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“It was a great idea to get outside and play in front of a lot of people. You feel the energy. You feel the excitement,” Sabres goalie Ryan Miller said. “It builds some hype and you get to have that kind of football moment where there’s a lead up, people talk about it a lot before you play the game and people kind of make an event out of it rather just showing up in time for the drop of the puck. They are showing up tailgating, having some fun and it really picks up the energy and makes people feel good about hockey.”

It makes fans want to stay home and watch, too. NBC Sports has produced five of the six most-watched NHL regular-season games in the past 38 years, topped by the 4.5 million viewers for the 2011 game (there was no 2013 game because of the lockout).

If NBC and the NHL hit the jackpot and the weather turns the game into a 3-hour scene straight out of a Christmas skate at Rockefeller Center, buzz on Twitter and other forms of social media could push even casual viewers toward their TV sets.

“I think the word will get out in a different way than it could have even in 2008, which is remarkable to think how recent that was,” Flood said. “So we’re excited. We think (weather) is a big part of it. We just don’t need a blizzard because we’d like them to be able to make crisp passes, but at the same time have a little bit of that snow globe effect.”

For the whining out of some critics, the chilly Super Bowl still won’t measure to some of the NFL’s classic nailbiters _ or, is it frostbiters _ that helped put the league on the map.

The NFL last year listed its 10 coldest games, and, odds are, the first weekend at MetLife Stadium will seem like summer in Miami compared to the minus-6 degrees at Arrowhead Stadium for a Chiefs-Colts playoff game on Jan. 7, 1996. Or a wind chill of minus-59 degrees for the Jan. 10, 1982 AFC championship game between San Diego and Cincinnati.

Of course, no bone chiller has yet to top to the Ice Bowl, the 1967 NFL Championship Game between Dallas and Green Bay played on December 31, 1967 that clocked in at minus-13 degrees with a wind chill of minus-48.

The forecast that day had called for temperatures in the 20s.

“The operator said, `It’s 7:30 a.m. and 19-below,’” former Cowboys linebacker Lee Roy Jordan told The AP in a 2003 interview. “I got up out of bed, looked out the window and saw 40 other guys starting out in disbelief.”

Some Packers had trouble starting their cars and had to hitch a ride to the game. The doors at the Cowboys’ hotel were frozen shut and had to be kicked in.

When the grounds crew rolled up the tarpaulin, a layer of condensation had formed underneath and, with 40 mph wind, the field promptly froze like an ice rink.

Bart Starr, the Packers’ quarterback during the Ice Bowl game, said it’s a mental adjustment to a cold game

“I don’t want this to sound trite, because it’s not _ it’s attitude,” Starr said in 2008. “It’s a mental thing and you, an individual, regardless of what’s coached to you, you have to put it out of your mind and focus on what the purpose and what your objectives are.

“You have to push it away.”

The Seattle Seahawks sure seemed cozy in chilly New York when they thumped the New York Giants 23-0 earlier Dec. 15 at MetLife. Should they return to New Jersey this season, it would be for the Super Bowl.

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