The Arizona Super Bowl Host Committee decided this week to drop its bid to host the 2014 Super Bowl, leaving the New York-area, South Florida and Tampa in the running.
Arizona’s decision to bow out has speculation rising that the new Meadowlands Stadium opening in New Jersey this year now has a lock on the 2014 game. NFL owners, after all, agreed to waive the temperature requirements for the game – a 50-degree average daily temperature or a domed climate-controlled venue – so the New York Jets and Giants could submit a joint bid to host the game.
Even NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell sounded bullish on the idea of an outdoor game in New York during his session with reporters during Super Bowl week earlier this month.
“I think there are real benefits to the league considering this as an option. I think the idea of playing in the elements is central to the way the game of football is played. I think being able to do that and celebrate the game of football in the number one market could have tremendous benefits to the league going forward,” Goodell said. “I think you will see that – I think our two co-chairmen are here, Woody Johnson and Jon Tisch – they will put together a very aggressive bid, one that will demonstrate the value of playing in New York and they will be competing against some great cities also. It will be an interesting vote, but I will stand on the sidelines and watch.”
Of course, a snowstorm wasn’t pounding the region then as it was Friday, when I asked South Florida Super Bowl Host Committee officials about Arizona dropping out and New York’s bid. South Florida hosted its record 10th Super Bowl on Feb. 7.
“They’ve got a real snowstorm going through New York right now. Planes can’t get in and out. It’s a great place for a Super Bowl,” said South Florida host committee member and former Miami Dolphin Dick Anderson, who is chairing a committee examining potential renovations for Sun Life Stadium to make it competitive for future Super Bowls. “In all seriousness, when you eliminate one competitor, there’s three instead of four. We still believe this is the best place to hold a Super Bowl.”
Anderson’s committee – a subcommittee of the host committee – is studying whether it makes sense for South Florida to continue hosting Super Bowls and if so, how to fund renovations that could include a partial roof over the seating stadium’s areas and replacing and reconfiguring the stadium so seats are closer to the field. Goodell has told South Florida officials the stadium needs to be kept state-of-the art to compete with newer, glitzier stadiums, such as Dallas' Cowboys Stadium, which is hosting next year’s Super Bowl.
“I think a cold weather stadium that has a dome would certainly have a much better chance than an open air stadium,” South Florida Super Bowl Host Committee Chairman Rodney Barreto said. “However, I don’t have a vote.”
NFL owners vote on the 2014 Super Bowl host site at their meeting in May.