NEW YORK — It is a rare occasion when the governor of Colorado isn't the most popular figure in a room packed with Broncos fans.

Shoot, on Friday night, John Hickenlooper wasn't even the most popular John in the room. At a private party inside Jay-Z's 40/40 nightclub in Manhattan, John Elway shook more hands than a campaigning politician. Super Bowl XLVIII is Sunday.

The governor might be political royalty; The Duke is Broncos royalty. There's still a pecking order around here. And the governor — a blue- (and orange-) blooded Broncomaniac along with the rest of the state — is absolutely cool with that.

"How are you feeling about the game?" Hickenlooper asked.

That was the next question, Mr. Governor.

"Oh, I can't reveal my prediction," Hickenlooper told The Gazette. "I didn't predict the San Diego (playoff) game. I didn't predict the New England game. I won't predict the Super Bowl.

"It's worked so far."

The first Super Bowl in the New York/New Jersey area is working like a dream.

After months of anxiety over the first outdoor Super Bowl in a cold-weather climate, sunshine finally warmed temperatures into the high 40s on Saturday. The forecast for Sunday's 4:25 p.m. game at MetLife Stadium looks quite nice: 40s, a slight breeze, overcast skies and no snow.

The weekend warm-up followed a frigid January.

"That was the coldest month we've seen in many years," NBC New York meteorologist Raphael Miranda said Friday.

Who says God's not a Broncos fan?

A blustery, snowy Super Bowl almost certainly would have worked in favor of the Seahawks.

"The Broncos are weatherproof," Broncos lineman and Air Force graduate Ben Garland said.

For much of the week, it seemed New York-area citizens didn't realize they were hosting the big game. The city's always bustling; Super Bowl week felt the same.

That changed when Times Square was shut down to traffic and dubbed Super Bowl Boulevard, complete with TV stages, concerts and the revelry of a Mardi Gras. Thousands of fans shouted competing chants of "Go Broncos!" and "Go Hawks!"

"Hey, isn't that Kevin Costner?" one woman said. She wore a Peyton Manning jersey.

"The Super Bowl is everything you hear about," said Broncos lineman Mitch Unrein, another Colorado native, from Eaton. "Actually, it's even bigger than what they say."

Denver Mayor Michael Hancock hosted Friday night's event and dubbed it "Broncos Bash." The entire Super Bowl week — nay, the entire season — has been a Broncos bash.

Will the party end in a parade?


Twitter: @Klee_Gazette