be unbearable.
The actual football game for Super Bowl 48 could be a great one. The Super Bowl as a spectacle, however, will be reported is a bad experiment, never to be repeated again.