7 Super Bowl Weather Superlatives

Despite efforts to protect the game from the elements, there have been instances where the Super Bowl conditions have been less than ideal.

Weather is a significant factor when the NFL selects which city's stadium will host the Super Bowl. When the AFC and NFC champions battle it out for football's most coveted trophy, the NFL makes an effort to ensure that they do so with perfect conditions.

Traditionally when selecting a host city, the NFL will award the Big Game to a stadium located in a city with an expected average daily temperature above 50ºF on game day. The exception is when a roof can cover the stadium. The warm climates of Miami, New Orleans, and Los Angeles have hosted 29 of 56 Super Bowls.

However, despite efforts to protect the game from the elements, there have been instances where the Super Bowl conditions have been less than ideal.


Super Bowl VI | Jan. 16, 1972 | New Orleans, Louisiana

Historically the average temperature on January 16 in New Orleans is 60º. However, when the Dallas Cowboys and Miami Dolphins met at Tulane Stadium, it was a chilly 39º with a wind chill in the 20s.

The cold weather did not slow down the hot Cowboys running game, which accumulated 252 yards en route to a dominant 24-3 victory. The win certainly warmed the hearts of Cowboys fans who were still disappointed about losing the previous year's Super Bowl on a last-minute field goal.

Super Bowl VI was the last outdoor Super Bowl played in New Orleans. The Superdome hosted all subsequent Big Easy Big Games.


Super Bowl XIV | Jan. 20, 1980 | Pasadena, California

The last time the Los Angeles Rams played a Super Bowl in their home city, they had to contend with the Pittsburgh Steelers and 30 mph wind gusts.

The underdog Rams carried a two-point lead into the fourth quarter and appeared to be on the verge of an upset. However, the Steelers team that had claimed three of the previous five Super Bowls scored two fourth-quarter touchdowns to pull away and win 31-19.

The next time the Rams would play in a Super Bowl was twenty years later as the St. Louis Rams. The Rams are one of only three franchises to play in the Super Bowl representing two different cities. The other two are the Colts (Baltimore, Indianapolis) and the Raiders (Los Angeles, Oakland).


Super Bowl XL | Feb. 5, 2006 | Detroit, Michigan

Detroit was a winter wonderland when it hosted Super Bowl XL in 2006. An inch of snow fell on the city as the Pittsburgh Steelers and Seattle Seahawks prepared to battle it out for the Lombardi Trophy.

Fortunately for the players and fans, the game was played on Ford Field inside a climate-controlled dome with the thermostat set to 68º. The toasty indoor atmosphere was the only bit of good fortune the Seahawks would receive on this Super Sunday. With the help of a few tough breaks and controversial calls, the Seahawks fell to the Steelers 21-10.

The conditions of this game echoed those of Super Bowl XVI played in nearby Pontiac. While the San Francisco 49ers were beating the Cincinnati Bengals 26-21, a little less than an inch of snow fell on the bitterly cold city. Players and fans were kept warm by the Pontiac Silverdome during that game.

Super Bowl XLVIII in 2014 was the closest we've come to seeing snowy conditions on the field during a Super Bowl. For this game, the NFL bucked their trend of awarding an outdoor game to a traditionally warm-weather city.

To the surprise of everyone, East Rutherford, New Jersey was unseasonably warm at kickoff with a temperature of 49º. The following day was a different story, as 8 inches of snow fell on MetLife Stadium.

Perhaps the dynamic play of the Seattle Seahawks in their 43-8 rout of the Denver Broncos is what kept the air so warm on game day.


Super Bowl XXXIV | Jan. 30, 2000 | Atlanta, Georgia

While the Tennessee Titans and St. Louis Rams played inside the comfy confines of the Georgia Dome, an ice storm that made travel around the city a nightmare plagued Atlantans. Titans fans were dealt a nightmare of their own as Kevin Dyson came up just one yard short of tying the game as time expired, giving the Rams their first-ever Super Bowl victory 23-16.

Super Bowl XLV, played at Cowboys Stadium in Arlington, Texas, was also plagued by wintry weather the week leading up to the Big Game. Three days before the Green Bay Packers took on the Pittsburgh Steelers, a winter storm hit the Dallas-Fort Worth metro area and covered Cowboys Stadium with snow and ice. The following day, snow and ice slid off the stadium's roof, injuring six people working to prepare for the game.  

The game went on as scheduled, and the Packers defeated the Steelers 31-25.


Super Bowl XLI | Feb. 4, 2007 | Miami, Florida

Super Bowl XLI likely had the most unpleasant conditions of any Super Bowl to date, with torrential rain falling throughout the game. The teams combined for six fumbles and eight total turnovers largely because of the wet and windy conditions.

The Indianapolis Colts overcame the sloppy conditions and defeated the Chicago Bears 29-17.

Though the wet weather created an ugly football game, it was the perfect backdrop for Prince's halftime performance of "Purple Rain."


Super Bowl XLVII | Feb. 3, 2013 | New Orleans, Louisiana

The Mercedes-Benz Superdome in New Orleans, LA, kept Super Bowl XLVII safe from the elements. After a rousing halftime performance by Beyonce, the Ravens instantly increased their lead to 28-6 thanks to a 108-yard Jacoby Jones kickoff return.

Then something strange happened. With 13:22 remaining in the third quarter, darkness covered half of the stadium. The Superdome had partially lost power.

After the power shut off, any unfortunate fans in an elevator found themselves trapped. Fans sat under the emergency lighting, trying to find answers for why this was happening on their smartphones.

Eventually, the cause of the blackout was determined to be the failure of a device meant to protect the power supply to the Superdome. After a 34-minute delay, the game was able to resume.

The lights coming back on seemed to light up the 49ers' offense as they staged a monster comeback, cutting the lead to 31-29 with 9:57 to go. However, the Ravens never relinquished their lead and won their second Super Bowl in franchise history 34-31.

The Superdome has not hosted another Super Bowl since the blackout but is scheduled to host Super Bowl LIX in 2025.


Super Bowl VII | Jan. 14, 1973 | Los Angeles, California

The only thing hotter than the Miami Dolphins at the start of Super Bowl VII was the weather. The Dolphins entered the game 16-0, attempting to become the first undefeated Super Bowl champion in NFL history. The temperature at kickoff in the Los Angeles Coliseum was 84º.

The Dolphins completed the only perfect season in the Super Bowl era by beating both the heat and Washington.

The record for the hottest Super Bowl on record may get challenged by yet another Los Angeles Super Bowl. The forecast for Super Bowl LVI at SoFi Stadium is mostly sunny with a high of 83º.