Don’t whine about Super Bowl's bitter cold in Minneapolis – embrace the Bold North

Dan Wetzel

The Weather Channel’s forecast for Super Bowl weekend in Minneapolis calls for lows of -3 (Thursday), 4 (Friday), 4 (Saturday) and 3 (Sunday). It might snow for a spell, too.

In other words, perfect.

“This is Minnesota,” said Bud Grant, the retired, longtime coach of the Minnesota Vikings. “We don’t ask how cold it is outside. We just go outside.”

In case you hadn’t heard – and with the inevitable complaints from some media and some visiting fans, you will – this year’s Super Bowl is in Minneapolis.

Zipline enthusiasts including politicians, celebrities and media cross the Mississippi River in Minneapolis Friday, Jan. 26, 2018 as the 10-day Bold North theme festival got underway, one of many events leading up to the Super Bowl. (AP Photo/Jim Mone)

Also … it’s cold in Minneapolis in early February.

The game will be played inside the glorious U.S. Bank Stadium downtown, so once the ball is kicked, Tom Brady and Nick Foles and everyone else will not be affected. Bill Belichick doesn’t have to wrap himself up in extra hoodies.

The Super Bowl is more than just a game, though. It’s a week of parties, street festivals, corporate junkets, celebrity sightings and spoiled sports reporters who apparently spend the rest of their pampered lives on Copacabana Beach and can’t deal with bundling up to trudge from one news conference to the next.

Prepare for players to be asked how they are overcoming walking from the front door of their hotel to the team bus (practices are indoors too).

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If the past portends to the future when it comes to cold-weather Super Bowls, you can expect all sorts of whining this week.

Hopefully, it gets even colder.

The Super Bowl needs to come to places like the Upper Midwest, and not just because local taxes helped subsidize some of U.S. Bank Stadium. It’s because this is America’s game. Offering working people and families around here via the Fan Experience or nightly fireworks even cursory access to the Super Bowl is what the NFL should be about, not just catering to the corporate crowd.

If the Goldman Sachs clients would rather be golfing in Scottsdale, Arizona, well, is that really any different than walking out into the middle of a lake, drilling through the ice and waiting for something to swim by? (Don’t answer that).

If some Hollywood celebrities decided to stay home, good, more tickets for locals.

If someone arrives poorly packed, don’t worry.

“We have plenty of winter clothes to sell you,” Grant noted.

Fans walk outside U.S. Bank Stadium before an NFL football game between the Minnesota Vikings and the Chicago Bears, Sunday, Dec. 31, 2017, in Minneapolis. (AP Photo/Bruce Kluckhohn)

As for the media? Who cares. No one wants to hear from us. Besides, they’ve pretty much cordoned us off in the Mall of America anyway. It’s Always Sunny in the Food Court.

When the Super Bowl is in Miami, almost no one notices. Here? The organizing committee put out a call for 10,000 volunteers. They received 30,000 responses.

All of them will provide directions to Al’s Breakfast, recite Prince lyrics and talk about how great the summer is … all five weeks of it. April is the new February.

We kid. Minnesotans are great. They once elected a pro wrestler to be governor. They are so humble they have 11,842 lakes but the state motto mentions only 10,000. They love constructing giant statues of Paul Bunyan. And of fish, particularly walleyes.

They can talk about Kirby Puckett for a week and a half. It’s believed no student is allowed to matriculate past the second grade without knowing Herb Brooks’ full speech before the Russia game (“Great moments are born of great opportunity”). These people will deep fry anything. For the Super Bowl, they built a zip line over the Mississippi River. Have some lutefisk and pass the Jello salad. Or try “Nordic Barbecue” (basically enormous turkey legs to gnaw on).

As a kid, Tom Brady spent his summers here, milking cows. Maybe that’s his secret for greatness. And what, you’ve never seen the “Ear of Corn Water Tower” in Rochester, the “World’s Largest Ball of Twine” in Darwin or the “Big Chicken on a Roof” in Longville?

Personally, I’d take a night at the Clinic Bar & Grill in Lengby over anything South Beach has to offer.

Whatever you do, don’t kill a trooper in Brainerd, spend the night at the Blue Ox Motel with a couple of call girls or feed a leg into a wood chipper and think Marge Gunderson isn’t going to figure you out.

If nothing else, U.S. Bank Stadium will be the nicest stadium to ever host the Super Bowl – way better sight lines and environment than JerryWorld. Sorry, Jerry.

Maybe best of all, this place has decided to stop apologizing for the weather. Yes, it’s cold. Yes, it snows. Deal with it. Preferably while drinking.

In a bit of self-empowerment, they’ve taken to calling themselves the “Bold North.”

“Enjoy the weather like Minnesotans do,” Grant said.

The dude is 90. He grew up in Superior, Wisconsin, just across from Duluth, Minnesota, a place so dang cold it once reached -41. He played at the University of Minnesota and then one-upped that by becoming a Winnipeg Blue Bomber. When he coached the Vikings to four Super Bowls (all defeats) they played their home games outdoors at the site of what is now the Mall of America. Grant still attends all Vikings games unless “the ducks are flying.”

In 2016, U.S. Bank Stadium was still being built, so the Vikings hosted Seattle in an outdoor playoff game at the University of Minnesota. The kickoff temp was -6. On the sidewalk outside a band played “Margaritaville” for tips. Tailgaters used coolers to keep beers warm (or at least prevent them from freezing).

Grant was brought out for a ceremonial coin flip.

He wore a short-sleeve shirt. The place went nuts.

“That’s right,” he said. “I had to.”

Welcome to the Bold North. Let it snow.

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