“A Super Bowl so historic, it takes two states to host it.”
Super Bowl XLVIII, aside from having a tad too many Roman numerals, will in fact take place in New Jersey. And New York, apparently.
When the NFL revealed the 2014 Super Bowl would be played in MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, N.J., the host committee’s marketing strategy was simple: pretend the game’s in the city. The logos included quintessential New York-New Jersey images, including the George Washington Bridge and the New York skyline (read: things you see on the drive into New York from New Jersey). There is a snowflake, too, to remind everyone, hey, the East Coast is really cold in February, in case you couldn’t remember that on your own.
Even Seahawks' head coach Pete Caroll, who coached with the Jets from 1990 to 1994, said, "I've always loved playing in New York."
And to a certain extent, I understand the host committee’s objectives. New York is a huge tourist area; it’s recognizable, familiar, visible; it’s the namesake of MetLife Stadium’s own teams. There’s money to be made from claiming New York is helping to host this year’s Super Bowl (although apparently not as much as the NFL is predicting).
But there’s an inherent problem with their strategy: New Jerseyans are preparing for the biggest football game of the year and getting very little of the credit. Contrary to popular belief, New Jersey is not the “armpit of America” and shouldn’t be treated like it is. Because New Jersey is hosting the Super Bowl and because New Jersey is home to me.
I go down the shore every summer; I can drive a few miles down the highway to a diner, whether it’s a Tuesday afternoon, or 2 a.m., because there’s always one just down the road and it’s probably open anyway. Yes, I do have to drive everywhere. No, I don’t know what exit I am. And no, I don’t, nor have I ever, pronounced it “Joy-sey.”
I listened to Bruce Springsteen in my parents’ car and knew he was the Boss. I take pork roll, egg and cheese on my bagel–if you don't know what pork roll is, I'm truly sorry. I go to the mall if there’s nothing else to do, just to window shop. I’ll take Dunkin’ Donuts over Starbucks any day of the week. And I watch the Giants on Sundays.
I’m a Jersey girl, through and through.
Yeah, I know the Meadowlands area isn’t much to look at and I know Newark Airport is confusing. I know it sucks to get stuck in traffic literally anywhere you go. I know the cast of Jersey Shore didn’t give us the best reputation (to be fair, though, they aren’t actually from New Jersey).
But it’s still my home.
That’s why I’m unbelievably proud and excited that my home state gets to host the first-ever outdoor Super Bowl (who needs a retractable roof? If you can’t handle the cold, we don’t want you there anyway). I wish I could be at home sitting on my couch with my family’s full spread of game-day food set up in front of the TV, proudly donning my Eli Manning jersey. I wish even more I could make yet another trip to MetLife Stadium, a place I know and love, and sit out in the cold to experience the game in person.
Intead, I’ll settle for the freezing temperatures of Evanston, but my heart will be, as it always is, in New Jersey.
Now that all eyes will be on MetLife Stadium this weekend, I hope everyone can see the Garden State as I do: a home. The camera wlll probably pan over New York City dozens of times before the game is over, but don't forget where that camera is positioned. The great state of New Jersey is indeed hosting the Super Bowl, but thanks for the help, New York.
So toughen up, America. You’re coming to Jersey now.