Super Bowl Vote: Stadium Deficiencies Likely Kept South Florida From Landing Game
The NFL owners yesterday "didn't merely snub South Florida twice in a matter of minutes" by voting to give Super Bowls L and LI to S.F. and Houston, respectively, but they also signaled Sun Life Stadium is "no longer a viable site for the league’s premier game," according to Craig Davis of the South Florida SUN-SENTINEL. Both games were "awarded on the first vote," the first time that has occurred in several years. South Florida Super Bowl Bid Committee Chair Rodney Barreto put the "responsibility on members of the Miami-Dade legislative delegation who helped scuttle the recent stadium funding bill in the Florida House of Representatives." Barreto said, "I think there are a couple state reps in Miami-Dade that are going to look in the mirror tonight and regret what they’ve done to Miami. The Super Bowl probably ain’t coming back for another 10 years.” Dolphins Owner Stephen Ross said, "I’ve been saying for a while that we need to do something to our stadium. I think everybody in that room would rather be in Miami in February than they would anywhere else in the country. I think nobody knows how to host a Super Bowl better than Miami.” NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell: “I had a couple of owners that did express to me privately that the condition of the stadium was an important factor in their vote.” Davis notes South Florida, which has hosted a record 10 Super Bowls, "apparently will join San Diego as an appealing warm-weather destination with a stadium considered unsuitable for the game" (South Florida SUN-SENTINEL, 5/22). The NFL has to invite cities to make formal Super Bowl bids, and Barreto following Tuesday’s votes said, "I don’t know why they would invite us back next year." Dolphins CEO Mike Dee: "It's hard to overcome having the oldest facility that regularly competes now for Super Bowls" (PALM BEACH POST, 5/22).
A STUNNING TURNAROUND: In N.Y., Judy Battista writes the fact South Florida was "viewed by owners as a less-than-serious contender for the two future games was a stunning turnaround from the results that were forecast a few weeks ago, when Miami was considered the favorite to host the 50th game." But that was "before a plan to hold a local referendum on the use of tax dollars and rebates to pay for stadium renovations collapsed" (N.Y. TIMES, 5/22). NFL Network's Rick Eisen noted the "animosity" in Miami-Dade County "towards building new facilities just sunk the bid." NFL Net's Steve Wyche said, "Let's see if the South Florida Super Bowl Committee goes back to the voters, to the city, and says, 'Look what happened now. We could be out of the rotation'" (NFL Net, 5/21). Pro Football Talk's Mike Florio said, "The NFL had made it clear that to get the Super Bowl back in South Florida, that stadium needs to be upgraded and renovated" ("PFT," NBC Sports Network, 5/21). Goodell: "I can tell you that I think the stadium is a very important part of any of these proposals. The condition of the stadium is a factor. I think it's the stadium, at the end of the day. Their proposal was really quite exciting. I think owners would like to be in Miami. But it's competitive right now" (AP, 5/21). In Ft. Lauderdale, Daniel Vasquez writes under the header, "Shame On Florida Lawmaker For Throwing Away Miami Dolphins Super Bowl Bid" (South Florida SUN-SENTINEL, 5/22).
SENDING A MESSAGE: In Miami, Armando Salguero writes yesterday's vote sends a "chilling message that perhaps Miami has lost its prized status as a recurring host within the Super Bowl rotation." Miami will see a "minimum eight-year hiatus from the game," and it is "possible that gap between games may widen if the NFL continues to award games to cities that build new stadiums." Atlanta and Minneapolis both are planning for new stadiums, and Dallas and Indianapolis "plan to continue bidding on games after building new facilities that won Super Bowl bids and successfully hosted games" (MIAMI HERALD, 5/22). NFL Network’s Eric Davis said the "biggest headline" from yesterday's votes is that South Florida will not be in the Super Bowl rotation "for a while.” Davis: "I am one that personally believes that Miami should be in heavy rotation. ... You should have it looping all the time and it should jump in there." But the league is telling the Dolphins the "infrastructure of your stadium ... better be up to date.” He added Miami is a "great city to host it, but the stadium has to be able to house it." NFL Net's Mark Kriegel said, "Tradition is nice, but if you don’t build it, we won’t come. That’s essentially the message" ("NFL AM," NFL Net, 5/22).
NEEDING SOME HELP: NFL Network's Jeff Darlington said it is "going to be a very difficult process" for the Dolphins as they attempt to garner public funds to help renovate Sun Life Stadium. Ross was "willing to put up 70 percent of private funding" for the renovations prior to the legislature not voting on the bill, and he "does not plan on spending" 100% of the money required ("NFL Total Access," NFL Net, 5/21). Ross said, "I can't do it alone. I think I went out further than any owner has ever gone out in offering to a city to really put up money and deliver a new, modernized stadium. I think I'm going to have to do it with local people. I think they'll realize that in Miami, the weather alone won’t bring Super Bowls and other marquee events" (NFL Network, 5/21).