U.S. Fans Abound For WWC Final LeBron Praised For Role In Apatow's "Trainwreck" MLS Eyeing St. Paul For Expansion Club Angels Bad PR Continues With Dipoto Exit NBA Free Agency Begins With Money Flying Expectations High For NASCAR On NBC NBC Lands New Advertisers For Race Coverage Going Off The Grid Steelers Exploring '23 Super Bowl Bid GT To Benefit Financially From Ireland Game
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The Giants and Jets are the "overwhelming favorites" to be awarded Super Bowl XLVIII at the New Meadowlands Stadium when NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell announces the winning bid this afternoon "thanks to a confluence of events that began five years ago before really picking up steam just three months ago," according to Bart Hubbuch of the N.Y. POST. The "hugely influential backing of Goodell and the misfortune of competing bids in Arizona, Miami and South Florida can't be denied," but much of the credit for the bid's "strong standing" goes to Jets Owner Woody Johnson and Giants co-Owners John Mara and Steve Tisch. The Jets and Giants "have a long history of bickering," but the owners "put that disdain aside and worked smoothly together to bring one of the world's most popular sporting events ... to a place where few in the NFL ever dreamed possible." The idea of hosting the '14 Super Bowl at the Meadowlands "sounded ludicrous to many around the league and still seems that way to some, but there is no denying the momentum that built in recent months to put New York on the brink of this historical moment" (N.Y. POST, 5/23). ESPN N.Y.'s Rich Cimini wrote the Giants and Jets bid "probably won't happen on the first or second ballot ... but the feeling around the league is that New York/New Jersey has enough support to win on the third or fourth ballot" (ESPNNEWYORK.com, 5/24). NFL Network's Jason La Canfora noted the South Florida and Tampa bids "have merit, but there is such a momentum, such a feeling that this is in the air." La Canfora: "Commissioner Goodell stands firmly behind it. Generally when he has thrown his support behind something, we’ve seen it come to fruition" ("NFL Total Access," NFL Network, 5/24).
Kraft Reportedly Plans To Lobby Owners
For Votes For Giants/Jets Bid
KRAFT A BIG FAN OF BID: In N.Y., Gary Myers reported Patriots Owner Robert Kraft "plans to lobby owners for their vote in the meeting room." Kraft "told the Maras and Tischs he will do whatever he can to help," and he told Johnson the "same thing." Kraft said that he is "not doing this with the idea this game will set outdoor cold-weather precedent so he will get a Super Bowl" at Gillette Stadium, rather he is "doing it for New York, a city he loves" (N.Y. DAILY NEWS, 5/23). Kraft: "I'm a big supporter of having the Super Bowl in New York. It doesn't matter what the weather is. It's a great place. It's a great boost for the city. It's a reward to the people and fans of New York." In Boston, Albert Breer wrote, "You can see where Kraft might see a potential door opening. ... What'll be just as interesting as the seemingly inevitable decision to award the game to the Meadowlands is what the commish has to say about the impact of the decision, and whether or not he closes [the] door on cold-weather Super Bowls in the future" (BOSTON.com, 5/22). But Kraft added, "We're going to want to see how this one goes before committing (to Super Bowls in cold, open-air venues) beyond New York" (N.Y. POST, 5/25). More Kraft: "I personally like having games played outdoors. I think the greatest game in our history, except for the three Super Bowls we won, was the snow game here." Kraft also supports the Giants/Jets bid because he "appreciates what it took to erect the new billion-dollar-plus stadium" (BOSTON HERALD, 5/23).
OTHER PROMINENT SUPPORTERS: Cowboys Owner Jerry Jones said he is a "proponent" of a cold-weather Super Bowl. Jones: "The very nature of Super Bowl elements can be -- it doesn't have to be but it can be -- a common factor in how the season unfolds. So why can't it be a factor in how the ultimate champion is determined?" (FT. WORTH STAR-TELEGRAM, 5/25). Broncos Owner Pat Bowlen: "It would be a great one-time thing. I personally love New York. I think it's a great place. I would imagine other owners feel the same way" (N.Y. DAILY NEWS, 5/25). Meanwhile, the four U.S. Sens. from New York and New Jersey -- Charles Schumer (D-NY), Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY), Robert Menendez (D-NJ) and Frank Lautenberg (D-NJ) -- "wrote a letter to Goodell on Monday endorsing a possible New York-area Super Bowl." The letter read in part, "As the nation's most populous metro area with more than 19 million people, and as the nation's top media market, the fanfare of the Super Bowl would be uniquely enhanced by the vibrancy that the region has to offer" (WASHINGTON POST, 5/25).
