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I served in the US Navy from 2002-08; four of those years were as a Nuclear Propulsion Operator aboard an aircraft carrier. I engage in political activism in various Democratic circles when I am able to. I have a cat, and I am an uncle.

All opinions that I express are my own and do not reflect the views of any organization that I represent.

Sunday, February 6, 2011

WILL THE METROPLEX SEE ANOTHER SUPER BOWL ANYTIME SOON?







During the week leading up to Super Bowl XLV, there were talks that the Cowboys would submit a bid to host Super Bowl L in 2016.

That game would be the fiftieth game in the Super Bowl series. The league would like the host the game at event that is high profile and has meaning to the league.

New Orleans has significance hosting the game nine times, six of them in the Louisiana Superdome. The last Super Bowl in New Orleans was the Patriots upset victory over the Rams in Super Bowl XXXVI. However, they are slated to host Super Bowl XLVII two years from now. It hasn’t stopped the league from hosting a game in the same spot with three years in between. On several occasions the leagues has hosted a Super Bowl in the same site within in a three year period. The last time the Super Bowl was held in the same location in back-to-back years was II and III when the game was held in Miami.

Miami is the location of a record ten Super Bowls: five played in the Orange Bowl (currently the site of the Florida Miami Marlins new baseball stadium), and five played at Joe Robbie Pro Player Dolphin Sun Life Stadium. Super Bowl III was the location of Joe Namath’s guarantee and victory over the heavily favored Baltimore Colts which legitimized the upstart American Football League prior to 1970 merger and gave the game the credential it needed to become the premier sporting event in the United States.

Los Angeles has entered the argument because the Los Angeles Coliseum was the site of the Inaugural National Football League-American Football League Championship Game…. Later to be known as Super Bowl I, and the site of the 1972 Miami Dolphins capping their perfect 17-0 season. Los Angeles is seen as a contender to host the game, but the city has two major issues going against them.

The first issue is a viable site to host the game. While the Los Angeles Coliseum has been the home field for the University of Southern California Trojans, a professional college team based in the Pac-10 Pac-12 Conference, and has the capacity to host a Super Bowl, the stadium has been in existence since May 1, 1923. Renovating the stadium has been a contentious debate in California. To get the stadium with the necessary entities to host a Super Bowl, such as luxury boxes, it would require a massive renovation project similar to what took place at Soldier Field in 2002.

Doing so would do two things: one, require funding most likely from the tax payers, which California is in the same boat as Texas when it comes to a budget shortfall. And two, it would strip the Coliseum of its landmark status which is what happened to Soldier Field when it underwent its renovation project in 2002.

The Rose Bowl is being proposed as a site for a potential Los Angeles Super Bowl. Even though it has hosted three BS BCS Championship games since the inception of this incredibly ridiculous system that the only way for a school like TCU to make the Championship Game is to go undefeated AND hope for one of the other schools that plays in one of the six BCS Conferences to lose during the regular season instead of matching up the Top 12 teams in a playoff system the BCS Era in 1998, it is not seen as a viable Super Bowl location. The last time the Rose Bowl held a Super Bowl was after the 1992 season in January 1993 when the Dallas Cowboys demolished the Buffalo Bills, 59-17 52-17.


So, if renovating a current stadium is out of the picture, the other option is to do what Jerry Jones did: build a multi-million dollar edifice, which brings me to my second point:

When was the last time the NFL played a game in the Los Angeles metropolitan area?

December 24, 1994

Two games were taking place on the day before Christmas in Los Angeles: Redskins at Rams, Chiefs at Raiders.

Both home teams lost.

The last time Los Angeles went without professional football was 1945, the season before the Rams moved west from Cleveland.

Los Angeles has two plans in place to build a stadium. One plan is a stadium in the city of Industry and the other is a proposed stadium near the Staples Center in downtown called Farmers Field. All of these are efforts to attract an NFL franchise and other premiere events to Los Angeles. Having an NFL franchise would strengthen the Los Angeles argument build a new stadium, but it appears that both criterions for the NFL to return to Los Angeles are mutual. If a stadium is built, a team will show up; or a team commits to Los Angeles THEN a new stadium is built. The question is which team will relocate to Los Angeles. Relocating a franchise can be a sensitive issue… just ask cities of Baltimore when the Colts left in the night for Indianapolis or Cleveland when Art Modell took the Browns players to Baltimore.

Or, the NFL could do what the NBA did with the All Star Game when it was played in Las Vegas a couple of seasons ago: go ahead and reward the city with the Super Bowl.

So…. The case for the Metroplex in February 2016?

Even though Cowboys Stadium has the capacity to hold a large crowd, there are some issues that the cities of Dallas-Fort Worth-Arlington-Irving-etc. need to confront.

While the winter weather event is outside of the normal for the Metroplex at this time of year, it has shown that the area despite taking notes from Miami, New Orleans, Phoenix, and Tampa is quite amateur. Many of the NFL events were spread out across the area. The game was held in Arlington while ESPN held its broadcasting events in Fort Worth and the NFL Experience was in Dallas. The Steelers, stayed in Fort Worth and practiced at TCU; while the Packers had to travel between their Irving hotel and Highland Park for their practices.

It appears that the Super Bowl hosting committee did not take the unpredictable Texas weather into account. It was around this time in 2010 that almost a foot of snow was dumped on the Metroplex. A tent collapsed at the Cotton Bowl, luckily there was no one inside. Even though the major highways within the area were cleared of ice and snow, there were still parts of the Metroplex that were treacherous. Packers and Steelers fans that traveled from Wisconsin and Pennsylvania have been heard asking, “Haven’t you people heard of salt?” Then there was the avalanche of ice and snow that slid off Cowboys Stadium and injured six people performing pre-game maintenance outside of the stadium on the Friday before the game. All of those people have been treated and released from local hospitals.

Then there is the issue of the roving blackouts… Because of the severity of the cold snap (negatives up in the Panhandle), the electric grid across the state of Texas had to resort to roving blackouts in order to conserve power. I will save that for another rant. If you looked at a map of which parts of the Metroplex experienced a roving blackout, none of the dots were on Downtown Dallas, Downtown Fort Worth, and Arlington.

Makes you think, huh…

While mentioning the roads, even though Interstate 30 has undergone a drastic improvement, many of the other roads in the Metroplex such as Interstate 35W, Loop 820, and Airport Freeway are in an urgent need of improvement. There are projects in place to improve those roads within the next five to seven years. There is also the issue of a public mass transit program. While Dallas and Fort Worth have their own transit systems, neither DART nor The T reaches Arlington on a regular basis.

Already there are comparisons to the last time a major southern Metropolis held a Super Bowl that was impacted by a sudden winter storm during the week leading up to the game: Atlanta in January 2000 during the lead up to Super Bowl XXXIV (that was a good game, by the way). Number of Super Bowls held in Atlanta since then? Zero

The locations I see being the favorite to host Super Bowl L are Miami and New Orleans. I am also going to throw in two wild cards: Los Angeles and Phoenix. We’ll review this prediction in a few years when the NFL announces the site for that game.

Despite having a state of the art stadium, the Metroplex has a lot of logistical issues it needs to resolve before considering hosting another Super Bowl. Five years is a lot of time to fix the issues, but I do not see the NFL awarding Super Bowl L to North Texas.

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