NFL meetings: Minneapolis awarded 2018 Super Bowl
MAY 20, 2014 4:30p ET
ATLANTA -- Perceived by some as an upset, the NFL awarded Super Bowl LII (2018) to the city of Minneapolis on Tuesday.
With the winning bid, Minneapolis trumped finalists Indianapolis and New Orleans -- the latter of which has hosted 10 previous Super Bowls and was attempting to garner the 2018 bid as part of the 300th anniversary of the city's founding.
The Vikings are set to open a $975 million, fixed-roof stadium in 2016. The NFL mandates that a city's stadium must be open for at least two seasons before it can host a Super Bowl and, almost always, awards the game to cities after new stadiums are constructed.
Atlanta, a city with much less extreme winter weather, expects to open a new retractable-roof stadium in 2017, making 2019 its first possible season to host a Super Bowl. Georgia's largest city has not hosted a Super Bowl since 2000.
Minnesota last hosted one in 1992 in the Metrodome.
Instead, organizers of the Minnesota effort will attempt to introduce what it expects to be 100,000 out-of-town visitors to the cold: scenes depicting cross-country skiing and tobogganing.
Richard Davis, the co-chair of Minnesota's effort who also serves as chairman and CEO of U.S. Bancorp, said organizers plan an eight-story ice castle.
Minnesota co-chair Marilyn Carlson Nelson called the vote, which included two cold-weather cities and took four ballots, an "affirmation of the north."
"It came to Indianapolis, now it's coming to Minnesota," said Carlson Nelson, the former chairman of travel and hospitality company Carlson Inc. "We have an entire nation of football fans."
According to Weather.com, average highs in Minneapolis in February are 29 degrees with average lows at 13.
Commissioner Roger Goodell said that he thought the difficulty that Minnesota had in its process in accessing public funds for the project -- $500 million of taxpayer funds -- might have given it primacy among some owners over New Orleans, saying it was "a positive influence on several owners I talked to."
As for the potential of a large snowstorm in Minnesota during the game, Goodell said "we just have to be prepared for that." He was not concerned about the potential of fans staying away from the game because of the weather.
"No," he said. "People have to make their choice. If you want to play golf, it might not be your first choice."
As far as New Orleans not winning the bid, Goodell noted that the process is "much more competitive to host these Super Bowls. The new stadiums are obviously a big factor and drive the influence of owners" in their voting. Having said that, he said he thought New Orleans would receive another game in the future.
When asked about Atlanta as a potential Super Bowl host in 2019, Goodell said cities that are building new stadiums "are going to make the bids even more attractive. Atlanta is a great example of that."
The subject of a franchise building a new stadium arose again when Goodell was questioned about the long-term viability of the Buffalo Bills, whose long-time owner Ralph Wilson died in March. The Bills eventually will be sold and Goodell has said that a new stadium is necessary to secure the Bills' franchise in Buffalo for the long term.
"I believe a stadium is really the long-term -- is important to the franchise long-term for it to continue to be successful in Western New York," he said.
On other issues, Goodell said that playoff expansion (adding one team to each conference) continues to be explored and he said that "I do believe it will be approved for 2015." He said the issues that led to the proposal's failure to pass for 2014 included the addition of "inventory into the marketplace" -- namely, NFL's move to sell its Thursday night package to CBS from the NFL Network. Once that advertising is absorbed into the market, Goodell indicated, the television marketplace would be ready for more playoff football games.
When questioning turned to the 2015 NFL Draft, he said the league has not made any decisions as to where and when it will hold the event, whose home historically has been New York's Radio City Music Hall. This year the draft was pushed back two weeks into May.
"We're looking at everything," Goodell said. "… We think that the draft has a great deal more potential to grow in popularity. We don't think the date affected us in a negative way at all this year. ... Date and location are probably the two primary issues for us to decide."
He said Radio City Music Hall would inform the league by the end of the month as to its flexibility with possible dates and that "we're obviously continuing our discussion with other cities."
On the topic of potential punitive action towards Indianapolis Colts owner Jim Irsay, who was arrested in March on possession of prescription drugs and $29,000 in cash, Goodell said Irsay had yet to be charged with a crime and that he would allow the legal process to continue to play out.
During the meeting, 86-year-old New Orleans Saints owner Tom Benson took a fall and left the Ritz-Carlton Buckhead in an ambulance. Goodell said he spoke to Benson before Benson departed and that "the initial reaction (on Benson's health) looks pretty positive."