Many Consider New Meadowlands Stadium
A Virtual Lock For 2014 Super Bowl
FULL-SCALE COVERAGE: The DAILY NEWS' Myers wrote "another clue that this is a virtual lock" is that NFL Network is scheduled to "broadcast the Super Bowl selection show live" at 3:00pm ET today. Myers: "The network needs programming, but it's not likely they would air a 90-minute special to announce that Miami is getting the game for the 10th time or Tampa for the fifth time. The league did not waive its 50-degree weather requirement so it can vote down New York" (N.Y. DAILY NEWS, 5/23). On Long Island, Neil Best notes NFL Network "has been touting live, 90-minute coverage surrounding the announcement, with a host, two analysts and three reporters, one for each bidding city." Best: "Funny, I don't recall that sort of show for last year's news that New Orleans would host the 2013 Super Bowl" (NEWSDAY, 5/25). ESPN.com's John Clayton wrote, "The fact that the league is turning the vote into a mini-game show tells you the Super Bowl is probably heading to the New York area. They didn't have a Super Bowl selection show when South Florida and Tampa ... made their successful bids in past years" (ESPN.com, 5/20).
LEVERAGE FOR NAMING RIGHTS? In N.Y., Manish Mehta writes a winning bid for the Super Bowl would "provide the Jets and Giants some much-needed leverage in their ongoing search for a naming-rights sponsor for the new stadium." Their asking price has "dipped to below" $20M annually, but the "prestige of landing the Super Bowl ... may help accelerate the process and raise the asking price." Johnson: "I don't know if it will definitely speed up the process, but it definitely can't hurt. That might be an indirect benefit. It's hard to quantify what the value will be for a naming rights sponsor. But I think that certainly has some value." Mara: "It would be an attractive feature for a potential naming rights partner. It also creates a certain amount of excitement about the building, which I think -- in an indirect way -- can help spur sales of suites and club seats and sponsorships." Mehta notes the Dolphins "capitalized on hosting" Super Bowl XLIV this year by securing a five-year, $37.5M naming-rights agreement with Sun Life Financial in January (N.Y. DAILY NEWS, 5/25). The N.Y. POST's Hubbuch reports the Jets' "inability to sell PSLs and the lack of success by both the Jets and Giants in landing a title sponsor for their new stadium hasn't gone unnoticed by other NFL owners." Kraft yesterday said that the "struggles on both of those fronts are a big reason why the joint Jets-Giants bid is expected to get" Super Bowl XLVIII (N.Y. POST, 5/25). ESPN.com's Clayton: "The cold, hard facts are how much having a New York Super Bowl would help the sale of premium seats at the expensive new Meadowlands stadium" (ESPN.com, 5/20).
MAKE IT HAPPEN: In Philadelphia, Michael Smerconish wrote the NFL "should play its biggest game on the world's biggest stage," as it is a "way to make a little history by invoking its history." Smerconish: "More than anything, it makes perfect football sense" (PHILADELPHIA INQUIRER, 5/23). In N.Y., Mike Lupica wrote, "If the NFL is finally going to play a cold-weather Super Bowl outdoors, it has to be here. ... Biggest game, biggest stage. Let everybody else worry about the weather" (N.Y. DAILY NEWS, 5/24). NFL.com's Vic Carucci wrote staging the Super Bowl at New Meadowlands Stadium is a "good idea." Carucci: "Super Bowls are supposed to be memorable. They're supposed to provide a fan experience that no other game can offer. ... Everything about the look, sound, and feel of the stadium says spectacle of the highest proportions" (NFL.com, 5/24).
Many Worry About Impact Of Weather
On Potential New York Super Bowl
YOU CAN'T PLEASE EVERYONE: The N.Y. POST's Hubbuch noted N.Y. "already is getting blasted by skeptics and the disgruntled in advance" of today's vote. Conspiracy theorists "abound as New York's competitors for Super Bowl XLVIII grumble about too much influence from ... Goodell causing the owners to unfairly coronate the joint Giants-Jets bid over Tampa and South Florida." The Tampa Tribune Sunday featured a headline reading, "Super Bowl Race Appears To Be Rigged For N.Y." (N.Y. POST, 5/24). In Minneapolis, Michael Rand writes, "Is this a disaster waiting to happen or the greatest thing ever? The answer: yes. In other words, it could be both of those things" (Minneapolis STAR TRIBUNE, 5/25). In New Orleans, John DeShazier writes under the header, "NFL Owners Should Just Say No To New York Super Bowl." DeShazier: "If the site of the Super Bowl isn't going to be determined by won-loss records, then sticking with the plan that gives the game the best chance to be played in the best conditions should be the preference. The marquee event should be given the best opportunity to be marquee" (New Orleans TIMES-PICAYUNE, 5/25). In Buffalo, Allen Wilson notes when former NFL Commissioner Pete Rozelle "created the Super Bowl, he preferred warm-weather, neutral sites for the league's showcase event." Holding the game in the "best possible conditions protects the quality of the game and ensures neither team has a weather advantage" (BUFFALO NEWS, 5/25). Boston Globe columnist Bob Ryan: "Placing the Super Bowl in New Jersey on a February night in 2014 is like planning a marathon in Saudi Arabia on high noon on an August day. You cannot be serious!" ("The Sports Reporters," ESPN, 5/23).
