Sunday, May 30, 2010

Super Bowl In KC: Don't Count On It

In November of 2005, then-NFL Commissioner Paul Tagliabue announced that Kansas City would be awarded a Super Bowl between 2012 and 2021, contigent upon Arrowhead Stadium being a climate-controlled facility by that time. It was later stated that 2015 was the likely year KC would get the big game.

As most of us remember, the rolling roof proposal on the April 2006 ballot was rejected by Jackson County, Missouri voters, who may have been negatively swayed by the mostly confusing details in the measure, the mere thought of raising taxes for one game, and the fear of the roof being overused during the regular season. The Chiefs later withdrew their request for the game after the proposal failed to even make it on the ballot the following November.

As most of you have heard by now, Tuesday, current NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell announced the league has awarded the 2014 Super Bowl to the New Meadowlands Stadium in East Rutherford, New Jersey. It will be the first Super Bowl played outdoors in a cold weather region.*

*While risky, I think the cold-weather Super Bowl idea is a good move by the league. I don't think it should be held in a cold weather region every year, though. Goodell should implement a Super Bowl rotation including, but not limited to all cities with NFL teams that are capable of hosting and based upon stadium upkeep and attendance during the season. From the preseason on through the playoffs, every game played outdoors has the possibilty of the elements coming into play, and the Super Bowl should be no different.

Because of the obvious precedent being set here, there has been a buzz among Kansas City fans and talk-show hosts that the city should be reconsidered for the 2015 game, or sometime soon after.

I completely agree. I'm also sure it won't happen.

First of all, after the original announcement, Goodell made it clear that a precedent was not being set, instead citing the uniqueness of the New York/New Jersey area combined with the chance at making history. While the translation of that is not completely known, we are fairly certain it has something to do with the health of his bank account.

Since then, though, Goodell seemed more open to the idea of other cold weather cities hosting the game, saying it would depend on the success of the game in New York. While that makes plenty of sense, it would surely delay any chance for the game to be held in KC until, at the very earliest, 2018, because of the voting process taking place several years in advance.

If Goodell does get serious about allowing more cold weather cities to host, KC faces another series of obstacles. The promise was made to the late Lamar Hunt, and the Chiefs are now run by his son, Clark. There has been no definite indication of whether Clark would even be on board for a Super Bowl in KC, other than his natural support of his father's push for the rolling roof measure to pass in 2006.

Also, when the league promised KC the game, Tagliabue was running things. Goodell has no obligation to follow through on any promises made by the former commissioner, especially considering varying circumstances are involved.

So, naturally there will be plenty of campaiging by some of the other teams and owners for the game to come to their respective cities. Dan Snyder, owner of the Washington Redskins, has already made it clear he would love for the game to come to the D.C. area.

ESPN Radio host and Sportscenter anchor Mike Greenberg has already suggested, "...the one place they have to play the Super Bowl (is) Lambeau Field."

While you may agree with Greenberg's thoughts on Lambeau, his opinion means little alone. However, as a whole, ESPN has much more influence than anyone east of here would like to admit. The network, with its studios located in Bristol, Connecticut, might as well have been campaigning for the Super Bowl to come to New York, and still hasn't ended its week-long celebration for their wish coming true.*

*There is speculation that the letters E-S-P-N actually stand for Eastcoast Sports Programming Network.

Anyway, with that thought in mind, what makes Kansas Citians believe their city would be considered before Washington, Philadelphia, or even Baltimore? How about Gillette Stadium in New England? Patriots' owner Robert Kraft is a longtime friend of Goodell, and Gillette Stadium is less than ten years old.

The point is, there will be plenty of discussion and persuasion as to where the Super Bowl should go next, and why it makes perfect sense for certain cities. I'm not sure KC would get much support in these such talks, at least among national media outlets.

Really, the timing of the renovations for Arrowhead, which passed on the same ballot the rolling roof question appeared on, could not have been worse for supporters of a KC Super Bowl. The NFL tends to reward teams who renovate or build new stadiums with the game. The original promise by Tagliabue was with the thought of a renovated Arrowhead in mind.

If this trend continues and is combined with the league's openness to cold weather sites, my prediction is KC will be passed up by other cities. The Arrowhead renovations will be more or less forgotten by the league, and bigger cities - located on the east coast or not - with new stadiums will make a better case to the league and its owners.

Invesco Field at Mile High in Denver is less than ten years old. The Broncos have had much more success than the Chiefs in recent years, resulting in a greater league-wide popularity and following for the Donkeys. Also, Denver is more populous than KC. I can't think of one reason why the owners would find KC a better fit for the big game than Denver.

The Vikings are ready to build a new stadium in Minneapolis. All the same reasons apply here as for the Denver comparison. KC is outmatched.

It's also likely that many owners with outdated stadiums will use the New York example to lure their cities' residents into helping pay for new stadiums. The competition for KC would grow even greater, and the likelihood of the Super Bowl happening at Arrowhead would go from somewhat of a longshot to an absolute miracle.

It's ironic, really, that the Super Bowl in New York news is what led to the KC Super Bowl discussions being rehashed, but after looking deeper, it's likely the breakthrough vote has all but killed KC's chances of getting the game.

The odds just don't seem to be in KC's favor, and it's really a shame. The city and its extremely loyal fans have been long-starved of any great news on the professional sports front, and the opportunity to host the Super Bowl could have been the perfect remedy.

1 comment:

  1. Bias does come into play when NYC is awarded a Super Bowl, though this is an ideal town (cold or no) for fans, media, and players to hang out (and spend $!!) in the weeks preceding the game. This venue is 1000-times the 'electricity' that would be Kansas City, Buffalo, Charlotte, or Nashville. Typically, the Super Bowl has been awarded to cities that enjoy nice Feb temps (Phoenix, Tampa, Miami, San Diego, New Orleans) or own domes (Minneapolis, Atlanta, Phoenix, New Orleans). There have been a couple of notable exceptions to what I would consider "lousy" representative cities, namely: Jacksonville and Detroit, these being cities that I would compare Kansas City to so far as public amenities, entertainment options, urban sprawl, etc.

    The Arrowhead experience is unique and amazing when it is our hometown team on the field; But, it would not be fans from Lee's Summit or KC NORTH attending this whopper of a game, but rather, fatcats from corporate America, who, if given a choice, would have the game played as an afterthought to carousing South Beach or Bourbon Street every 1st week of February.

    The Super Bowl (and this is sad) is NOT the high stakes drama of the Conference Championship Game(s), where the fans are roaring, the weather is freezing, and home-field advantage plays a huge role in determining the victor. The Super Bowl is about excess, partying, eating mountains of guacamole, and rehashing a gluttonous season to the beat of that particular year's sports-beat.

    Flyover Country's only shot at hosting a Super Bowl would come either from Jerry in Dallas (got one slated) or from Denver, though I find even this doubtful. Indy is pegged as a host for 2013 or 2014, and THIS will likely be as close as the Big Game comes for a while.