After several months of planning, campaigning, arm-twisting, brainstorming and problem solving, it comes down to a 15-minute presentation. It's the fourth quarter, and Team New York smells victory.
On Tuesday, in a hotel ballroom in Dallas, the New York teams -- Giants and Jets -- will make their bid to co-host the 2014 Super Bowl at the new Meadowlands Stadium. By rule, they have only 15 minutes to convince the other owners that New York/New Jersey is the best place for the NFL's showcase event.
Fifteen minutes to make enough people believe that it's cool to be cold.
The bulk of the presentation will be handled by Meadowlands Stadium CEO Mark Lamping and Giants treasurer Jonathan Tisch.
After their 15-minute portion, Jets owner Woody Johnson and Giants co-owner John Mara will share the floor for five minutes. The bid's official tagline is "Make Some History," and the presenters plan to emphasize that theme in a two-video presentation that will show classic footage of great NFL games that were played in cold weather.
Prediction: The owners will see iconic images of Vince Lombardi celebrating Bart Starr's famous quarterback sneak in the 1967 Ice Bowl at Lambeau Field, where the Packers and Cowboys played for the NFL championship in a minus-48 wind chill. Instead of pulling an end-around on the weather issue, the plan is to be direct, like a basic, up-the-gut running play.
"We are confident we're submitting a compelling bid," Lamping said.
The New York/New Jersey organizers believe that football, like revenge, is best served cold. By late Tuesday afternoon, after 4, the verdict will be announced live on the NFL Network. Barring an upset, the Giants/Jets bid will prevail over Tampa and Miami, the other finalists, making Meadowlands Stadium the first open-air stadium in a cold-weather region to host a Super Bowl.
Forget about popcorn; get your hot chocolate ready, folks.
It probably won't happen on the first or second ballot, which both require 75 percent of the vote (24 of the 32 teams) for one of the three candidates, but the feeling around the league is that New York/New Jersey has enough support to win on the third or fourth ballot.
If it goes to a second vote and no city receives a 75 percent majority, the third-place finisher (many believe that will be Miami) is eliminated. If neither of the two finalists garners 75 percent on the third ballot, it goes to a fourth. In that case, a simple majority (17 votes) wins the Super Bowl.
Commissioner Roger Goodell is known to be in favor of the Giants/Jets bid, and he usually gets what he wants. New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft, one of the league's most influential power brokers, said he will lobby at the owners' meeting on behalf of the Giants and Jets.
"Doing it in New York is the right thing for a lot of reasons," Kraft told the New York Daily News. "I've been going to Patriots games for 50 years up here. I personally believe all football should be played outdoors. Our league was founded on winter football with the Ice Bowl. Our sport is about resilience, mental toughness, adjustments. I think it will be a great experience for the fans. A memorable experience."
There was talk about a New York Super Bowl in the aftermath of the 9/11 attacks, but that never gained traction. The Jets were conditionally promised a Super Bowl at their proposed West Side Stadium, but that project died a political death. But now, with the new $1.6 billion palace in the swamp ready for football, the league has waived its 50-degree weather rule, putting the Meadowlands in play.
Why are the Giants and Jets so excited about the prospect of hosting a Super Bowl? Experts say it would pump $550 million into the local economy. There won't be a direct financial benefit for the two teams, but a Super Bowl would help secure a naming-rights deal for the stadium. That alone could be worth $500 million, with companies trying to get their name attached to a Super Bowl venue.
There will be detractors, of course, most of them citing the weather. The average high temperature for February in northern New Jersey is 40 degrees, the average low 24. A crew of 800 snow shovelers will be on standby, but the prospect of winter weather is a concern for those who want the championship to be decided in pristine conditions. There's also the issue of fan comfort.
"I don't think anybody is raving about their Detroit experience," said an opposing general manager, alluding to Super Bowl XL in 2006, played inside at Ford Field.
Some wonder why the Giants and Jets didn't put a retractable roof on the stadium, but the cost would've been anywhere from $300 million to $500 million, increasing the total stadium bill to the $2 billion mark. Based on the potential return, the teams didn't feel it was worth it.
That's a moot point now; it's go time in Dallas.
"Football's biggest game should be played on the world's biggest stage," Lamping said, "and receive the star treatment it deserves."