Dolphins' Dee Hopes Non-Football Factors
Help Super Bowl Return To Sun Life Stadium
South Florida and Tampa "face tough odds to prevent" the NFL from selecting New Meadowlands Stadium as the host site of Super Bowl XLVIII in '14, but Dolphins CEO Mike Dee said there is "still no better place to have a Super Bowl" than South Florida, according to Jarrett Bell of USA TODAY. No location "has staged as many Super Bowls as South Florida" -- five times each at the Orange Bowl and Sun Life Stadium -- and Dee said, "The fact that we've had 10 of the first 44 Super Bowls here, we certainly think the owners recognize that. But this is a new era." The South Florida bid for Super Bowl XLVIII would host the game at Sun Life Stadium, and "for what is lacking in a stadium, Dee hopes owners are swayed by other factors, including four airports within 140 miles, beaches, golf courses and an infrastructure and support network that has proved it can handle the Super Bowl." But Bell noted South Florida is "contending against the recent tradition of awarding Super Bowls to venues with new stadiums" -- Cowboys Stadium will host Super Bowl XLV in '11 and Lucas Oil Stadium will host Super Bowl XLVI in '12, followed by Super Bowl XLVII at a "renovated" Superdome in '13 (USA TODAY, 5/24). In Ft. Lauderdale, Sarah Talalay notes South Florida officials, if unsuccessful in winning the right to host Super Bowl XLVIII, "have vowed to bid for future Super Bowls, including in 2015 and 2016 -- which would mark the 50th anniversary of the Super Bowl" (South Florida SUN-SENTINEL, 5/25).
COULD A N.Y. WIN OPEN PANDORA'S BOX? SI.com's Peter King wrote there is "little doubt" the Giants and Jets will win the right to host the game. But King added, "Despite what the league says now about 'this is a special, one-time thing,' I doubt Pat Bowlen, who has wanted a Super Bowl for years in Denver, or Dan Snyder in Washington or Jeff Lurie in Philly or Bob Kraft in Foxboro would sit idly by while one northern city gets a Super Bowl." King: "I won't think of this as the 48th Super Bowl or Super Bowl XLVIII. I'll think of it as the Precedent Super Bowl" (SI.com, 5/24). ESPN's Colin Cowherd said having the Super Bowl in N.Y. is a "bad idea." Cowherd: "Does that mean all the other cold-weather cities (should host the game)? ... You're opening up Pandora's (Box) for all those cold-weather owners" ("SportsNation," ESPN2, 5/24). USA TODAY's Mike Lopresti writes the "ultimate sporting contest should strive for optimal conditions." Lopresti: "If they can try to de-ice the Super Bowl in the Meadowlands, why not Foxborough? Washington? Philadelphia? A bad habit, that would be" (USA TODAY, 5/25). Boston Globe columnist Bob Ryan: "I just think it goes against everything that the Super Bowl has come to stand for. I understand the business part of it, but I think it is a mistake." But ESPN.com's John Clayton said, "This does not open up a door, a precedent or anything else, because this is not a lawsuit" ("Mike & Mike in the Morning," ESPN Radio, 5/25). ESPN's Chris Mortensen doubted a Pandora's Box would be opened, as the "uniqueness of a one-time game is what's being pitched" ("NFL Live," ESPN, 5/24). Bears Chair Michael McCaskey: "New York is a unique situation because it's a two-team bid, and they're building a new and hugely expensive stadium" (CHICAGO SUN-TIMES, 5/25).
IF YOU BUILD IT, THEY WILL COME: ESPN.com's Tim Graham wrote the recent trend is "about rewarding teams that are able to get stunning new arenas built." The NFL "knows the only way to encourage all of its franchises to pursue new stadiums or significant upgrades is to ramp up competition for Super Bowl bids" (ESPN.com, 5/20). N.Y. Daily News reporter Tim Smith: “What has typically happened in the past is when a city builds a new stadium, they have gotten the Super Bowl. Detroit did it. Houston did it” ("Daily News Live," SportsNet N.Y., 5/24). Meanwhile, N.Y. Daily News reporter Bruce Murray said, “Let’s give everybody around the country another reason to hate New York. They built a stadium in Boston, they built one in Philadelphia, they built one in Washington, they built one in Chicago. ... And guess what? They’ve never come up in the conversation because they’re not New York” ("Loud Mouths," SportsNet N.Y., 5/24).
COWBOYS WANT BACK IN ON THE ACTION: ESPN DALLAS' Tim MacMahon reported the North Texas Super Bowl Committee's plan is to "make a pitch to bring the game back to Cowboys Stadium in 2016." Pro Football HOFer Roger Staubach, who serves as Chair of the committee, said that the North Texas committee "can't make a bid for another Super Bowl until after hosting its first this season," but he is "confident that the owners will be impressed by the presentation for the upcoming season's Super Bowl XLV" in the $1.2B stadium (ESPNDALLAS.com, 5/24). Staubach: "We're for sure going after 50." In Dallas, Todd Archer reported in order to "get into some sort of unofficial Super Bowl rotation, Super Bowl XLV will have to be a hit first." Staubach said that the goal "is to exceed expectations this time around" (DALLASNEWS.com, 5/24).