January 29, 2012

Super Bowl bound to return, but when?

Super Bowl XLV was marred by ice, snow and a seating fiasco. Despite that, North Texas' first time as host is not expected to be the last.

Weather forecasters call for a Chamber of Commerce week in North Texas. If only the Super Bowl were in Arlington this year instead of last...

But North Texas will get another chance to shine, weather or not.

Super Bowl XLV was marred by ice, snow and a seating fiasco. Despite that, North Texas' first time as host is not expected to be the last.

"I think we'll definitely get another one here," Roger Staubach, chairman of the North Texas Super Bowl XLV Host Committee, said. "I don't know when. The NFL is more involved now in telling the cities when they can get in. I'm not sure. The process has changed a little bit, but we'll get another one here. It turned out to be a great venue. We had a little bad luck there with the seats, [but] that wasn't the host committee's [fault]."

Only hours before Green Bay and Pittsburgh took the field at Cowboys Stadium last year, Arlington fire officials and building inspectors deemed 1,250 of 13,000 temporary seats unsafe. Displaced fans, at least 400 of whom didn't get seats at all, last month filed an amended federal lawsuit that alleges fraud.

The league had offered several compensation packages, and 246 people accepted the offer to attend Super Bowl XLVI in Indianapolis.

The seating fiasco just added to what was a miserable week in North Texas with ice early, snow late and below-freezing temperatures most of the week. Two days before the game, seven people were injured by falling ice at Cowboys Stadium.

Atlanta has not gotten another Super Bowl since an ice storm paralyzed the city the week of Super Bowl XXXIV in 2000. It most recently bid for the 2009 Super Bowl.

But Atlanta doesn't have Cowboys Stadium.

The $1.2 billion stadium is the NFL's largest, which translated last year to the biggest financial payday for the league in Super Bowl history as face value for tickets was $800, $900 and $1,200. That's why everyone believes the big game will return to North Texas.

"The criticisms were obvious," Cowboys owner Jerry Jones said. "...But the NFL was impressed with North Texas, and there's no one that's even come close to the financial support of a Super Bowl as we did in North Texas, and I dare say, you won't see it again. Santa Claus doesn't put the tricycle under the Christmas tree. So everybody's very aware of it, and that's what helps.

"...North Texas can have a great Super Bowl."

The NFL lists official attendance to Super Bowl XLV at 91,060, but that omits the 12,159 credentialed personnel. Only the Rose Bowl in Pasadena, Calif., which has hosted five times, has drawn more fans.

Lucas Oil Stadium, which will host Super Bowl XLVI on Sunday, will seat only 68,000, including 5,000 temporary seats. It likely will be the fourth-smallest crowd in Super Bowl history.

So though North Texas will be the butt of many jokes this week, it, and not Indianapolis, is more likely to host another Super Bowl. The only question is: When?

North Texas had been expected to be a candidate for the 2016 Super Bowl, which is the 50th anniversary of the game, but that won't happen now.

New Orleans will host in 2013, New York in 2014 and Arizona in 2015. Los Angeles, even though the city doesn't have a team, could get Super Bowl L. The Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum hosted the first Super Bowl in 1967.

More likely, North Texas will get its second Super Bowl in 2017, '18 or '19. That's Staubach's best guess.

"We have a beautiful stadium, the people are so welcoming here and we do such a good job in preparing for a big event," Kit Sawers, the North Texas Super Bowl host committee vice president of special events, said. "I sure would love for us to get another Super Bowl."

Charean Williams


Twitter: @NFLCharean

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