The last time Atlanta hosted the Super Bowl was in Y2K, the year 2000, and the Super Bowl week was especially noted for Atlanta’s awful weather. Two ice storms crippled parts of the city and complicated travel for visiting NFL teams and fans.
Here are some things to know about the year some dubbed the “Ice Bowl” Super Bowl 34, on Jan. 30, 2000, at the Georgia Dome.
The first ice storm that week hit on Sunday, Jan. 23, 2000, a week before the game and the day the NFL teams were playing their conference championships. The storm caused widespread power outages affecting nearly a half-million people throughout the state, according to an AJC article.
Winter weather was widespread that week. A snow storm on Tuesday, Jan. 24, closed airports in Washington, Boston, Richmond, Raleigh, Philadelphia and Portland, Maine, according to The AJC.
The second ice storm hit on Friday, Jan. 28, and Saturday, Jan. 29, causing scattered power outages, delaying flights into Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport and making driving dangerous because of ice on the roads. The winter storm in Atlanta was part of a system that brought snow and ice to Tennessee, Mississippi and Alabama. Birmingham recorded an estimated 4 inches of snow by Friday morning, while northwestern Alabama had up to 6 inches.
Ahead of the second storm, home improvement stores braced for a run on emergency supplies. Lowe's, for example, restocked generators, firewood and ice melt after selling more than 2,000 generators earlier in the week, a company spokesman told the newspaper.
The weather complicated practices before the Super Bowl. The St. Louis Rams canceled a Saturday practice at the Georgia Dome the day before the big game, after state troopers said the roads were too icy for safe driving. The Tennessee Titans also skipped a visit to the Dome, instead using an outdoor tent to review their plays, according to an AJC article.
The weather also complicated travel for fans arriving from St. Louis, Memphis and Nashville, as airlines canceled or postponed flights into Atlanta. Flights were also rescheduled by the weather at airports in Tennessee. The weather dampened sales for outdoor vendors around the Georgia Dome in the days before the game.
In the end, the game happened. The Rams beat the Titans 23-16 in a game that was closer than the score implied. Then-Gov. Roy Barnes was reported to be upbeat. After the game, Barnes was quoted as saying he talked to then-NFL Commissioner Paul Tagliabue and reported the commissioner was impressed with how Atlanta adjusted to the awful weather.
But it was 16 years after that, in 2016, before Atlanta was selected to host a Super Bowl again, Super Bowl 53, happening this week.
This article was compiled by Brian O’Shea, firstname.lastname@example.org, from articles in the AJC archives.
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