The fact of the matter is that no one really understands New Jersey, including those of us who have spent much of our lives in the state. This is mostly because New Jersey is so many different things, all dense and grumbling against each other in a fairly tight space. All those high-contrast contradictions and self-image issues aren't unique to New Jersey, of course, but we do tend to express them loudly, in a distinctive accent, and with the peevish urgency that comes from having just spent 45 minutes crawling along an ugly gray stretch of highway, barely moving, because some turd doesn't understand how a damn alternate merge works, somehow.
Anyway, the Garden State contains loud multitudes. There is a great deal of natural beauty and there also are desolate cities whose nicer neighborhoods could still be mistaken for Bartertown from Mad Max: Beyond Thunderdome; the state produces delicious tomatoes and corn and blueberries, and also generates richer, beefier Heavy Industry-Related Butt Smells than you can possibly imagine. It's possible to pull together a list of Jersey's good and bad aspects, and its various macro-level tics and tendencies, but noting that the state broadly tends to favor parm-style sandwiches and suffer from tragicomically poor government is not the same thing as understanding New Jersey. We can recommend the best ways to get the most out of your New Jersey Experience to visitors, but the most any of us can do is give a broad sense of how things do and don't work in New Jersey, and tend to happen or don't.
That existential caveat out of the way, I will tell you something that any New Jersey person can tell you: it will not snow in New Jersey on Super Bowl Sunday.
There is, as I write this, something like a foot of snow on the ground in North Jersey, and temperatures are comfortably below freezing throughout the region. They're predicted to be that way through the beginning of Super Bowl week. But for all the speculation about Super Bowl weather — the market is betting its best guesses, actual scientists are having their say, 538 is doing its prognosticative thing, and there is even an official SB Nation forecast — there is something that New Jersey people know that they do not. There is a truth that is not supported by science, but which those of us with roots deep in the state's Superfund-y soil know with a strength beyond faith. And that is that it will be 38 degrees and drizzly on Super Bowl Sunday.
Right now, that is not the weather that anyone is predicting — it's likely, they would have us believe, that it will be windy and cold, with temperatures around freezing at kickoff and colder thereafter. There is some science behind that forecast, and none behind mine. I acknowledge this.
But just as the NFL has its official beer and pizza sponsors, New Jersey has its own official Early February Weather Condition. And just as the NFL's official beer and pizza sponsors are pretty awful — respectively, a faintly farty macro-brew and a pizza-esque caloric unit that tastes like a grumpy aunt's couch cushion that has had various Better Ingredients welded to it by a quarter-inch of pallid cheese-paste — New Jersey's official Early February Weather Condition is pretty terrible.
And so, my anecdotal weather forecast for the Super Bowl: the current cold snap will abate, with temperatures rising into the low 40s. There will be a day when it rains, reducing much of the snow that's left on the ground to a frozen slurry; imagine a 7-11 slushy with the flavor Old Battleship and you're about there. What snow remains — and you will see little humpbacked hillocks of this in the parking lots at MetLife Stadium — will at that point have become so saturated with car exhaust and airborne bad vibes that it will be gray, glassy and invincible. It will still be there, immovable and unmoved, in late March. The last remnant of this nuclear snow will not so much melt as skulk into the earth, double middle-fingers ablaze, sometime in early May. It is heartening, somewhat, to imagine out-of-town swells and Junior Marketing Associates and especially Mike Florio scrambling over these little frozen dunes of winter sadness on their way to the stadium, but we will only need to imagine it for a little while. This will happen.
Furthermore: it will not snow. Snow would certainly add some aesthetic grace notes to the experience, and add some interesting new wrinkles to the game itself, but New Jersey has had its last lovely-looking snowfall by Super Bowl Sunday. We will be, by then, firmly in the realm of the Wintry Mix, which is what TV weathermen and -women call it when snow arrives, conveniently, in post-snow form, and falls from the sky as slush. More likely, there will be little gouts of cold rain throughout Super Bowl Sunday. The wretched nephews of NFL executives eating damp $11 hot dogs in their seats during the first quarter will especially enjoy this.
People have complained about the NFL for holding this Super Bowl outdoors, in a cold weather environment. There will be more complaints, surely, once the rest of the nation is introduced to the primer-gray shitscape that is the North Jersey winter. It will be helpful to think of the Super Bowl as more than a game. Not in the global, branded-out, everything-to-everyone way the NFL suggests, but in another way — not just as a football game, but as a sort of travel program, an introduction to an exotic climate and its proud native people. Welcome, welcome, to New Jersey. Prepare to get your socks wet.