Presidential elections only come around once every four years, and the Oscars don’t pull in the numbers nearly like they used to, so the Super Bowl has become truly the premiere American event over the past few decades.
And that event is much longer than the 3 1/2 hours that the game is actually played on the last Sunday in January (or first Sunday of February, as is the case this year).
Which is why it’s such a big deal for local community to host. And it begs the question: when will Tampa get to host another one?
It’s been six years since Raymond James Stadium hosted the Pittsburgh Steelers-Arizona Cardinals, game, and as it stands now, we have no idea if and when it might happen again.
For what it’s worth, NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell said nearly a year ago that Tampa would at some point host another Super Bowl.
But it won’t be for awhile.
Next year’s game is at Levi’s Stadium, the San Francisco 49ers sparking $1.2 billion new state of the art facility located 40 miles south of San Francisco in Santa Clara. The 2017 game will be in Houston. And the 2018 game will be played in another town with a new billion dollar facility, Minneapolis. What those sites all have in common is that they’re new stadiums, and the NFL now rewards cities for spending the big bucks (or hitting up their taxpayers to do so) by giving them the opportunity to host their signature event. That’s why places like Dallas, Indianapolis, and yes, New York/New Jersey have also hosted recent games.
We’re ways away from the rotation which longtime observers say worked best back in the day – the trio of Southern California (be it the L.A. Coliseum, Rose Bowl, or San Diego), New Orleans and Florida (Miami has hosted 10 Super Bowls, Tampa four, and Jacksonville even got one crack at it).
As I watched the festivities on ESPN this week from suburban Scottsdale, Az., I did get a little nostalgic for the last time the big game was played here in 2009.
If you were in town, especially that weekend of the game, you saw Tampa transform into Pittsburgh South, as sadly there were few ‘Zona fans making the trip.
I had a media credential that week – not for the game itself, which was fine since I preferred to watch it with friends instead of working in the press box, but for all the ancillary activities leading up to Super Sunday. That credential enabled me to interview Keith Olbermann and have a tete a tete with Bob Costas regarding Barry Bonds; to observe (from like a mile away) Bruce Springsteen’s press conference at the Tampa Convention Center; to attend Roger Goodell’s State of the NFL address (won’t that be fun to watch later today); and to check out the live ceremony naming those who made it into the NFL Hall of Fame (I remember sitting across the way from former Buffalo Bills coach Marv Levy and his family, who didn’t seem all that moved when Bills defensive end Bruce Smith was inducted, but went nuts over the late owner Ralph Wilson’s name was called out). It was an exhilarating time. And I hope it happens again in my lifetime down here.
In the meantime, Tampa will be the host of the NCAA college football championship in two years, so there’s that to contemplate.
In other news…
Bob Buckhorn is looking strong going into his reelection race next month. How strong? How about 67 percent strong?
Rick Scott was in town yesterday, where he doubled down on his take that Pam Bondi, Jeff Atwater and Adam Putnam definitely knew he was about to can Gerald Bailey from the helm at FDLE last month. Meanwhile at that same press “availability,” the governor not so smoothly completely ignored the question of whether he would lobby to expand Medicaid in the upcoming legislative session.
Who says Republicans and Democrats can’t get together on Capitol Hill? New legislation (which really isn’t all that new) on lifting the travel ban to Cuba was introduced yesterday.
And MADD & Uber have teamed together for a study that says – wait a moment – taking Uber is best when you’re shi*t faced. Oh, and Uber will contribute an amount from each fare they take across the country during Stupor Bowl Sunday.