Joe and Gerry Repar of Gig Harbor were touring the games and exhibits of the NFL Experience in the Phoenix Convention Center on Tuesday when they were asked what they liked best about the event.
“The sun,” Joe Repar said with a laugh.
Tuesday was a warm day in the Valley of the Sun, but, alas, Seahawks fans can’t catch a break when it comes to Super Bowl weather. Their first two were played in the frigid northern cities of Detroit and New York.
Super Bowl 49 was supposed to be different, but it rained Thursday and Friday and rain is in the forecast for Saturday, too.
While the rain has hardly kept fans from exploring the Super Bowl-related outdoor activities such as the climbing wall, it has highlighted the differences in the ways Northwesterners and Arizonans feel about precipitation.
While many fans and workers are wielding umbrellas and wearing ponchos, a large portion of those who aren’t bothering with such protection are wearing Seahawks jerseys.
It typically rains less than 15 inches per year in Phoenix and, according to the National Climatic Data Center, it is the sunniest major metropolitan area in the nation.
Marjorie Magnusson of the Arizona Department of Tourism just laughed when asked about the panicked look on some of the locals’ faces during what would be considered a sprinkle by Western Washington standards.
“And we’ll bundle up in our winter coats when temperatures drop into the 60s,” she said, still laughing.
She sounded as if she was joking, but apparently not. Earlier in the week when temperatures were in the 60s and low 70s and there was no rain, Northwesterners could be seen wearing shorts. Meanwhile, at least one hotel fired up heat lamps to ward off the cold.
But none of this is to suggest Washingtonians are any tougher. Inside media headquarters, where the air conditioning has been blasting all week, several Northwest journalists have been seen putting on coats and sweaters (including this one).
Fortunately for fans, many of the Super Bowl festivities — including the game — are indoors.
At the NFL Experience, fans can run obstacle courses, pose for an array of pictures (including a booth where long-locked Steelers safety Troy Polamalu is superimposed into the picture), catch passes, kick field goals, get drafted, view exhibits from the NFL Hall of Fame and more.
“It looks like fun,” Joe Repar said, who’d just arrived and was watching people race in the 40-yard dash. “… But that’s not going to happen. I have a fake hip and I haven’t sprinted since.”
At one exhibit fans stepped into a replay booth and reviewed a questionable call from an NFL game.
Victor Rodriguez and Robert Pigg of Phoenix both took a turn. Rodriguez reviewed a play in which a Cincinnati receiver bobbled the ball just as he reached the goal line. Pigg had to determine if an Indianapolis receiver made a clean catch in the end zone.
Both made the correct call.
“It’s fun to see what the officials do,” Rodriguez said.
“It (the NFL Experience) has been a lot of fun and I think it’s good to have this in Phoenix,” Pigg said, pointing out the area will have hosted a pro golf tournament, the NFL Pro Bowl, two college football bowl games and the Super Bowl in a 33-day span.
“It’s pretty cool and it’s been fun to come down and check it out.”
KRAMER ON THE HALL
The 2015 NFL Hall of Fame class will be announced Saturday, which is likely to spark conversations about who hasn’t but should be given the sport’s highest honor.
The player regularly near the top of the list is former Green Bay Packers lineman Jerry Kramer. Kramer, 79, has earned almost every other honor in the sport. While his daughter has campaigned for him to be added to the hall, Kramer isn’t complaining about his omission.
“I stay out of that,” Kramer said. “Football has been really good to me. I have no complaints and it’s given me a lot, so I can’t get upset about a present they won’t give me.
“I’m going down the road feeling fine.”