NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- Seats matter.
The 2011 Super Bowl will be played at the Dallas Cowboys' new
stadium in Arlington, Texas, where the NFL will be able to fit
thousands more fans into the stadium for its showpiece game.
NFL owners voted Tuesday for the North Texas group, which had
Hall of Famer Roger Staubach lobbying on its behalf. The Cowboys'
$1 billion stadium seats up to 100,000 and will open in 2009. It
has about 27,000 more seats than the other finalists' stadiums in
Indianapolis or Arizona.
Cowboys owner Jerry Jones said the actual crowd ticketed at the
game could reach 120,000, with fans being able to watch video
screens at each end zone.
"Everyone has always told me, 'I wish we could get more fans in
the Super Bowl. I wish we could do that,'" he said. "I think the
fact we can have 100,000 people in the stadium is important because
it includes that many more people in our biggest event in the
NFL owners also reviewed recommended standards concerning
concussions during their one-day, spring meeting. Medical decisions
will override whether a team needs a player to play and also would
include whistleblower protection for reporting when a doctor is
pressured to clear a player.
"Medical considerations must always have priority over
competitive situations," commissioner Roger Goodell said in a
The Indianapolis bid featured the Colts' domed stadium opening
in 2008 and was backed by a Top 10 list by David Letterman with a
presentation by Colts coach Tony Dungy. Arizona hosts the 2008
Super Bowl on Feb. 3 and hosted the 1996 Super Bowl in Tempe.
Tampa, Fla., hosts in 2009, followed by a return to South
Florida in 2010. Texas has hosted the Super Bowl twice -- in Houston
in 2004 in the Texans' new stadium and in 1974 at Rice Stadium.
Jones said the vote went to a fourth ballot, when the winner
needs only a majority.
"I think every other aspect of our bid candidly was stronger
than Dallas' but for the size of the stadium," said Fred Glass,
president of Indianapolis' bid committee. "So based on that,
that's the only thing I can think of that was the deciding piece."
Indianapolis also lost to Minneapolis in bidding for the 1992
game, and Colts president Bill Polian said owners told him and team
owner Jim Irsay that Indy should bid again.
"I don't think those were idle words of consolation," Polian
said. "They were true feelings. The committee did as good a job as
anyone could possibly do. We just came up a little short."
Indianapolis came in with a strong bid, apparently overcoming
winter weather with its downtown walkways. The committee also came
in with $25 million already committed to help pay the costs
associated with hosting the game.
Dungy helped tout the city's experience hosting big events like
Final Fours, the Indianapolis 500 and Brickyard 400 with track
president Tony George on hand. Letterman's Top 10 was capped by No.
1: His mom's tailgate party.
Staubach countered with Texas' long football history, especially
his 2-2 record as a player in Super Bowls. Temperatures can be
chilly in February in Arlington, but the Cowboys' new stadium will
have a sliding roof that can protect fans.
"We're going to work real hard to live up to the responsibility
we have of winning this bid to make it the best Super Bowl that's
taken place in 45 years," said Staubach, chairman of the bid
committee. "We're thrilled about it."
Arizona didn't tap any big names in making its bid to become a
part of the Super Bowl rotation like Miami, which hosted the game
in February and is on tap for 2010. Mike Kennedy, chairman of the
Arizona Super Bowl host committee, said visitors can enjoy the
"Arizona is the best Super Bowl venue in the United States year
in and year out," he said.
Unfortunately, Arizona's bid may have been hampered more by
staff problems for the game in February and asking the NFL to pay
for improvements to a stadium that opened last August.