- Associated Press - Monday, January 30, 2012

INDIANAPOLIS (AP) - Patriots coach Bill Belichick could leave his familiar hoodies in the hotel drawer. There was no need to bundle up for the start of only the fourth Super Bowl week in a northern city.

Ice and snow? Notable no-shows.

Fans threw open their jackets as they walked around downtown streets near Lucas Oil Stadium on Monday, hoping to get a glimpse of a celebrity in town for the game between New England and the New York Giants. Temperatures in the mid-to-upper 50s were forecast for the start of the week, well above normal.

The sunshine felt so good that it made for a joke or two.

“I know the way we’re preparing and the way we’ve controlled the weather, which is hard to do,” Colts owner Jim Irsay said, smiling. “But we’ve had certain techniques that were going to keep hidden, and I hope they hold.”

Already, it’s way better than Dallas.

Weather is a major concern when the title game goes north, but some of the biggest problems came down south last year. Snow and 100 hours of sub-freezing temperatures snarled traffic and led to injuries when an icy patch fell off the stadium roof and hit six workers.

Indianapolis watched and prepared.

“You can have anything in Indiana,” Super Bowl Host Committee spokeswoman Mel Raines said. “Our plan is intended for everything.”

In its first three times at a northern exposure, the NFL’s title game has experienced a little of everything.

The ground-breaking game came after the 1981 season in Detroit, a test of whether it would work outside the sunny climes of Florida, New Orleans, Texas and California. The week leading up to the game between the Bengals and 49ers included bursts of snow culminating in nasty conditions for game day.

Bored players passed the time that week by spinning their tires on the ice-covered hotel parking lot for fun.

“I think the biggest challenge was for guys not to get bored to tears,” former Bengals offensive lineman Dave Lapham said. “We kind of felt cooped up, really. Guys talked about: What are we going to do? Ski? Ice skate? You could strap on skates and skate on the streets. There was nothing do to.”

Traffic heading to the Silverdome in Pontiac, Mich., on game day got clogged by another burst of snow. Fans braved temperatures of 13 degrees and a wind chill of 21 below.

After that experience, there was talk that the league would never venture north again for a Super Bowl.

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