Houston Basking In Super Bowl Afterglow, While Minnesota Is Officially Put On The Clock
Super Bowl week for the city of Houston was a "stuff-strutting moment, more than three years in the making, according to a front-page piece by Jenny Deam of the HOUSTON CHRONICLE. Houston Super Bowl Host Committee Senior Dir of Media Relation Kevin Cooper said, "We stepped up to the plate and knocked it out of the park." Deam notes there were 140,000 "out-of-state visitors," and 1.3 million people over nine days attending downtown events at Discovery Green and the NFL Experience at the George R. Brown Convention Center. Some 180,000 passengers yesterday were "expected to move through Houston's two main airports." But "even before the first snap of Sunday's game," the "methodical disassembly of stages and scaffolding at Discovery Green" had begun (HOUSTON CHRONICLE, 2/7). The HOUSTON CHRONICLE's Dug Begley noted city rail use "skyrocketed to 109,500 trips on Feb. 4 as people moved around the area for festivities." On a "typical Saturday, Houston's rail system rarely carries more than 30,000 people." But for the 10-day period around the Super Bowl, Metropolitan Transit Authority officials estimate they "handled 680,100 trips by rail and another 26,700 via shuttle buses." On Sunday, the rail system "handled 70,400 trips, most to and from NRG Stadium." A "typical Sunday for Metro rail use is about 20,000 to 23,000 trips, depending on weather and other factors" (HOUSTON CHRONICLE, 2/7).
TURNING ATTENTION TO MINNESOTA: In Minneapolis, Rochelle Olson reports the Super Bowl LII host committee officially took over yesterday with a ceremony in Houston, with members of the media "treated to a series of video snippets" from Minnesota sports figures and other celebrities saying, "Welcome to Minnesota." The videos included an appearance by T'Wolves C Karl-Anthony Towns as well as "doctors at the Mayo Clinic to Paul Bunyan, Snoopy, Sid Hartman and, finally, former Vikings Coach Bud Grant." Among the Minnesota "duties in the coming year: securing dozens of venues for parties, events, work space, staging and security" (Minneapolis STAR TRIBUNE, 2/7). In St. Paul, Chris Tomasson notes there are 35 clocks "throughout the Twin Cities and the state counting down in seconds to Super Bowl LII’s kickoff," and bridges yesterday were "lit throughout Minnesota to commemorate the state being next in line to play host to the big game." Vikings co-Owner & President Mark Wilf said, "We’ve got all the confidence that as high of a bar that Houston set, Minnesota will exceed it.” Tomasson notes committee members claim to be in "good shape a year away from the game." Minnesota Super Bowl Host Committee CEO Maureen Bausch: "The NFL has told us we’re ahead of schedule. We’re hoping that they’re not just being nice" (ST. PAUL PIONEER PRESS, 2/7). In Minneapolis, Jim Souhan writes the city has to "prove that the Super Bowl isn’t too big for it to handle." Houston is America’s "fourth-largest city," a "massive urban sprawl, and yet downtown Houston often felt too small to handle the week’s many events." Minneapolis is "much smaller than Houston," and the city’s footprint will be "further reduced by the threat of frostbite" (Minneapolis STAR TRIBUNE, 2/7).