East Rutherford, New Jersey is NOT New York City, and let Twitter make that very clear. For all of the sensationalized media reports these past few weeks about Super Bowl XLVIII going down in the Big Apple, there seems to be just as much commotion online about ESPN and other major sports outlets getting the game’s location wrong altogether. MetLife Stadium may be home to the New York Giants, but New Jersey natives are determined to let the world know where exactly either Seahawks or Broncos history will actually be made in what seems to be their one shot to host the NFL’s most publicized event.
Why is New Jersey so passionate about bringing the big game to their neck of the woods? Twitter has plenty of opinions, but in order to make sense of them, the excitement expressed online must be put into context. Over a decade ago in 2002, then-NFL commissioner Paul Tagliabue began pitching his plans for the now-former Giants Stadium to host a Super Bowl. Following the events of 9/11, hosting America’s most popular sports event formed a pretty convincing pitch. Unfortunately for New York fans, their weathered stadium was deemed unfit to host such organized chaos, and in 2008, the same year New Jersey intended to host, their New York Giants went on to beat the New England Patriots in a Super Bowl played at University of Phoenix Stadium in Glendale, Arizona. Ironic, yeah?
And so Giants Stadium was eventually compromised for the construction of MetLife next door. With a brand new venue under its belt, only one element stood between the Meadowlands and its chance to finally host the Super Bowl. The anticipated February weather conditions at an outdoor stadium in East Rutherford, New Jersey did not exactly seem fair or orthodox to the panel of voters. A thorough presentation by MetLife representatives assured the panel of the stadium’s protective features to combat the weather, a plan for safe parking and seating, and the overwhelming potential New Jersey has to make NFL history by hosting the big game. Ultimately, after three rounds of voting, the Meadowlands beat out Tampa Bay, and MetLife Stadium, only 4 years young, would host Super Bowl XLVIII.
As soon as Seattle Seahawks cornerback Richard Sherman tipped that potential touchdown pass into a game-winning interception in the NFC Championship, the world knew who it would see square off against the Denver Broncos at MetLife Stadium come February 2nd. Appropriately enough, it was at this approximate time that Tweets predicting Super Bowl scores came pouring in online. One aspect of the upcoming game that Twitter refuses to ignore is whether a snowy outdoor scenery in East Rutherford will play a factor in what transpires on Super Bowl Sunday. There have been projections and updates about the weather at MetLife in anticipation of the showdown between the Seahawks and the Broncos.
But what do the people have to say? Well, despite the occasional naysayer (statistically):
There has been an overwhelming sense of excitement online about the snowy conditions at MetLife:
and ESPN and ABC correspondent Darren Rovell sure seems pumped:
It should be noted that a majority of the posts on Twitter do not recognize the location as influential in the game’s outcome or in general anticipation of the event. Examining the opinion analysis from our ForSight platform, 56% of Tweets did not mention the potential weather conditions at MetLife in ways that deemed it as either exciting or controversial.
There is also a small percentage of online conversation about how expensive tickets and other miscellaneous features of MetLife will be because of its location; acknowledging their spiteful tone, those Tweets were categorized as “directly benefitting the NFL.” Still, it looks like the better half of online America just wants to see a good game, no matter the location:
It’s true – there are so many other great aspects of this game that deserve to be noticed. This is a matchup between two polar opposites. One team has the better defense, one team has the better offense, and nobody can deny that these were the two best teams in the NFL playoffs. Both the Seattle Seahawks and Denver Broncos were #1 seeds heading into the postseason. These two teams are so good at handling adversity that the weather cannot dominate all conversation, right?
By taking a look at ForSight’s topic wheel feature, “hotter” conversations about Super Bowl XLVIII come to focus.
Above “Peyton” in the inner ring of trending words and phrases, little brother “Eli” boasts his first name’s indirect relevancy to this year’s Super Bowl. Yet, most likely to Eli’s dismay, what people have to say about the New York Giant’s quarterback is far from supportive when compared to Peyton. In fact, one recurring Tweet reminded us all of what is truly on the line if Peyton plays well enough to win Super Bowl XLVIII:
And when the Giants only win 7 games in the whole season, there’s going to be some sarcasm:
Then again, there are always the fans who look on the upside:
In the conversation about the location of the Super Bowl, there were very few irrelevant posts. Aside from the occasional spammy ticket sale or a discount on parking, people either expressed their opinion that location will not be a factor, or that it will. ForSight’s volume graph further demonstrates the ratio of relevant posts to irrelevant posts about the impact of the location on the big game and that the most popular time to tweets was following the divisional championship games.
It makes sense that on Sunday, January 19th, Twitter was flooded with commentary about the final football game of the season. The volume graph indicates that football fans took the following day off to digest the matchup, but slowly but surely excitement for Super Bowl XLVIII and chatter about the location are crawling back into online conversation.
Watching two competitive teams play the championship game in a nationally recognized sport will always cue the social media buzz, but this game is special. The Seattle Seahawks and Denver Broncos will not only make history for their hometowns, but for East Rutherford as well. The conversation about the location of the Super Bowl will never be quite the same after February 2nd. In fact, East Rutherford, New Jersey will play a huge role in those future decisions about cold-weather hosts based upon its experience this year. Some people hate it, some people love it, but according to fans’ opinions expressed on Twitter, New Jersey will do just fine for a field on Super Bowl Sunday.
As time ticks down to the first ever Super Bowl at MetLife Stadium, these preparations certainly hint at what to expect come game day:
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