IRVING, Tex. -- Get those hand and feet warmers ready -- the Super Bowl is coming to the Meadowlands.
Today, the NFL’s 32 owners voted to award Super Bowl XLVIII to the new $1.6 b
illion home of the Giants and Jets, placing the league’s showcase event at an outdoor, cold-weather site for the first time.
"The league, the sport has come a long way," Giants president and CEO John Mara said to the NFL Network.
The Super Bowl didn't land in New Jersey for the first time without some drama, though. The Meadowlands bid wasn't ratified until the fourth and final round of voting, when, pitted against the bid from Tampa Bay, it garnered a simple majority (at least 17 of 32 votes).
"There was a lot of drama," Giants executive vice president Steve Tisch said of the suspenseful vote. "With every round it got a little more dramatic, a little more exciting, there was a little more anxiety."
The New Jersey/New York bid, which also beat out traditional hosts South Florida for the 2014 game, was considered the favorite heading into today’s secret-ballot vote at the league meetings. Several high-profile owners had publicly backed it in recent days, and NFL commissioner Roger Goodell had called it an “attractive” option for the NFL.
The three bidding cities each made a 15-minute presentation this afternoon, followed by a secret-ballot vote by the owners to determine the winner.
"It was down to two teams and two cities, two great American cities. I just believe the owners have the faith in us that in three-and-a-half years we’re going to put on a remarkable event," said Jonathan Tisch, the Giants treasurer and co-chairman of the New Jersey/New York bid committee. "The greatest game in the world will be played on the biggest stage in the world."
The historic selection could help accelerate and sweeten a naming-rights deal for the New Meadowlands Stadium. The game is also estimated to pump between tens of millions and hundreds of millions of dollars -- depending on whom you ask – into the metropolitan area. Thirty to 50 percent is expected to stay in New Jersey.
"We had a common goal to build a beautiful stadium," Steve Tisch told the NFL Network. "And we had a common goal to get the Super Bowl in 2014."
The winning bid embraced cold weather, offering self-warming seat cushions and parking lot fire pits, while trumpeting the country’s biggest stage across the river in Manhattan. Many game-week events and hotel rooms will be booked in New York City, but New Jersey is where teams will train and stay and where all game-day activities will be held.
The league waived its weather requirements -- a minimum temperature of 50 degrees, or a roof on the stadium -- to allow the Meadowlands to bid. It remains to be seen if this will be a one-time event, or if a new precedent has been set for Super Bowl bidding.
Tampa Bay is a four-time Super Bowl host, as recently as 2009. South Florida has hosted the game 10 times, more than any other city, but the league previously suggested Sun Life Stadium needs substantial improvements before the championship can return.
"I was born in New Brunswick, New Jersey," Jets owner Woody Johnson said. "To be involved in bringing something like this to the New York/New Jersey region is a tremendous thing."