EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. (AP) — The NFL draft is history. Organized team activities are under way. Minicamps will follow next month, and training camps will open a month after that.
The 2013 season is on the horizon and so is the cold-weather Super Bowl.
The title game on Feb. 2 at MetLife Stadium is less than nine months away and no one knows it better than Al Kelly, the chief executive of the New York-New Jersey host committee.
In the past two years, Kelly has built an organization, made plans, raised money, recruited volunteers and spent hours with local, state and federal authorities making sure everything connected with the game will go off without a hitch, whether it snows or rains or sleets or — unexpectedly — is pleasant.
Bottom line is the stretch run for the big game has started.
“Time has flown,” Kelly said in a telephone interview with The Associated Press Thursday. “When I started, there were two Super Bowls that could happen before ours. Those (Indianapolis and New Orleans) have happened and now we’ve gone from being double-decked to being at bat, and now there are three on deck behind us.”
Earlier this week, the NFL awarded the 2016 Super Bowl to San Francisco and the 2017 game Houston, setting off celebrations in those cities.
Just three years earlier in a meeting in Dallas, the owners took the gamble on a bid by the Giants and Jets and decided to play their showcase event in a non-domed, outdoor stadium in a cold-weather climate just outside the country’s biggest city.
The building blocks were laid the first year. High-level planning was done last year.
“Now, we are in the third phase, which is we have and continue to make specific decisions about what’s going to happen, when it’s going to happen and where it’s going to happen,” the former American Express executive said. “We’re moving into a lot more of the very detailed, executional planning that is required.”