Would you rather spend a February evening in New Jersey or Miami? Well apparently the NFL would rather spend their time in Jersey. Make no mistake, they’ll sell this like it’s a huge deal that New York City is getting the game. And why not, it has the bright lights and the big buildings and there’s no shortage of things to do. The only hitch is that the game is in New Jersey. So let’s not BS ourselves by calling the site of this Superbowl New York/New Jersey. It’s in Jersey.
But the real story, at least to me, is the NFL’s message that without adding a retractable roof the South Florida market won’t see regular Superbowls anymore. This is where I call bullshit. And I’m calling out the NFL for being a bunch of hypocrites. First of all the facts, the consensus around the meetings, according to Omar Kelly and Fins writer Andy Kent, was the South Florida Group’s presentation was by and far the best, even going so far as to contribute a million dollars towards operating expenses at the owner’s meeting as an act of good faith.
The NFL accepted that good faith, then proceeded to make South Florida the first candidate to be eliminated. Now let’s ignore for a second the fact that Sun Life Stadium just saw a 250 million dollar face-lift in 2007. Forget the continual work that Stephen Ross has done in improving the experience of fans at the stadiums (improvements like personal televisions at seats, which other stadiums are now considering). The NFL has the balls to tell the Dolphins and the South Florida area that despite the trying economic times and the recent multi-million dollar renovations that they need to put more taxpayer money into the stadium in order to continue to get the chance to host the Superbowl, and they do so while accepting a million dollar gift?
What stews you even more though is the fact that Tampa got no such treatment. Tampa, whose Raymond James stadium is newer than Sun Life, also has no retractable roof. Now I lived in Tampa for 11 years (Clearwater, actually) and I can tell you with a great degree of authority that the odds of getting rained on in Tampa are just as high as they are in Miami. New Jersey has no retractable roof. Not to mention, on the date the Superbowl has been played over the last five years the weather in Jersey has been on average mid-40’s with snow last year and rain in 2007. What’s better than dropping a few grand to go to the Superbowl and getting to sit through 40 degree rain in New Jersey? Dysentery. I would honestly rather crap myself to death than pay two grand to sit in cold rain for three hours in Jersey.
I wish Miami would call the NFL on its bullshit. The NFL profits more off of new stadiums with its business model (revenue sharing, hence Jerry Jones’ campaign to end it before his Cowboys opened their billion dollar palace last year). Now the owners are telling the citizens of South Florida that if they want to continue to host the Superbowl and enjoy the 350-400 million dollars of stimulus that it brings the area, they have to pay a few hundred million to put an ugly roof on top of what is in reality already a very nice stadium. And they do so knowing damn well they stand to pocket about 4-5 billion dollars in TV revenues despite locking the players out next year, which will deny all of the South Florida football fans they’re already trying to fleece a year of football.
Having a Superbowl venue with a roof isn’t even always a positive thing. The Superdome has a roof and it’s a complete dump. And why, seemingly every time the NFL plays the Superbowl in a dome they inexplicably shoot off ten minutes of fireworks and pyrotechnics at halftime, I do not know. But I do know that it must be nice to inhale smoke and enjoy decreased visibility through most of the third quarter while they try haplessly to suck the smoke out.
My point is this, if Miami wanted to play the game in the rickety old Orange Bowl (RIP) it would sell out. The fact the NFL is trying to leverage the Dolphins to dump more into their stadium (and by virtue of that they’ll make more money collectively) is downright criminal. Miami is a destination attraction. Does it rain? Yes, it actually is more of a shower pattern that tends to move on in a few hours. That’s nit-picking though. But it’s also going to be in the mid 70’s, hell maybe even the 80’s. But this isn’t about rain or a retractable roof. It’s about money. And they don’t think Miami’s spent enough lately. So let’s not pretend it’s anything else.
There is no way in hell you can tell me that in February an outdoor stadium in New Jersey is a better destination than Miami, Tampa and Arizona. Hell, ever. I wouldn’t want to go to Jersey over Miami, EVER. I don’t care if the new Meadowlands could make the Palace of Versailles blush with golden toilet seats and Ushers in tuxedos, it’s still Jersey in February. And the reason you give for eliminating South Florida is a retractable roof? Bullshit. Just be honest next time, “we want you to spend more money.”