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Deep Freeze Pursues Packers, Steelers

The NFL is sticking to its Super Bowl schedule Tuesday despite an ice storm that has struck the Dallas area.

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Mark Sanchez

MSN reports that NFL spokesman Greg Aiello sent out a Twitter message saying media activities at Cowboys Stadium will go on as planned. Both the Green Bay Packers and the Pittsburgh Steelers are scheduled to be available for one hour for the hundreds of reporters in town for this weekend’s game.

Aiello tweeted: ”The show goes on. Media day is on schedule. Drive carefully. The stadium roof is closed.”

Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport has closed early Tuesday, finally opening again at about 9:15 a.m. ET. A wintry blast of ice, blustery winds and plummeting temperatures closed schools and snarled traffic.

Super Bowl week in Texas isn’t turning out to be all that much different for the Green Bay Packers: They might even practice indoors leading to Sunday’s game against the Pittsburgh Steelers.

”Sorry we brought the weather with us,” Green Bay coach Mike McCarthy said Monday after his team arrived in the Dallas area.

The storm was expected to dump more than a foot of snow on parts of the Midwest and bring freezing rain and bone-chilling cold to parts of Texas on Tuesday and Wednesday. There’s a chance of light snow off and on this week.

The forecast for Sunday is much better — highs in the 50s — but Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers didn’t want to take any chances. He said he hoped the roof of Cowboys Stadium in Arlington, the billion-dollar showplace of Jerry Jones, would be closed for the game. The NFL decided a long time ago that it will be.

”I’m hoping they put the top on Jerry World, and I think they will,” Rodgers said.

The National Weather Service advised Wisconsin travelers bound for Texas to wait until Wednesday evening, with up to 20 inches of snow forecast for the Milwaukee area.

One Packers fan actually moved up his departure. John O’Neill, known as St. Vince because he wears a green bishop’s outfit and a mitre with Vince Lombardi’s face on it to home games, was driving to Dallas this week because of the weather warnings.

”If you’re going to make the journey the worst thing you can do is shortchange yourself,” said O’Neill, 58.

Don Zuidmulder of Green Bay said he wasn’t worried about weather affecting his flight Thursday.

”As long as I have 18 hours I’m going to get there,” said Zuidmulder, 68, undaunted by the 950-mile trip. ”I’ll crawl if I have to.”

Weather service meteorologist Jesse Moore said the sharpest cold, driven by northern winds up to 25 mph that could drop wind chill readings below zero, will come Wednesday.

”I’m keeping my fingers crossed and hoping for the best,” said Tracy Gilmour, spokeswoman for Sundance Square, an outdoor venue in downtown Fort Worth that is one of the broadcasting hubs and just a few blocks from the Steelers’ hotel. ”We’re going to keep the party going as best we can.”

Most Super Bowl trips are sold in four-day packages, and forecasts for Thursday are better in Texas and the participating cities. One travel agent in Pittsburgh said her agency had no weather-related changes among about 20 bookings because the forecast was good for Thursday, Friday and Saturday, when most clients were leaving.

”If that changes, we’re in trouble,” said Nancy Buncher of Gulliver’s Travels.

The Texas Department of Transportation brought in extra equipment from around the state for road work, including snow plows that are normally busy in the colder Texas Panhandle, said Val Lopez, an agency spokesman.

”It’s really not any different than if we had a hurricane,” Lopez said. ”In past years, with hurricanes we’ve been asked to help the coastal areas. This is kind of the reverse of that.”

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