NEW YORK The weather forecast for Sunday's Super Bowl in New Jersey is getting better by the day, alleviating fears the biggest game in American professional sports could be spoiled by Mother Nature.
Players and spectators at MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford will still have to bundle up with temperatures expected to be around freezing point but chances of a major winter storm were quickly disappearing.
On Wednesday, four days before the Denver Broncos and Seattle Seahawks clash in the NFL's title game, meteorologists were predicting game-day temperatures would reach a high of 44 Fahrenheit (6.6 Celsius) and a low of 27F (minus 2.7C).
They said the sky would be partly cloudy with a 20 percent chance of rain or snow and light winds, of around six-to-eight miles an hour (10-13 km/h).
The early forecasts will come as a welcome relief to the National Football League who broke with tradition by deciding to stage the game in an outdoor stadium in a cold-weather region.
The NFL had prepared a range of contingency plans to deal with any weather problems from having snow melters on site that can melt 600 metric tonnes (661 tons) of snow an hour to the possibility of staging the game on a different day.
Earlier this month, their fears were intensifying when the U.S. East Coast was hit by a polar vortex that produced some of the coldest weather in years.
Tons of snow were dumped on New Jersey, forcing businesses and schools to close and the cancellation of thousands of flights around the country.
Officials have been putting on a brave face. Earlier this week, Woody Johnson, the owner of the New York Jets and the co-chairman of the Super Bowl host committee, said he would even welcome a little snow.
"A nice sunny day with a little snow flurry would be nice," he told a news conference.
"I want to compliment the other 30 owners for giving us the privilege to host this and to break the ice barrier and play it in an environment where I think football should be played - outside, in the weather."
The weather has been one of the dominant topics of conversation in the build-up to the game although both teams have said they were prepared for anything and unfazed by the prospect of playing in snow.
"We're kind of weatherproof," said Denver head coach John Fox. "We live in an area where we've had all the elements. We've played in single digit.
"We've played in snow. We've played in wind. Like both teams, you've got to manage the elements."
(Editing by Frank Pingue)