Walter Iooss Jr./SI
TAMPA, Fla. – As Florida hosts its 14th Super Bowl this week and looks towards a 15th in Miami next year, one wonders if two states will ever again play host to the big game.
Through 2003, Southern California had hosted 10 Super Bowls while New Orleans had hosted nine (a record for any city). More than 54 percent of the first 37 Super Bowls were held in either California or Louisiana, but neither is in the mix for the Super Bowl any time soon.
Future Super Bowl sites have been selected through 2012 (South Florida, North Texas and Indianapolis), meaning it will be more than a decade before the Super Bowls returns to California or Louisiana after both never went more than five years without hosting.
While New Orleans has a shot at winning a bid to host the 2013 Super Bowl at the Superdome -- 11 years after the Patriots upset the Rams in Super Bowl 36 -- the prospects of Southern California hosting the Super Bowl again seem remote as long as the Chargers play at the outdated Qualcomm Stadium and Los Angeles remains teamless with archaic stadiums like the Coliseum and the Rose Bowl.
One of the reasons both areas won't see a Super Bowl for the foreseeable future is the NFL has made it a point of awarding Super Bowls to cities that have built new stadiums, meaning that colder areas that wouldn't normally be in the mix (Houston, Detroit, Dallas, Indianapolis) have been chosen over far more aesthetically pleasing destinations such as Pasadena or San Diego.
But really, how many of the fans and tourists that come out for Super Bowl week are actually going to the game? Most fans are in town here to check out the ambiance, stop by the NFL Experience, hit up a party or two and buy some souvenirs. Only a fraction of them will actually get to be inside the stadium come game day.
I can understand wanting to showcase a new venue, but I've always felt that choosing a Super Bowl location should be like picking a vacation destination. You need to ask yourself: How's the weather? How are the beaches? How's the nightlife?
If the weather's terrible, there are no beaches and the nightlife is dreadful, why would you put a Super Bowl in that city? So some owner can show off the retractable roof at his new stadium for the commissioner as they sip on champagne in a plush skybox?
This becomes especially important if the Pro Bowl becomes a fixture at the Super Bowl site a week before the big game as it will next year in Miami. It's no big deal asking these players to play in South Beach instead of the south shores of Hawaii, but try convincing some of these guys to head to Indianapolis in January to play one more game after their season has been over for weeks.
So the Rose Bowl and the Superdome might not have the swankiest suites or the fanciest club seats, but does it really matter when you're playing near Sunset Blvd. or Bourbon Street? How about staging Super Bowl 50 at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum, where the very first Super Bowl took place? Sure, the Coliseum is about as outdated as any stadium in America, but I'm guessing few will complain about being in Los Angeles for a week, especially the fans who have long been priced out of actually going inside the stadium to watch the Super Bowl.