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Super Bowl or super brrr? Big game coming to NY

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Super Bowl or super brrr? Big game coming to NY

NEW YORK (AP) Amy Freeze can talk football and forecasts.

So with the Super Bowl coming to New York next year, and with local temperatures stuck in the teens, the WABC-TV meteorologist was all set to look ahead.

``Football fans like a little winter weather,'' she offered on a windy Wednesday.

OK, but exactly how wintry?

Try this long-range reckoning for the matchup at MetLife Stadium, from the soon-to-be printed Farmers' Almanac: ``An intense storm, heavy rain, snow and strong winds. This could seriously impact Super Bowl XLVIII.''

Predicts editor Pete Geiger: ``This is going to be one for the ages.''

``Hey, it goes with the territory,'' he said by phone from Lewiston, Maine.

Way too early to say for sure what awaits fans and players in the first outdoor Super Bowl at a cold-weather site. It'll 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 will be a lot warmer back in the Big Easy when the Baltimore Ravens and San Francisco 49ers tangle in less than two weeks. They'll be inside the Superdome.

The NFL was aware next year's Super Bowl could be a super brrr.

``Creating a plan for staging a Super Bowl in winter weather is not reinventing the wheel,'' NFL senior vice president for events Frank Supovitz said two years ago. ``Super Bowls have often been played in cities that can experience winter storms, including Detroit, Minneapolis ...''

``Coordinated snow and ice removal plans for travel routes, major event facilities, the stadium campus, and parking have always been part of our planning protocol,'' he said then.

Remember, no city is immune to rugged weather. Even though Green Bay and Pittsburgh played inside Cowboys Stadium two years, snow and ice blanketed the lead-up events.

Besides, a blizzard isn't likely. 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.

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. Ticket prices are running about $3,100 for the Ravens-49ers game, and Lehrman 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.

It certainly had an effect in New York on Wednesday. The radio hosts on WFAN began their noontime show talking about the weather; at De Witt Clinton Park in Manhattan, the artificial turf fields often occupied by pickup football games were empty.

But for a chance to see a Super Bowl, fans might sit for a few hours in a raw setting.

``You can see in Lambeau Field how they endure the cold there. They sell out there all the time, and in the Giants' and Jets' stadium they do the same,'' New York Rangers captain Ryan Callahan said before Wednesday night's NHL game at Madison Square Garden against the Boston Bruins.

``For an event like that I don't think the cold weather is going to deter anybody,'' said Callahan, a native of Rochester, N.Y.

Peggy Beisel-McIlwaine agreed. Her grandfather was the Packers' first president and she recalled being in the stands for the famed Ice Bowl - the 1967 NFL championship between Green Bay and Dallas when the game-time temperature at Lambeau Field was minus-13 degrees.

``I've got sitting in the cold weather down to a science,'' she said in an email. ``Sitting at Lambeau in subzero weather is all about the clothes: Cashmere, fleece and down and, of course, Ugg boots.''

Come next year, Freeze (''that's my real name,'' she added) said the wintry conditions might be a factor. She's seen that up close - while working four years in Chicago, she was a team meteorologist for the Bears, consulting with coaches, special teams members and equipment personnel.

``I'm always for the home-field advantage,'' she said. ``I think the weather will play into it.''

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AP Sports Writer Ira Podell contributed to this report.

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Lamar Jackson wins Pro Bowl Offensive MVP as AFC beats NFC

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USA Today Sports Images

Lamar Jackson wins Pro Bowl Offensive MVP as AFC beats NFC

The Ravens were the most represented team at the Pro Bowl, so it was only fitting two of the biggest contributors were from Baltimore, too. 

Lamar Jackson and Mark Andrews combined for three touchdowns as the AFC beat the NFC 38-33 in the Pro Bowl on Sunday in Orlando. 

Jackson was named Pro Bowl Offensive MVP in just the first Pro Bowl of his young career. 

In addition to the 12 players that were selected from the NFL’s top regular season team, the AFC was coached by Baltimore’s coaching staff. 

Mourning Kobe Bryant

The Pro Bowl’s priority in the grand scheme of things took a backseat Sunday afternoon after NBA legend Kobe Bryant passed away in a helicopter crash in California. He was 41 years old.

Ravens players tweeted their condolences after news of his death broke and the sports world slowed to honor Bryant.

Jackson was interviewed by ESPN’s Lisa Salters during the game, where he spoke highly of Bryant’s career. 

"That's a legend, man,” Jackson said. “He did so much for the game of basketball. A lot of people looked up to Kobe Bryant, including myself. From what I heard, he was a great person as well. My prayers are with his family."

Lamar Starts

The second-year quarterback had a strong outing in his first ever Pro Bowl appearance. 

Jackson finished 16-of-23 for 185 yards through the air with two touchdowns and an interception. He added six yards on the ground on just two carries. 

His two touchdown passes were tied for a game-high as he played for a majority of the first half. 

For his day, he won Pro Bowl Offensive MVP. It almost assuredly won’t be his only MVP from the 2019 season. 

Other Ravens In Action

But it wasn’t just Jackson that saw the field for the Ravens. 

Andrews finished the game with a game-high nine receptions for 73 yards -- a team high. He also caught a touchdown pass from Jackson in the second quarter. 

Mark Ingram led all players on the ground with 31 yards on five carries, with the help of three of his offensive linemen: Ronnie Stanley, Marshal Yanda and Orlando Brown Jr. 

Defensively, Marlon Humphrey had three tackles, Earl Thomas had two and Matthew Judon added one as well. 

Late in the fourth quarter, Thomas intercepted a pass on the Pro Bowl’s new onside kick rule, which replaces a standard onside kick with a 4th-and-15 play. Thomas then lateraled the ball to Humphrey, who pitched it to Judon before the play was whistled dead.

Justin Tucker added a first half 50-yard field goal, too, as the Ravens made sure they were well-known at the Pro Bowl. 

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Fans, players at Pro Bowl honor Kobe Bryant

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USA Today Sports Images

Fans, players at Pro Bowl honor Kobe Bryant

News of Kobe Bryant’s death spread quickly across the sports world, which included the Pro Bowl. 

Less than an hour before kickoff in Orlando, reports of a helicopter crash involving Bryant spread rapidly. Since multiple outlets confirmed the news, players across all sports have tweeted their condolences and thoughts and prayers about Bryant’s death. 

Lamar Jackson was interviewed by ESPN's Lisa Salters, an interview that concluded with Jackson's memories of Bryant. 

"That's a legend, man," Jackson said. "He did so much for the game of basketball. A lot of people looked up to Kobe Bryant, including myself. From what I heard, he was a great person as well. My prayers are with his family."

Jackson added that Bryant signed a jersey for him after he was drafted, too.

"It means a lot," Jackson said. "That's one of the GOATs. Him, MJ and LeBron. The top three."

During a commercial break at the Pro Bowl, fans took the time to honor the former-Laker. 

Saints quarterback Drew Brees was interviewed on the sideline after his afternoon had ended, where he called Bryant an inspiration. 

For those not in Orlando, responses were quick to the tragic death of one of the most impactful athletes in recent memory.

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