Gil LeBreton

After XLV, nothing Super to report in North Texas

University of Phoenix Stadium in suburban Glendale, Ariz., will host Super Bowl XLIX on Sunday.
University of Phoenix Stadium in suburban Glendale, Ariz., will host Super Bowl XLIX on Sunday. AP

No longer is it easy to say what makes a city a great Super Bowl host.

Sunshine and shirt-sleeve temperatures were once presumed to be a requirement, but New York/New Jersey showed last year that bright lights and no flurries on game day can be enough.

They didn’t ask us, the ragged media, of course, or we would have awarded the next 10 Super Bowls to (1) New Orleans and (2) anywhere with a beach.

Instead, the NFL dug in its snowshoes and gave the 2018 game to Minneapolis.

I’m guessing that this takes North Texas off the hook for the Super Bowl XLV ice storm. But until the big game returns to AT&T Stadium, we’ll still cringe whenever a media colleague mentions the melting ice avalanching off the roof (which injured six) and the daily Iditarod ride between the team hotels.

Texas-sized expectations fell prey to freak weather and thorough planning that included (oops) too many tickets but not enough snow plows.

It ended up like the Atlanta Olympics. Native Atlantans and experienced Olympic tourists have decidedly different memories of those three weeks in 1996. Same with the first North Texas Super Bowl, it seems.

Thus, the big game has traveled to the Phoenix area this week and the outstanding stadium in suburban Glendale. The San Francisco 49ers’ new stadium in Santa Clara, Calif., will host Super Bowl 50.

And then, before ice fishing in Minnesota, the game is scheduled to return to Texas ... but to Houston and Reliant Stadium.

What gives? Why isn’t the NFL ringing the AT&T Stadium doorbell?

Owner Jones promised us that there would be dozens of Super Bowls coming to his Cowboys’ home. After all, who else has 93,221 seats to sell — and maybe re-sell?

No one seems to know yet when the NFL will be back. At his annual Super Bowl press conference a year ago, commissioner Roger Goodell even began with a joke about the once-feared New York weather.

As fake snowflakes rained down upon him, Goodell said: “The ability to host the Super Bowl is more and more complicated, more and more complex, because of the size and number of events. The infrastructure is very important.

“I believe we need to get to as many communities as possible and give them the opportunity to share in, not only the emotional benefits, but also the economic benefits. It helps the NFL, it helps our fans and it helps grow our game.”

Economic benefits? Aside from New Orleans and New York — cities that are comfortable in their roles as tourist destinations — the game has become a GougeFest.

A modest, two-star hotel room in the Phoenix area this week will cost you $440 per night.

It cost the North Texas host committee a reported $39 million to win the bid and stage the February 2011 game. A blessed chunk of the reimbursement for that came from the state’s Major Events Trust Fund.

But it takes money to bid and win these Super Bowl host things. It takes manpower and salaries and a bid strategy, which is hard to do when you have a big ego in town who thinks he just has to wait for his phone to ring.

Except the NFL hasn’t called Owner Jones back yet.

If there was a full-time regional sports commission, maybe this wouldn’t be a problem.

In the wake of the first College Football Playoff title game, there are no more sports mega-events on the AT&T Stadium schedule. Atlanta and its new stadium likely will get the 2019 Super Bowl. The NCAA Men’s Final Four is booked through 2021.

By the time the likely next Super Bowl is awarded, Jones, 72, may not be regularly gassing up his party bus. He has a great stadium, but after New York/New Jersey, everyone with a Waffle House and a Holiday Inn is going to be asking for a Super Bowl.

Somebody needs to get organized. Or plan on packing their winter coats.

Gil LeBreton, 817-390-7697

Twitter: @gilebreton

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