Grading the field: Potential Super Bowl L hosts
With the successful 46th Super Bowl in the rear-view mirror, the NFL in coming months has a major decision to make: Where to play the highly anticipated 50th rendition of the game, in 2016.
Despite the snafus that greatly affected last year’s game in North Texas, Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones said this month he is strongly considering bidding for the 2016 game, the next one in line to be awarded.
“Absolutely,” Jones responded when asked at this year’s Super Bowl if the region might seek the iconic 50th game. He then reeled of all the positives from last year’s game — near-record attendance, for example — omitting the weather and seating problems that dogged the event.
The NFL traditionally awards Super Bowl sites at its May meeting. Games through 2015 have been awarded, with New Orleans, New York and Arizona hosting the coming three Super Bowls, respectively. If the league were to target that May meeting this year for selection of the Super Bowl L host, that would means bids for 2016 would have to come in by March or April, and the league said it has yet to send out requests for proposals.
According to a league spokesman, “There’s no policy or rule that dictates it has to be done at that meeting.” But, the spokesman continued, if requests for proposals went out in the coming weeks, “there could be a vote in May.”
There has been some talk in past years about hosting the game in Los Angeles, site of the first Super Bowl in 1967, but given the long-running sluggishness of efforts to return the sport to that city, that scenario seems unlikely at the moment.
Speaking of long odds, the Miami Dolphins plan to spearhead a drive to win the game for South Florida. The NFL has made it clear that the team’s Sun Life Stadium home needs significant renovations to be considered for future Super Bowls.
“We have to go with the facilities we have,” said Mike Dee, Dolphins president. Asked who the competition is, Dee replied, “Dallas will bid, New Orleans … you got the new facility in San Francisco, Tampa two years in a row just fell short. Competition has never been greater.”
Tampa most recently bid for the 2015 Super Bowl, which Arizona secured.
The San Francisco 49ers are scheduled to move into their new facility in 2014 or 2015, and the league has often awarded Super Bowls to cities with new facilities — witness the Indianapolis game this year.
Indianapolis was considered such a success that municipal leaders, sources said, are already considering a bid for another game.
Santa Clara, Calif.
Cons: Not many. The NFL may want to award the game to one of its more-traditional host cities, and a Super Bowl here would also be quite spread out, stretching from Santa Clara to San Francisco.
Cons: The game will have just been in New Orleans three years earlier (2013). The league prefers more spacing.
Cons: The NFL is still feeling the effects of the 2011 fiasco, with a federal lawsuit pending against the team and league for seating problems. The region also would have to prove it can be better prepared for weather emergencies.
Odds: Average (It would be worse, but it may be hard for
Pros: Warm weather, has hosted the fourth-most Super Bowls at four and has lost several recent bids, so it could be seen as next in line.
Cons: Downtown Tampa, hardly glamorous, may not be seen as the iconic destination for the 50th game.
Pros: One of the favorite Super Bowl destinations for visitors.
Cons: The NFL has all but ruled out more Super Bowls here until the stadium is renovated.
Pros: All hail, Indy, the upstart Super Bowl host that blew the
Cons: While Indy certainly appears ready to now bid for another game, it may be too quick a turnaround to get ready for a bid in the coming months. Also, the city will have to address the issue of hotel price gouging, a concern certain to be even more pronounced for the 50th game.
Cons: Unless there is a new stadium and team here, this seems unlikely. While those developments could occur by 2016, the league is likely to award the game in the coming months.
Cons: Hard to imagine owners giving up the opportunity to host this game. If the NFL won’t put Super Bowls in cities with unresolved stadium issues, how does it put the historic 50th game in one without an NFL team (see L.A.)?
Odds: Extremely remote