Baltimore Ravens quarterback Joe Flacco didn't mask his feelings Monday when he was asked about the NFL's championship being decided next year at MetLife Stadium, the first outdoor Super Bowl at a cold-weather site.
"I think it's retarded. I probably shouldn't say that. I think it's stupid," he told reporters after the Ravens arrived in New Orleans for Sunday's Super Bowl. "If you want a Super Bowl, put a retractable dome on your stadium. Then you can get one.
"Other than that I don't really like the idea. I don't think people would react very well to it, or be glad to play anybody in that kind of weather," he said.
At Super Bowl media day in New Orleans on Tuesday, Flacco apologized for initially using "retarded" in his response.
"Obviously, it was a poor choice of words. At home, I have a close relationship with Special Olympics. I didn't mean to offend anyone. I definitely apologize for that," he said.
Next year's Super Bowl will be held Feb. 2, 2014, at the building shared by the Giants and Jets in East Rutherford, N.J.
The record low for a Super Bowl kickoff is 39 degrees when Dallas beat Miami in January 1972 at Tulane Stadium in New Orleans. It'll be a lot warmer in the Big Easy when the Ravens and San Francisco 49ers tangle Sunday. They'll be inside the Superdome.
The National Weather Service said the average high in nearby Newark, N.J., on Feb. 2 is 39.8 degrees and the low is 24.2. The average precipitation on that date going back to 1931 is about one-eighth of an inch.
Last week, on a 24-degree Thursday in Manhattan that felt a lot colder because of the wind, NFL commissioner Roger Goodell said the league is "thrilled" that next year's Super Bowl is being hosted in the New York region, while adding that they'll be "prepared" in the event of harsh weather conditions.
"We made this decision [to play the game here], obviously not knowing what the weather would be, but football is made to be played in the elements," Goodell said Thursday during a news conference at City Hall, adding that temperatures were forecast to be about 50 degrees in the coming days.
"We're gonna celebrate the game here. We're gonna celebrate the weather here. We're gonna make it a great experience," he said.
No city is immune to rugged weather. Even though Green Bay and Pittsburgh played inside Cowboys Stadium two years ago, snow and ice blanketed the lead-up events.
The only significant precipitation during a Super Bowl came in February 2007 at Miami. Playing in a rainstorm, Indianapolis and Chicago committed four turnovers in the first quarter.
Expect ticket sales to be brisk next year, StubHub spokesman Glenn Lehrman said last week. He predicted the 2014 Super Bowl would create the largest demand "we've ever had."
"I think people want to be part of a first-time experience. Whatever it is," he said.
Lehrman said because so many people live on the East Coast -- within driving distance of the stadium, not needing pricey hotel rooms -- cold weather wouldn't have a chilling effect.
Goodell and New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg last week gave an overview of plans and events leading up to the game, highlighted by the creation of a "Super Bowl Boulevard," a massive fan event with free admission in midtown Manhattan that will take place from Jan. 29 to Feb. 1. Fans will be able to see the Vince Lombardi Trophy, catch nightly concerts and check out NFL-themed exhibits.
The NFC team will work out at the Giants' practice facility in East Rutherford, N.J., while the AFC team will practice at the Jets' facility in Florham Park, N.J. Both teams will stay at hotels in New Jersey.
One study projected that the economic impact to the region would add $550 million to $600 million.
Information from ESPNNewYork.com's Mike Mazzeo and The Associated Press was used in this report.