shiny happy fan
Join Date: Apr 2004
Super Worries in Jacksonville
Enjoy that warm, home Super Bowl feeling for now, because once it is over, you may not feel it again. The buzz among some owners and other league officials is that the Super Bowl creates such logistical challenges for Jacksonville, the league might not want to endure those kinds of hurdles again and will avoid the city at all costs.
Stop putting that X through my face. I'm just the messenger. Don't hate the player, hate the Big Game.
In my one dozen years of covering Super Bowl politics, which can be as cutthroat as any presidential race, I have rarely heard such harsh comments about a Super Bowl city from a significant number of members in the NFL community.
"How can we have a Super Bowl in a city this tiny?" said one owner, who asked not to be identified, forgetting that he was one of the owners who voted for Jacksonville to have a Super Bowl in the first place.
"This has the potential to be a logistical disaster," said one league official, who also asked not to be identified.
And the game is still nine months away.
Publicly, the league is saying that everything is going smoothly, and, to be certain, there are owners who are happy the game is coming here. Paul Tagliabue, the smart and blunt commissioner, said in an interview he foresees no serious problems, logistical or otherwise.
"We've had tremendous support from the city," said Tagliabue. "There are a number of things about Jacksonville that make it attractive, beginning with what I think is a great stadium. Everything is going very smoothly."
Tagliabue also dismissed complaints from owners and others. "They don't have all of the information," he said.
Privately, the complaints stem from old concerns. Will there be enough rental cars? Hotels? What about the cruise ship situation?
I don't get the trepidation. These things always seem to work out. People find places to stay and cars to rent. Besides, look at some of the other host towns. Detroit is getting Super Bowl XL in 2006 and it was recently named the most unsafe city in America. Detroit's Super Bowl motto: come watch the game -- and your wallet.
Basically, the issues come down to owners wanting the party to go smoothly. They don't want to lay awake worrying about cruise ships moving out to sea to dump their waste or booking hotels in Orlando or if Jacksonville is going to be 7,000 rental cars short.
I still believe that Jacksonville could be the new Miami or Tampa, and is more than capable of working its way into a regular Super Bowl rotation. Another owner agreed with me.
Let's just hope Jacksonville doesn't become another Minneapolis.
That city was one and done.