NFL owners are willing to gamble with their showcase event, voting to expose Super Bowl XLVIII to wintry elements at the new $1.6 billion Meadowlands stadium.
But the decision wasn't without opposition when the owners gathered Tuesday afternoon. They needed four votes to finalize the site. Tampa came in second, with South Florida being eliminated after the second vote.
"To me it's a no-brainer when you consider that this vote helps two teams, the Jets and the Giants," Jets head coach Rex Ryan said in a statement released by the club. "Add in the fact that you have as good a stadium as there is in the league and no one is going to complain about this not being a great Super Bowl because you're in the best city in the world."
The Miami Dolphins were dejected by the verdict. They prefer to think of South Florida as the preeminent Super Bowl locale, but being the first bid eliminated was disappointing.
South Florida has hosted 10 Super Bowls, including the most recent championship. That means it has been awarded a Super Bowl every 4.4 years. Since 1989, it has gotten a Super Bowl every 1.3 years. Now South Florida will have to wait at least five years to host its next one.
"I think the fix was in for New York," South Florida Super Bowl Host Committee chairman Rodney Barreto said. "We threw $1 million extra on the table last night [for operating expenses]. I know that was more than Tampa put on the table. We probably could have put $10 million on the table and it wouldn't have been a difference.
"The NFL's cut new territory here. It's somewhat of a gamble, especially if you have a Nor'easter come through, shut down airports and so forth."
Barreto and Dolphins CEO Mike Dee said the process was a wakeup call for future bids to stage the game at Sun Life Stadium, which the NFL would like to see upgraded.
In the usual Super Bowl rotation, Sun Life Stadium is the second-oldest facility behind only the Superdome, which Dee said will undergo $350 million in renovations for the 2013 game.
"We're driving an older car, and everybody else is driving a new car," Dee said. "That doesn't mean it's a bad car.
"But we've got to do what it takes to keep in on the road and keep it running and make sure that it puts us in a position that we can still compete, and that we don't transform into San Diego, the greatest destination that can't host Super Bowls because their stadium is no longer capable of doing it."
Dee said the Dolphins "expect to be in a dogfight" for bids on the 2015 or 2016 Super Bowls.
"We're the king of the hill," Barreto said. "We're Humpty Dumpty. Everybody's trying to knock us off the wall. Everyone sees and feels our success. Quite frankly, they're coming after us. If we have to keep setting the bar higher and higher, we'll do that."