The NFL is reportedly considering Arlington's AT&T Stadium as a potential backup venue for this year's Super Bowl in the event that California or Los Angeles County enforces stricter attendance restrictions amid the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, per Mike Leslie of WFAA.com.
The game is currently scheduled to be held in Inglewood's SoFi Stadium, home of the Los Angeles Rams and Chargers.
Per that report, a Cowboys source said "the league did inquire about a date if [the] stadium is available. But that's all I've ever heard. They could be just covering all options just in case."
Additionally, a source from the city of Arlington told Leslie that officials have contacted the NFL, saying the city would be prepared to host the game in the event of a site change.
But NFL spokesman Brian McCarthy told Leslie that having backup plans for the Super Bowl's location is the league's common operating procedure:
"We plan on playing Super Bowl LVI as scheduled at SoFi Stadium in Los Angeles on Sunday, Feb. 13. As part of our standard contingency planning process that we conduct for all regular and postseason games, we have contacted several clubs to inquire about stadium availability in the event we cannot play the Super Bowl as scheduled due to weather-related issues or unforeseen circumstances. Our planning process for the Super Bowl in Los Angeles is ahead of schedule and we look forward to hosting the Super Bowl there to culminate another fantastic NFL season for our fans and clubs."
Moving the Super Bowl outside of Los Angeles would mark the second straight year that SoFi Stadium was scheduled to host but didn't. Construction delays last year forced the league to move the game to Tampa Bay. Los Angeles last hosted a Super Bowl in 1993.
AT&T Stadium last served as the big game's host in 2011.
Given that California has generally had stricter COVID-19 regulations and mandates than other states—and Los Angeles County has seen 21,790 new cases reported as of Jan. 4 and had a seven-day average of 1,994 new hospitalizations as of Jan. 2—it remains possible that the ongoing pandemic could alter the NFL's Super Bowl plans this year.
As for future host cities, Phoenix will hold the 2023 game, Las Vegas has 2024 and New Orleans is the 2025 host.