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Head Strong: A Super Bowl played in the elements? Exciting

John Facenda, the legendary local broadcaster who brought the "Voice of God" to NFL Films, is often credited for the famous reference to the "frozen tundra of Lambeau Field."

John Facenda, the legendary local broadcaster who brought the "Voice of God" to NFL Films, is often credited for the famous reference to the "frozen tundra of Lambeau Field."

Facenda, however, never said those words about the Green Bay Packers' field. Some attribute them to ESPN's Chris Berman. Others believe the originator was Bill Woodson, whose credits include voicing the opening to the TV series The Odd Couple.

But everyone agrees on one thing: The tundra was indeed frozen. And for that reason, Lambeau Field, Lincoln Financial Field, and others without roofs not located along the Sun Belt don't host Super Bowls.

Hopefully that's about to change. Tomorrow, the National Football League will make a big-time decision. It has nothing to do with overtime proceedings or the tuck rule. It won't limit celebrations to tossing the ball to the ref. But it is old-school.

The NFL is going to announce the host of the 2014 Super Bowl - and the New Meadowlands, home to the New York Giants and Jets, is the front-runner.

Rightfully so. The league should play its biggest game on the world's biggest stage. It's a way to make a little history by invoking its history. More than anything, it makes perfect football sense.

Critics' most pressing concern, of course, is the weather. The league, along with its players and fans, has been weaned into the good life. Dallas will hold next year's Super Bowl, while Miami and Tampa, Fla., have held the last two. When the game does go north for the winter, such benders are limited to domes (Indianapolis' Lucas Oil Stadium, host in 2012, has a retractable roof).

With average highs around 40 degrees and lows closer to 24 degrees in February - not to mention the chance of snow - North Jersey is a far cry from the usual Super Bowl hosts.

But Meadowlands chief executive officer Mark Lamping got it right last week when he said, "Sports fans, especially football fans, are not easily intimidated by weather."

Just consider the success of hockey's Winter Classic, the game played every New Year's Day at an outdoor venue. The 2010 installment - a 2-1 Boston Bruins win over the Flyers attended by nearly 40,000 fans at Fenway Park - garnered the second-highest TV ratings for an NHL regular-season game since 1996. The highest? The 2009 Winter Classic. The appeal for outdoor winter sports is there.

And speaking of classics, NFL history is littered with all-time great games played in less than sun-splashed conditions.

At Yankee Stadium in 1962, Ed Sabol's first video venture - the company that would grow into NFL Films - was born during the NFL championship game between the Giants and the Packers. The bitter cold nearly caused the cameras to freeze.

Five years later, the Ice Bowl - a 21-17 Packers victory over the Dallas Cowboys in the NFL championship game - spawned the famous "frozen tundra" description.

More than 20 years after that, Randall Cunningham threw for 407 yards despite the impenetrable mist clouding the field as the Eagles and the Chicago Bears met in the Fog Bowl at Soldier Field.

Indeed, some of the NFL's most important football gets played in bad weather every year. The fact is, worse weather makes for more engaging television and better ratings. And if snow, sleet, and rain are OK for the conference championship contests, it should be good enough two weeks later when the Vince Lombardi Trophy is at stake.

But playing the Super Bowl at the Meadowlands is more than the nostalgic thing to do. It's downright American.

"Football is man against man and man against himself. But when you add a blast of inhumane arctic cold to the equation, football becomes man against man, against himself, and against the forces of nature," ESPN's Sal Paolantonio wrote in his book How Football Explains America.

"This is what Walter Camp and the founding fathers of football had in mind when they forged this game - created a story line like that of the American pioneers navigating through the dangerous wilderness or across a treacherous plain," Paolantonio wrote.

Indeed. When I read last week that Super Bowl bids require the prospective host to recommend three golf courses, I couldn't help but think the NFL's biggest game had outgrown its roots.

This is football. American football. The game is violent. Its players are powerful. Its rhythm is herky-jerky. This isn't soccer, for Peyton's sake.

It's the lone sport among the Big Four that is actually enhanced by inclement conditions. Holding the Super Bowl in a city with less than ideal weather would add another dynamic to an event whose slick production values and epic halftime show have managed to soften America's raucous game.

How's this for a blueprint? First the Meadowlands. Then the Linc. Maybe the Eagles could finally return to the big game if it takes less travel time to get there.