Coaches concerned about fields

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JERSEY CITY, N.J. -- Much of the Super Bowl weather talk has focused on game day, and the effect that winter conditions could have in open-air MetLife Stadium in northern New Jersey in early February.

But the Super Bowl is much more than just game day -- it's an entire week of preparation in this wintry climate. And as the Denver Broncos and Seattle Seahawks arrived Sunday with snow on the ground, there was some talk of the extent to which the weather could affect Super Bowl practices. Frozen fields could move practices indoors, and both teams' coaches said that would not be ideal.

"We haven't had a chance to get over there yet, but we understand there's snow on the fields and they're frozen and we likely could be inside for most of the week," Seahawks coach Pete Carroll said.

"We'll look at the fields and test the fields, and we brought our grounds crew people," Broncos coach John Fox said. "I understand the indoor facility is very much like ours, except their field house is completed, which is a big difference. So we may or may not go in there. I'd prefer grass. It saves out players' legs. But if need be, we'll go indoors or on their synthetic surface."

A large snowstorm struck the area last Wednesday, more snow fell Saturday and sub-freezing temperatures have kept it from melting. The Seahawks will practice this week at the New York Giants' facility in East Rutherford, N.J., while the Broncos will work at the New York Jets' facility in Florham Park, N.J.

Both facilities are relatively new, each having opened within the past decade, and each has a large indoor field house in which the teams can practice. But Carroll echoed Fox's sentiments in saying he'd prefer to work his players on natural grass, if possible, and practice outdoors to prepare to play in the cold Sunday.

However, both coaches seemed to acknowledge that it might not be possible to prepare the way they want due to the unique nature of this year's game. They both seem willing to roll with whatever circumstances dictate.

"I think, in order to be a championship football team, we've got to be weatherproof," Fox said.

Monday's forecast in East Rutherford calls for a high temperature of 38 degrees and rain, so frozen fields could do some melting. However, the forecast's high temperature for Tuesday is 17 degrees with lows in single digits at night.

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