Thanks to the new football stadium in Glendale, the Valley was named one of four finalists for the 2008 Super Bowl Tuesday at the NFL’s owners meetings in Philadelphia.
The other three finalists are Tampa, Fla., Washington, D.C., and New York.
“I believe this is a very positive step,” Cardinals vice president Michael Bidwill said. “The biggest step will come when the game is awarded, but this is a big step.”
The final decision for Super Bowl XLII is expected to be made at the owners meetings Oct. 29-30 in Chicago.
The next open Super Bowl, XLI, is in 2007. Tampa and Miami, Fla., were named the final two choices for that game, although NFL commissioner Paul Tagliabue said it is a virtual certainty Miami will get the bid.
Besides a new stadium, Arizona has other factors on its side to get the 2008 game. The biggest is owner Bill Bidwill, who has long curried favor among owners by voting with the group. That was most noticeable two years ago, when he allowed his team to be moved to the NFC West despite a strong personal preference to stay in the NFC East.
The Valley was also all but promised a Super Bowl once the new stadium was ready, although Michael Bidwill and the NFL have stressed a Super Bowl and new stadium were not directly linked. “My father and I are doing our part,” Bidwill said. “Obviously, we will still continue to work with (bid committee chairman) Gregg Holmes, getting out the positives about our state.”
Said Holmes, “We don’t take anything for granted. I do think we have all the key ingredients.”
Although Tagliabue said he has no personal preference which city gets the 2008 game, he has pushed for both New York and Washington, especially after the events of Sept. 11, 2001.
New York, however, would have to make a promise for expensive
improvements to Giants Stadium in New Jersey before getting a Super Bowl.
And both New York and D.C. are cold in late January or early February, when the game will be played.
Houston owner Robert McNair said his team’s fans prefer Super Bowls in warm-weather cities, and that would be the way he will vote.
“Is there a strong enough climate among the owners to overcome that?” McNair said. “Maybe so on a one-time basis, but a warm-weather site, I think that is what our fans want.”
Tampa, meanwhile, just hosted a game in 2001. Nevertheless, Michael Bidwill said, “This is still a very real competition.”
Holmes said he will be part of the group that makes a final pitch in Chicago. The parameters of the presentations haven’t been set, he said, but he figures his committee will reiterate the points it made in March at the owners meetings in Phoenix. Until then, both the Bidwills and the bid committee will do whatever detail work they can. “Just because we are a finalist,” Holmes said, “doesn’t mean we are a winner.”