Back to Miami
NFL close to picking Pro Player for 2007 Super BowlPosted: Tuesday May 20, 2003 4:47 PM
Updated: Wednesday May 21, 2003 12:53 AM
PHILADELPHIA (AP) -- The 2007 Super Bowl is practically a certainty to be played in Miami.
NFL commissioner Paul Tagliabue said Tuesday at the league's meetings that the South Florida area was "at the 97 percent or higher point of what has to be accomplished" for Pro Player Stadium to host the title game in February 2007.
"It's mostly a question of some details, but there doesn't seem to be any major principle that is an issue," Tagliabue said.
Final approval should come at a special meeting Sept. 17.
New Orleans and Washington also were interested in '07. But the nation's capital is being considered for 2008. And the league was reluctant to stage consecutive Super Bowls indoors, which hurt New Orleans -- the 2006 game will be at Ford Field in Detroit.
"There was a strong preference for an outdoor game in a warm climate," Tagliabue said.
Miami has hosted the Super Bowl eight times (1968, '69, '71, '76, '79, '89, '95, and '99), fewer than only New Orleans (nine times).
"During a time when the tourism industry across the country is in need of a boost, we are honored to be at the top of the list of locations for such a huge affair," Miami Mayor Manny Diaz said.
While virtually approving Miami, the owners also discussed the 2008 and '09 sites. The four finalists for 2008 are Washington, New York-New Jersey, Tampa and Arizona, with that game likely to be awarded in October.
Tagliabue has made it a personal project to get the owners to consider a cold-weather site without an indoor stadium -- specifically Washington or New York.
"I think there is pretty strong sentiment among the ownership that New York is unique for entertainment and Washington is unique as the center of politics," he said. "I have no personal preference. I think these give us four areas which could be excellent for a Super Bowl, provided the stadium is right."
He noted that Giants Stadium in East Rutherford, N.J., would need substantial improvements before it could host a Super Bowl. A new stadium is being built in the Phoenix area, while the Redskins have a state-of-the-art facility in Landover, Md., and Raymond James Stadium in Tampa had the 2001 Super Bowl.
But the owners had mixed reactions to the idea.
"I'd love to see a Super Bowl in New York," said New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft. "I think absolutely, if they get a stadium."
But Texans owner Robert McNair said he would vote the way his constituency -- Houston's fans -- wanted him to.
"We've asked our fans their reaction and, by and large, it's negative," he said. "Our fans tell us, `That is not what I am looking forward to.'
"Is there a strong enough climate among the owners to overcome that? Maybe so on a one-time basis, but a warm-weather site, I think that is what our fans want."