Could a Super Bowl come to DC?

Could a Super Bowl come to DC?
February 2, 2014, 12:00 pm
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Could FedEx Field host a Super Bowl in the relatively near future? 

NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell indicated on Friday that the success of this year’s game at MetLife Stadium in New Jersey has likely opened the door for other cold weather cities with outdoor stadiums, such as the Redskins’ home field in Landover, Md.

“I believe [former NFL commissioner Pete Rozelle] would be very proud of where we are this week,” Goodell said during his annual state-of-the-league press conference. “We are doing something innovative and unprecedented.  Something consistent with the essence of football and the Super Bowl.  There has been a tremendous amount of energy and excitement about this Super Bowl. This is the No. 1 [media] market and a great stage for this Super Bowl matchup, and the world will be watching.”

In 2010, within hours of MetLife being awarded the Super Bowl XLVIII, Redskins owner Dan Snyder said he believed Washington deserved strong consideration as a host city, telling The Washington Post, “I think Washington should get one, no matter what. It is the nation’s capital.”

Snyder’s argument to host the NFL's championship game will only be bolstered by the reception—and mild winter weather—that's greeted fans, corporate sponsors and the teams in the New York metro area in recent days.

“This opportunity has been extraordinary, and something that we’re all going to look back as a very important time in our history,” Goodell said. “As far as other communities, we know there’s interest in other communities hosting the Super Bowl.”

Because of MetLife’s proximity to New York City, the infrastructure necessary to host an event such as the Super Bowl was not an issue. As for the region’s hit-or-miss February weather, well, that was the subject of a much handwringing. Would it snow? Would excessive cold put a damper on the festivities that typically surround the game? Could a chilly rain ruin the in-stadium experience for fans who paid several thousands of dollars for tickets and travel expenses?

As it turns out, there won’t be any snow. In fact, there won’t be any cold, either. According to weather.com, highs in East Rutherford could hit 50 degrees under cloudy skies on Sunday, while temperatures should hover in mid-to-low 40’s during the game.

In Landover, the high temperature is expected to be 52 during the day and 46 at kickoff. And, of course, just a few miles away, there’s Washington, D.C., as well as the Maryland and Northern Virginia suburbs, with all the hotel rooms, restaurants and other attractions necessary to host an event of this scale.

Another reason Washington could soon find itself in the Super Bowl mix: Goodell acknowledged his desire to see the game played in “as many communities as possible” and that potential weather complications won’t eliminate future sites.

“There’s such a demand for Super Bowls right now,” Goodell said. “The number of cities that are going to get multiple Super Bowls at one time I think are incredibly limited.  We see the opportunity for us to continue to expand our game, come into new markets, and we find that valuable to the league.”

He added: “Weather is a factor when you play in the United States in February, and that’s what we’re going to have as a continuing challenge.  We’re prepared for that.  The communities in which we play are prepared for that, and that’s why we have contingencies.  I believe we need to get to as many communities as possible, and give them the opportunity to share not only in the emotional benefits, but the economic benefits.  It helps the NFL, it helps our fans, and it helps grow our game.”

The soonest Washington could host a Super Bowl would be 2019. The game will be played in Santa Clara, Calif., next year and Phoenix and Houston in 2016 and 2017, respectively. Minneapolis, Indianapolis and New Orleans are finalists for 2018.