One game is left in the 2011-2012 season (unless you count the Pro Bowl, which I never have. Seriously, on Sunday I'm looking forward to the Miami Heat vs. Chicago Bulls NBA tilt and the WWE Royal Rumble more than I am the Pro Bowl—and that happens every year).
You know what that game is called, I know what that game is called, and even your grandmother—who probably never watches football—knows what that game is called.
The Super Bowl is the perfect mixture of sports and pop culture. Sure, on the surface it pits the best team from the AFC against the best team from the AFC to decide who was the best football team of a certain year—but it's more than that. It's about commercials, halftime shows, pre-game shows, pre-pre-game shows, parties, food and beer.
But there's one city in the country where the Super Bowl means more than all of that, and no, I'm not talking about one of the cities with a team participating in the game—I'm talking about the city hosting the event.
Unlike the other three main American professional sports leagues, the Super Bowl is held on a neutral site that's determined years prior to when the game is going to be played. In fact, we already know where the 2013, 2014, and 2015 Super Bowls will be held (New Orleans, the Meadowlands, Glendale, AZ).
As someone who lives in Miami (in my life time—which started in 1983—it has hosted five Super Bowls), I can tell you how big of a deal it is to the community.
It means tourists coming from all over the country (not just the two Super Bowl cities) eating in your restaurants, staying at your hotels, going to your nightclubs, drinking at your bars and buying lap dances from your girlfriends (well at least at times they make you feel like they're your girlfriends yet they never answer your phone calls).
It means a national spotlight on your city, for better or for worse.
The Super Bowl means money, and one week a year when your town is the center of the sports world. The teams usually get in on Monday, with the national and international press (and fame-monger Ines Sainz) showing up either the day before or staggering in throughout the week.
Then comes media day on Tuesday, followed by incessant coverage of events that normally you wouldn't care about, but are covered by reporters simply to make it seem to their bosses that they're actually working on Super Bowl week—so that bosses don't wise up and decide to not fly them in until Friday night.
The media will make stories out of anything, and that includes your town. If the weather is nice and the food is good, expect rave reviews. If the weather is crappy, expect to be heavily criticized.
And that's where this slideshow with the obscenely long intro and jokes about strippers comes in. Even though there are 31 metropolitan areas home to NFL franchises (I'm counting Oakland/San Francisco as one since it is the "Bay Area"), only 13 of them have thus far been home to Super Bowls, with that number only climbing to 15 by 2015.
I'm going to rank those 13 communities based on the weather, the site (some places like Los Angeles, Miami and New Orleans have more than one site) and other factors that the cities had going either for or against them when holding the Super Bowl.
Now, I must admit, of these places I've only lived in one of them and personally been to three of them, so I will be studying up on some of the other attractions, restaurants and reviews of those places.