The NFL whittled the list of NFL cities hoping to host Super Bowl LII from six to three on Tuesday, naming Indianapolis, Minneapolis and New Orleans as the finalists able to submit bids for the event.
Albert Breer of NFL Network first reported the news, which has yet to be confirmed by the league office:
The decision comes after the NFL listened to proposals from the six applicants this week at the NFL fall meeting in Washington D.C. In addition to the three bid cities, Dallas, Miami and Tampa Bay all expressed interest in hosting the event.
The Miami area is tied with New Orleans for the most times having hosted a Super Bowl with 10. Tampa Bay has hosted four times, most recently in 2009. Dallas has hosted just once, when the Cowboys christened their billion-dollar AT&T Stadium (then Cowboys Stadium).
The NFL's official website noted that a final announcement will come after the three finalists ready their proposals, likely coming at the spring meeting in 2014. With Tuesday's announcement, though, it seems that the NFL is determined to continue rewarding cities that support new stadiums.
Indianapolis was awarded its first hosting duties in 2012, a little less then four years after opening the brand-new Lucas Oil Stadium. Colts owner Jim Irsay was understandably complimentary of how Indianapolis did as a host city in an interview with Breer.
"It really was one of the finest Super Bowls," Irsay said. "Indianapolis really is a unique Midwestern city that, quite frankly, can do it better than any other place in the country."
Minneapolis has not been a Super Bowl host since 1992, but it also holds the trump card of opening a new stadium in the near future. A 2018 Super Bowl would give the Vikings two years in their new, $975 million home, which is set to break ground this month and is expected to open for the 2016 season.
Houston, which will host Super Bowl LI, is the only upcoming city to be awarded hosting duties in a stadium more than a decade old (Reliant Stadium opened in 2002). New York/New Jersey will host this coming year at MetLife Stadium, Arizona's University of Phoenix Stadium comes a year later and San Francisco's yet-to-be-opened Levi's Stadium will play host in 2016.
In that sense, New Orleans would likely be an underdog. The Mercedes-Benz Superdome opened in 1975 and, though it has undergone numerous renovations, is still not considered a state-of-the-art venue. The city has hosted 10 times, most recently last season, and will be celebrating its 300th anniversary in 2018.
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