The NFL will conduct its annual spring meetings next week in Boston and one of the hot topics that will be of interest to Vikings fans will be whether Minnesota will be selected as the host of Super Bowl LI (that's 51 to those who haven't applied the always-hip Roman numerology lately).
The meetings are expected to produce a selection for Super Bowl L and LI. The first of those will have no impact on Minnesota's bid to land a Super Bowl because Super Bowl L will come after 2015 season. The new Vikings stadium won't be completed by then, but the first year the new stadium will be in play (2016) will be the season that culminates in Super Bowl LI.
While it is believed that when Commissioner Roger Goodell visited the Minnesota State Legislature last year when the stadium funding plan appeared dead he gave a strong indication that Minnesota would land a Super Bowl if it was built, 2016 may be a bit premature for fans to get their hopes too high.
Many new stadiums have played host to the Super Bowl, recently Dallas and Indianapolis being among them, but they didn't come in the first year that the new stadiums opened. The NFL wants to be sure that everything functions properly and that no unforeseen problems will occur that could cause issues for the league's marquee event.
As a result, the Minnesota bid for a Super Bowl may have to wait until the awards are made for Super Bowl LII or LIII, which may be more realistic than hoping to get the bid for Super Bowl LI.
Another issue that will be discussed is a proposal to turn the Pro Bowl game into a draft format – where two captains select players in a schoolyard pick 'em. It is hoped the new format will help revive interest in the game that fans largely ignore.
The league has attempted different formats to increase interest in the NFL all-star game, including moving it to the host city of the Super Bowl and playing it the week in between the conference title games and the Super Bowl. The league also tried to increase fan interest by threatening to cancel the game altogether – sending a message to players that they need to try harder or the game will be eliminated completely.
It's unclear whether the draft format will get the needed votes to be adopted or if it will remain an AFC vs. NFC game under the draft format, which would likely bring more talented current players to the game rather than aging veterans with high name recognition. The draft concept could also make it more difficult for players to turn down their bid to play in Hawaii, which has become as big an issue as the lack of intensity and effort in the game itself.
The agenda for the owners meetings will include discussions of pending stadium issues, security questions, potential rules changes and a potential increase in an international presence for the league.
While Vikings fans will likely be most interested in the potential to land Super Bowl LI, they shouldn't have their hopes set too high, because either Super Bowl LII or LIII is a more realistic goal.
John Holler has been writing about the Vikings for more than a decade for Viking Update. Follow Viking Update on Twitter and discuss this topic on our message boards. To become a subscriber to the Viking Update web site or magazine, click here.
Super Bowl sites voted on next week
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