- The Washington Times - Monday, January 30, 2006

DETROIT — The cause for concern about a Super Bowl in Detroit was of the possibility of a blizzard. After all, the Motor City is right across the Detroit River from Canada and its infamous chinook winds.

But it was a relatively balmy 39 degrees even at 6 p.m. yesterday. The Super Bowl XL host committee had to create some artificial snow for the Motown Winter Blast that gets under way Thursday, but there won’t be enough for the 200-foot snow slide unless the mercury drops consistently below 29 degrees, which it’s not supposed to despite nearly daily forecast for some wintry mix.

The dogsledding event might even have to take place on wheels (which, of course, fits in with Detroit’s major industry).

“There are a lot of people in Detroit that are waiting for it to snow to show that we are ready,” host committee chairman Roger Penske said at a welcoming press conference attended by Gov. Jennifer Granholm and the mayors of Detroit and Windsor, Ontario. “We’ve talked to the weatherman for the last week and a half. It’s a good news-bad news story.”

Snow or no snow, public officials see Super Bowl XL as a chance to make up for the city’s poorly received previous chance to be Super Bowl host 24 years ago in suburban Pontiac.

“We want to redeem ourselves,” said Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick, who cited 70 businesses and 35 restaurants that have come to downtown Detroit since the Super Bowl was granted to the city. “We want to reintroduce ourselves to the world as the new Detroit. What you’re seeing is the culmination of a lot of people who rolled up their sleeves over the last 31/2, 4 years to get it done.”

No Mrs. Holmgren

The wife of Seattle coach Mike Holmgren will be on the other side of the world. Kathy Holmgren and one of the couple’s daughters are traveling to the Democratic Republic of Congo on an aid mission for the Seattle-based Northwest Medical Teams. The commitment was made four months ago.

“It gives me great joy that she will go,” Mike Holmgren said.

Kathy Holmgren, who married Mike in 1971, is returning to the country more than 30 years after working as a missionary nurse when it was known as Zaire.

Going green

Almost half of the Steelers had new jerseys for their first practice in Detroit, and there was not a stitch of black or gold in them.

Instead, 23 players wore Irish green, honoring their man of the week.

Players wore replicas of Jerome Bettis’ No. 6 Notre Dame jersey to their walkthrough and their media session, honoring the running back playing perhaps his final game in his hometown.

“It says a lot,” cornerback Deshea Townsend said. “It most definitely lets you know that we care about each other on our team. Jerome is such a good teammate and such a good person that this is like a tribute we can give him on his day.”

This article is based in part on wire service reports.

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