EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. (AP) — Standing amid giant piles of snow in the shadow of MetLife Stadium, Super Bowl organizers said Wednesday that they're prepared to deploy thousands of trucks and tons of salt to prevent snowy weather from interfering with the biggest football game of the year.
Officials held the press conference to assure the public that snow or ice will not hinder the game on Feb. 2, when it will debut as the first outdoor, cold-weather Super Bowl in NFL history.
The stadium has several snow melters on hand that can clear the fields quickly, including one machine that can melt up to 600 tons of snow per hour, said the stadium's CEO, Brad Mayne. Removable snow chutes can funnel snow out of the seating and concourse areas, he said.
"As you can imagine, Mother Nature and her storms come in many different varieties," Mayne said. "And so we have to be flexible in how we address each and every storm."
Mayne pointed to the most recent storm to hit the region last week, which dropped 6.3 inches of snow and ice on the stadium just hours before the New York Giants played host to the Seattle Seahawks.
"Even though the storm ended just hours prior to kickoff, our experienced crew were able to have the stadium ready," Mayne said.
The stadium plans to have up to 1,600 workers on standby for the Super Bowl, which is double the typical amount of personnel used in most storms.
Officials said they would only consider rescheduling the game in extreme circumstances.
"It is our objective to kick off the ball at 6:30 p.m. on Feb. 2," said Frank Supovitz, Senior Vice President of Events for the NFL. "And we're going to expend every effort ... to make sure that that gets done."
Transportation experts say a snowy football field isn't the issue — after all, many NFL games have previously been played in the snow. But the players might be throwing passes in an empty stadium if the fans can't make it there during a blizzard.
Filling MetLife Stadium on Super Bowl Sunday hinges open the reliability of New Jersey's rails and roads to funnel fans to the game.