Today and tomorrow may be two of the more important days in recent memory for both the Vikings and the State of Minnesota, as the NFL owners convene their spring meetings today in Atlanta.
Among the first items for discussion on the owners' agenda will be to award the bid for Super Bowl LII, which will take place following the 2017 season.
Minnesota is one of three finalists for the Super Bowl, along with New Orleans and Indianapolis. Vikings Vice President of Public Affairs Lester Bagley will be among the eight-member contingent laying out the case for Minnesota today with owners. Bagley will be joined by owners Zygi and Mark Wilf and five Minneapolis business leaders looking to convince owners that the Super Bowl should return to Minnesota – the Metrodome hosted Super Bowl XXVI in January 1992.
Bagley told Viking Update that the Minnesota contingent has a strong presentation to make and that, given New Orleans and Indianapolis have both hosted the Super Bowl in the past three years, Minnesota should stand a good shot. New Orleans has hosted the Super Bowl 10 times (tied for most of any city along with Miami), with the most recent being in 2013. Indianapolis played host in 2012.
"We believe we have a very strong proposal that the owners will like," Bagley said. "Our metro area of the Twin Cities is larger than New Orleans and Indianapolis combined and we've received a lot of support from both Minneapolis and St. Paul and surrounding communities. The Super Bowl is more than just the game itself. It is a week of activities that have become as much a part of Super Bowl week as the game itself and we have the facilities and the willingness of partners to make Super Bowl week an unqualified success."
There has been an ongoing belief that Commissioner Roger Goodell, whose visit with key legislators two years ago was pivotal to the change in mindset of the state government to get a stadium deal done, informally made a promise to the state that, if it approved a stadium funding package, Minnesota would land a Super Bowl.
Bagley said that the Vikings have been given no indication that their Super Bowl bid will be approved, but he is confident that the Minnesota proposal is the best one going.
"There have been those conversations that New Orleans and Indianapolis have both had recent Super Bowls, but we're not concerned with their proposals because our energy has been put in making the most of what Minnesota has to offer," Bagley said. "We believe we will get the bid for the Super Bowl based on the merits of our proposal."
Among the selling points against the potential for bad weather – don't use the term "polar vortex" around Bagley or the other members of the Super Bowl proposal team – is that expansion of the Minneapolis skyway system will connect just about every portion of downtown Minneapolis to the new stadium, allowing people to get around the city without ever stepping out into the February chill.
The committees in charge of making the proposals for Minneapolis, New Orleans and Indianapolis will make their pitches and have the decision announced Tuesday. While Vikings fans are keeping their fingers crossed that the Super Bowl will return to Minnesota after a 28-year absence, Bagley isn't planning his celebration before it's justified, but he is confident that the result will be positive.
"Clearly by being one of the finalists is a positive because it means the NFL is taking our bid package serious and sees merit in it," Bagley said. "I'm not sure what the other two cities will propose, but I would say it will be hard to meet the proposal we have submitted because we want to make the Super Bowl a showcase of both the NFL and the State of Minnesota and I think we have a proposal that could and hopefully will be accepted."
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.
Vikings prepared for Super Bowl proposal
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