Minneapolis will host the 2018 Super Bowl after a vote by owners Tuesday rewarded the city for its new stadium deal.
The owners chose Minneapolis and the $1 billion US stadium planned for the site of the old Metrodome to host the championship over New Orleans and Indianapolis.
"It's been 10 years and we've always been driving to build a stadium," Vikings owner Zygi Wilf said. "We can rejoice right now for being rewarded this, but the hard work comes now."
New Orleans bid committee members believed the new Minneapolis stadium, set to open in 2012, swung the vote. The stadium will hold up to 72,000 for the Super Bowl.
"The new stadium was absolutely the deciding factor," Jay Cicero said. "Any time that there is so much public support for a $1 billion stadium, the NFL owners are impressed.
"We did everything we were supposed to do, had a fantastic presentation. In the end we think the stadium did it."
The big game will be staged in the Twin Cities for the second time. It was there in 1992, when Washington beat Buffalo.
"It extends our calendar," bid chair Marilyn Carlson Nelson said. "We can demonstrate to people they can have a fantastic time in Minnesota. We really like a party with a purpose."
Owner's troubles hurt Indy?
Owners needed four ballots to choose Minneapolis, with Indianapolis the first city eliminated. Indy was praised for a highly successful 2012 Super Bowl, but could have been hurt by the recent legal troubles of Colts owner Jim Irsay.
Irsay underwent treatment after he was arrested and accused of having $29,000 in cash and bottles of prescription drugs in his car. He made his first public appearance since the arrest.
Irsay said Indianapolis will bid again.
"Before, we had to lose one to get one," he said, noting Indy fell short in previous bids before landing the 2012 game. "It will take persistence and we know we have the type of people who will be that."
New Orleans was considered the favorite and has staged the Super Bowl 10 times, tied with South Florida for the most. Its bid might have been damaged by the blackout that interrupted the 2013 title game.
Next year's game is in Glendale, Arizona, followed by Santa Clara, California, for the 50th Super Bowl, then Houston.
Earlier at their spring meetings, NFL owners tabled a vote expanding the playoffs to 14 teams.
There is strong sentiment among the owners to add a wild-card team in each conference to the post-season, most likely beginning in 2015. Such a setup would eliminate one of the first-round byes, with only the team with the best record in each conference getting a week off at the beginning of the playoffs.
New York Giants owner John Mara, who is against adding more playoff teams, said the topic probably will come up for more discussion in October.
"I don't think it's a sure thing at all," Mara said of going to 14 playoff teams. "It's probably more likely than not, but nothing is set in stone. There was no straw poll taken. … I think it's good the way we have it."
The players' union says it needs to be consulted on an expanded postseason, and Mara said that would happen at some point if the owners decide to expand the playoff field.
A committee examining the time, length and site of the draft reported to the owners. Commissioner Roger Goodell has said the league is considering several options:
- Keeping the draft in May; it drew record TV ratings this year after it was moved back two weeks from its usual late April slot.
- Adding a fourth day.
- Moving it from its traditional spot in New York to a variety of NFL cities, with a dozen already having expressed interest.
"If I was king of the world, I'd put it right back where it was," Mara said, referring to the April dates.
In other matters, new director of football operations Troy Vincent hired three advisers, including Hall of Fame linebacker Mike Singletary. Vincent, a former All-Pro defensive back, also hired former NFL player and coach Jimmy Raye and former player and general manager Mike Reinfeldt.
Among other chores, the three new hires will serve as liaisons to league coaches and front-office personnel.
"These men bring sound wisdom, football experience and insight that helps us support our clubs and coaches, as well as grow and develop our players and game," Vincent said.