BOSTON (CBSMiami) – The National Football League sent a message to South Florida and any other city hoping to host the Super Bowl Tuesday: put together public funding for our stadiums or don’t expect to host the big game.
The NFL officially awarded Super Bowl L to the Santa Clara/San Francisco area and awarded Super Bowl LI to the city of Houston. Santa Clara is over halfway finished with Levi’s Stadium, which is a $1 billion stadium that will be finished in time to host the 50th Anniversary game.
Houston will play host to Super Bowl LI, which will be played in Reliant Stadium which was opened in August 2002.
“Tough end to the process for SoFla,” Miami Dolphins CEO Mike Dee tweeted after the announcement. “However, we’re extremely proud of the hard work put in by our Bid Committee to land these historic games.”
Dolphins owner Stephen Ross congratulated San Francisco and Houston on their victories in a statement.
“However, we don’t think there’s a better place in the country to host Super Bowl than right here in South Florida,” Ross said in a statement. “I am grateful for the hard work and creative energy that the South Florida Super Bowl Host Committee showed in their bid. Today’s decision doesn’t dampen our enthusiasm to pursue Super Bowls in the future, since we are steadfast in our belief that those games are good for the South Florida community.”
Ross told USA Today’s Mike Garafolo, “We need to do something to our stadium and I think the owners spoke.”
South Florida Super Bowl Committee Chairman Rodney Barreto told USA Today, “We had the better bid.”
South Florida had hoped to get one of the two Super Bowls, but after failing to win support to upgrade Sun Life Stadium; the area received the news it had expected since the stadium bill died in the Florida House of Representatives at the hands of Speaker Will Weatherford.
Miami-Dade Mayor Carlos Jimenez was disappointed by the news, yet hopeful at the chance of a near future South Florida Super Bowl.
“We are certainly disappointed that our community was not chosen to host Super Bowl L or LI. That said, I’m grateful to the South Florida Super Bowl Host Committee for their considerable efforts to land the big game. Their bid was a true collaborative effort and it showed in its creativity and excellent presentation. Miami is a hot global destination and I’m confident the Super Bowl will soon return to our hometown,” according to a statement released by Mayor Gimenez’s office.
The Miami Dolphins worked hard to get the stadium upgrades but faced a nearly impossible task of trying to get public support in a county still stinging from the boondoggle of a deal the Miami Marlins pulled off to finance its new stadium.
The Dolphins and the South Florida Super Bowl Host Committee put together an impressive package pitching everything the NFL knows about South Florida from the climate to the storied history of the game being played 10 times in the area.
However, no matter how perfect the pitch from South Florida was, it was considered almost inevitable once the stadium upgrades were voided that the area wouldn’t win another Super Bowl in the near future.
The San Francisco area hasn’t hosted a Super Bowl since 1985 when Stanford Stadium was the home for the big game which matched up San Francisco, and ironically enough, the Miami Dolphins. Incidentally, San Francisco beat Miami that time as well.
Miami’s biggest problem now is the league has threatened in the past not to hold another Super Bowl in South Florida without a stadium upgrade. Once no upgrade was in the plan, if the NFL had given the area the big game, twisting the arm of another community to get public funding for a stadium would have been difficult.
In addition, South Florida’s appeal as being a warm weather area doesn’t carry the weight it once did. The NFL has moved away from a desire to hold the game in warm weather climates and between that move and cities like San Diego and Miami not improving their stadiums, the Super Bowl rotation has fundamentally changed.
Miami has hosted 10 Super Bowls throughout the history of the big game. The last Super Bowl hosted by Miami was in 2010 and saw the New Orleans Saints beat the Indianapolis Colts.
But, with the NFL moving away from focusing on climate and instead looking at an overall bid and the quality of the stadium hosting the big game, South Florida, like San Diego before it, may not see another Super Bowl for a long time.