Yesterday the 32 National Football League Owners pulled a bit of a surprise when they selected Minneapolis as the site of Super Bowl LII. That’s “52” for you non-Romans out there.
It’s a surprise because also in the running was New Orleans. It was as close to a shoo-in as there ever seemed to be because the Crescent City had been 10 for 10 in previous Super Bowl pitches. New Orleans was a sentimental favorite for a couple of reasons. First is that the city would be celebrating its’ 300th anniversary that year and no one can party quite like the folks in Big Easy.
Secondly, Saints’ owner Tom Benson is getting up there in age. He’s currently 88 years old and many believe he deserves to see one final Super Bowl in the city he has done so much for over the years.
By selecting Minneapolis, the NFL again sets its’ biggest stage in a city where cold weather is the norm. The average high in that part of the country in February is around 26 degrees and quite frankly that’s on a good day. By hosting Super Bowl LII, the Vikings will become the second host team in the previous four years to be hosting in their brand spanking new stadium. In February of 2016, Super Bowl XLIX will be played in San Francisco’s new Levi’s Stadium.
The Vikings are in the midst of building a new domed stadium which the Wilf Family will be thrilled to show off. While the stadium is under construction, the Vikings will play at TCF Bank Stadium on the campus of the University of Minnesota.
There have already been several suggestions that this move was politically motivated due to several factors ranging from further concussion lawsuits to the HGH and marijuana debate as well. As a ‘reward’ for getting the Super Bowl, several prominent Minnesota congresspersons would then play nice should any of the previously mentioned topics come before Congress.
Whether true or just typical hyperbole, it wouldn’t surprise me one bit and it shouldn’t surprise you either.
Playoff Expansion Shelved for One Year At Least
Fans like myself did get a small victory from yesterday’s Owners’ Meetings as they voted not to expand the playoffs for this upcoming season. The bad news is that in his comments after the meetings, Roger Goodell said he believes an expanded playoff will be in place for 2015.
If you needed any further proof that Goodell, the owners and the NFL in general are about money above all else then playoff expansion is your evidence. This is supposed to be the commissioner who was about ‘player safety.’ Instead, Goodell will put two more teams (one from each conference) into the playoffs.
This will push the total number of teams in each conference making the postseason to seven which creates a ridiculous playoff bracket. What it means is that you will presumably have only the top seed getting a bye week while the other six qualifiers play week one of the playoffs. Again I must ask, “How is this safer for the players?”
Goodell will float the idea of dropping the number of preseason games from four to three or even two, but you and I both know that will be nothing but hot air. The 14 teams in the playoffs will move the NFL closer to hockey and basketball where half or more of the teams make the postseason.
That’s why professional football was always different. Good regular seasons meant the reward of the playoffs. Teams that are .500 or worse should not be in the postseason. Then again, I’m sure Goodell will consider this right? Wrong.