One of the most anticipated and celebrated sporting events of the year is just 10 days away. The Seattle Seahawks will take on the New England Patriots in Superbowl XLIX on February 1 at University of Phoenix Stadium in Arizona. Since its opening in 2006, the stadium has hosted one other Superbowl prior to this year’s match up.
While many NFL teams located in cold weather climates play in open air stadiums throughout the season, the Arizona Cardinals opted for a retractable roof in their recent stadium build. Despite favorable climate conditions and the additional cost of adding a retractable roof to a domed stadium project, running anywhere from $25-$50 million, the Cardinals play a large majority of their games with the roof closed. As the current stats stand, the team has surprisingly played only 22 games with the roof open and a whooping 71 with the roof closed since 2006.
However weather hasn’t been the only factor playing into the team’s decision to open or close the roof. Fans have also vocalized their opinions noting that sun glare is a major issue in a portion of the stadium. And if the fans are unhappy for more than a quarter of the game, team management is going to take note. For the Superbowl, the halftime show adds another layer to the roof retraction decision. Logistics of lighting, wiring, and stage rigging for halftime performers is taken into consideration, especially if high winds are likely.
The roof isn’t the only moving feature of the Cardinal’s home field; the field itself can roll in and out of the stadium ensuring the turf is in peak form for every game. When the venue is used for other events, such as concerts, the field simply rolls out of the stadium. Soaking up natural sunlight outdoors and gaining protection from harsh elements indoors, the Cardinals’ field truly benefits from the best of both worlds. Even NFL players have voted it their favorite playing surface in the league. It takes a full 70 minutes to roll the field in or out on over 13 tracks and 300 railroad-type wheels.
As for the roof, the NFL has stated that it will remain open for the February 1st match up, but football pundits are keeping a watchful eye on the weather reports over the coming days.