Support building behind Arizona bid for 2008 Super Bowl
CHICAGO - The NFL revealed Thursday what many expected - the 2008 Super Bowl will be in Arizona.
The Arizona Cardinals were lauded by commissioner Paul Tagliabue and NFL owners for hosting Monday night's game between the Miami Dolphins and San Diego Chargers on short notice after wildfires in Southern California forced the league to seek another venue.
Arizona will host the NFL's championship game for the first time since Super Bowl XXX in January 1997. The Cardinals are scheduled to open a $355 million stadium in suburban Glendale in 2006.
"This is something that's an economic impact to the whole state of Arizona," Cardinals vice president Michael Bidwill said. "This will show off the other civic and cultural benefits of our state. It's a great day for Arizona and we should celebrate."
Bidwill and his father, Cardinals owner Bill Bidwill, received a large ovation when they were introduced Wednesday, leading many to believe Arizona would get the bid.
"Arizona is building a new state, with the population changing so fast and we have a lot of new things that we didn't have in '96," Arizona governor Janet Napolitano said. "So winning this bid shows Arizona is a competitive and wonderful place to host world-class events."
The owners selected Arizona over Washington and Tampa, Florida. The New York Giants withdrew their bid to host a Super Bowl for the first time two weeks ago. The Redskins are expected to make a bid to host a future Super Bowl.
"We began pursuit of the event 18 months ago," Redskins owner Daniel Snyder said. "We are disappointed, but we have learned many important things while pursuing the 2008 game. We know the District of Columbia, Virginia, Maryland and a wide variety of public and governmental entities can band together to present a unified bid. As we move forward, that will be difficult to resist forever."
"I thought all three presentations were very strong and the appeal of all three cities were strong and all three places would be excellent places to hold the Super Bowl," Tagliabue said.
For more than three decades, the NFL's premier event has been held in warm-weather cities or domed stadiums.
The next Super Bowl is in Houston, followed by Jacksonville, Florida in 2005, new Ford Field in Detroit in 2006 and Miami in 2007.
Tagliabue also indicated the league will continue its use of instant replay. Coaches, including Baltimore's Brian Billick, have been critical of instant replay in recent weeks. Teams are allowed to challenge two calls per game via instant replay and Billick has lost three challenges in the past two games.
Under NFL rules, a team loses a timeout if it loses the challenge. Billick on Sunday said he tried to be an advocate for instant replay, but it's time to "dump the whole thing." He apologized for his comments the following day.
"I think replay will continue because three-fourths of the clubs will think it's an important tool of officiating in the game," Tagliabue said. "What Brian Billick said about replay was intolerable, unacceptable, uncalled for and he should be fined. I don't know what our staff will do. But that's my own humble opinion about what he said because it's a direct and severe violation of our rules about criticism."
Tagliabue looked forward to next week's launch of the NFL Network and defended the decision to hire outspoken Tampa Bay Buccaneers defensive tackle Warren Sapp, the same week he was threatened by suspension by the league for his on-field conduct.
"Warren was hired before his free speech episode and he can say what he wants to say, I guess," Tagliabue said. "We are making our network decisions based on judgments of who can be entertaining on television."
Some coaches also spoke about possibly shortening the exhibition season from four games. But Tagliabue on Wednesday said most coaches need four games to evaluate talent.
This story is from ESPN.com's automated news wire. Wire index
MORE NFL HEADLINES
- Crabtree responds to Sherman: Tired of talk
- Jones-Drew: London deserves an NFL team
- Johnson: Lions 'need to win a Super Bowl'
- Pack hold off Favre return, afraid of booing