Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Let Them Play at Home!!

Next month, fans in Chicago or Philadelphia, Boston or Los Angeles will get to watch their team capture a league championship in their home arena. If they are season ticketholders, they won't even have to switch their courtside or rinkside seats to witness hisotry. They will be able to work the day of the game--drive a few miles to the arena and then celebrate in their hometown bars and restaurants afterwards. And if they feel good enough, can go right back to work the next day.

But for many fans of the NFL, that is something they will never get to experience. For them, the Super Bowl is hopelessly out of reach--either because of the expense of traveling to the neutral site--or the NFL never considering their city to host the big game.

For decades, the NFL ruled out cities north of a select few states unless they had a domed stadium--and even then, it has been a one-and-done for Minneapolis--and a double shot for Detroit just because they switched domes. "We can't have weather--cold or rain and snow--be a factor in our biggest game of the year" NFL officials would say. That is apparently until now.

Today, NFL owners will likely award the 2014 Super Bowl to the new football stadium outside of New York city. The new stadium--which amazingly doesn't have a corporate title yet--does not have a dome--meaning the weather will be a factor in the game. As was pointed out ad nauseum on ESPN Radio yesterday, in the first week of February this year, New York City saw almost two feet of snow. Unless the NFL has hired Al Gore as their climate expert, you cannot rule out similar weather for the Super Bowl as well.

So if that issue is no longer pertinent to the NFL--why not open up the bidding to host the Super Bowl to all teams in the league? Chicago, Kansas City, Boston and Pittsburgh could certainly handle the crowds--Green Bay--maybe not. But they are just as important a city to the league than any other. Or let's go the route of every other major professional sport in the US and let the teams involved in the title contest play at home--in front of their fans--not just executives from major corporate sponsors and stars of shows of whatever network is broadcasting the game that year.

If the Packers somehow ever make it back to the Super Bowl, you could call it the "Throwback NFL Championship Game". No giant corporate tents, no Super Bowl Saturday Night Concert, no Celebrity Touch Football Classic. Just two teams playing in the biggest game in sports--in front of the most passionate fans in the world.

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