The NFL Owes Us One

April 12th, 2017

The sage of Tampa Bay sports, columnist eye-RAH! Kaufman, authors columns every Monday, Wednesday & Friday. His award-winning podcasts fire Tuesdays and Thursdays, and Kaufman is seen on Spectrum Sports every Monday. Ira also is renowned for his appreciation of Reisling, Bette Midler, french fries and his relationships with the biggest of big names in the NFL.


The NFL owes us one.

The last time the Bay area played host to a Super Bowl, Barack Obama had taken residence in the White House for less than two weeks. Liam Neeson was cracking dozens of Albanian skulls in the original “Taken.” Jameis Winston was a high school freshman.

It’s been awhile.

And that’s why Tuesday’s announcement regarding continued upgrades at Raymond James Stadium is so tantalizing.

With the next four Super Bowls locked into Minneapolis, Atlanta, South Florida and Los Angeles, the earliest the NFL’s showcase event can return to Tampa Bay is 2022.

That means a minimum 13-year gap between Super Bowls for a community that has repeatedly proven to be a big-time host for the biggest sports events.

“You ask around the NFL and this is still regarded as one of the top 10 venues in the country,” says Eric Hart, president and CEO of the Tampa Sports Authority. “Our amenities and design are going to stand the test of time.”

Tampa Bay has always been a willing partner to do the league’s bidding, but finishing second is getting a little old around here.

We narrowly lost out to New York for the 2014 game, the first Super Bowl played in a cold-weather, open-air stadium. Bay area officials knew we were a longshot because the New York bid had the firm backing of NFL commissioner Roger Goodell.

Still, we made those Big Apple honchos sweat.

When Arizona beat us out for the next available game, alarm bells went off in Tampa.. That’s the day we realized the Super Bowl may have passed us by.

Bad Hand

Last May, when three Super Bowl were awarded on the same afternoon, Tampa couldn’t compete with new stadiums going up in Atlanta and Los Angeles. A $400 million stadium facelift in South Florida put Dolphins owner Stephen Ross back at the poker table.

Meanwhile, we got a slap on the back for another good try.

The Glazers don’t like to rock the boat, but they also don’t like to be taken advantage of.

“The Tampa Bay area has distinguished itself as a top Super Bowl host over the years,” Bucs co-chair Bryan Glazer said 11 months ago when fellow owners gave us an 0-for-3 collar. “While today’s decision is disappointing, we remain confident that our area — with its rich sports history, strong tourism-based economy and ideal warm climate — will remain a strong contender for future consideration.”

The earliest Tampa Bay can play host to a Super Bowl is now 2022 — and that’s far from a sure thing. Although we’re ahead of New Orleans in the pecking order, the Big Easy is always an alluring competitor.

Don’t forget about a new facility planned for the Raiders in Las Vegas and never let your guard down when competing against Jerry Jones, who seems to have unusual sway over his fellow owners.

Big Sticks Required

All the Bucs can do is spend money and upgrade a facility which opened in 1998. The enhancements will benefit the local fan base from the start and could influence the outcome of future Super Bowl bids.

Bucs chief operating officer Brian Ford said he’s confident the new $150 million stadium renovation will attract larger events.

There are other factors, of course.

It doesn’t hurt that new hotels have sprouted up in the Bay area since the Steelers edged the Cardinals in that riveting 2009 matchup at RayJay. Billionaires like their perks and I don’t envision Robert Kraft or Arthur Blank playing 18 holes in Minneapolis before next year’s Super Bowl.

Ultimately, it could come down to the Glazers. A committed and driven owner can change hearts and minds.

A disinterested owner will end up on the side of the Super Bowl road as Jerry and his gang roar by.

17 Responses to “The NFL Owes Us One”

  1. Dewey Selmon Says:

    With Mons 1/2 mile down the road I’m surprised the SB isn’t here ever other year. Along with the draft, owners meetings, all 32 training camps etc….

  2. D-Rome Says:

    Completely agreed, Ira. The changes made last year should be enough to warrant another Super Bowl so to hear that the renovations are not yet completed certainly improves Tampa’s chances.

  3. Mike Johnson Says:

    Domes are the new thing. That new LA Dome stadium is gonna be outta this world. And AZ already has a great dome. With the price of a NFl Lticket being as high as it is. people want to not sweat, be cold or have to possibly put on a raincoat while watching players sweat on the field. Just sayin…..

  4. Fred E. Buc Says:

    There is only so much the Bucs can do to get a Super Bowl here. God knows, they are putting in $120 million of the owners own money against $29 million in tax payer funds authorized by the city/county. If they didn’t do that, we’d have a very generic venue and wouldn’t even be considered for the big game. Frankly, I see Bob Buckhorn and a host of liberals on the city councils and county commissions that come across as anti-business, anti-sports, and that doesn’t look good to the NFL. To the liberals’ credit, they push mass transit that this area has not had on par with other cities, and that doesn’t bode well for Tampa either in getting a Super Bowl because the conservatives and taxpayers aren’t having it. Then there is Rob Higgins (Tampa Sports Commission) leading the charge to pitch it for Tampa for the past iterations…while he’s been successful in the past…is a good and dynamic guy, I wonder if the message is stale, and recycled. Not to mention, this area has the absolute worst-in-industry local sports media. The WORST! Were it not for side orgs like JoeBucsFan doing actual research and real analysis and connecting on all issues, we’d be hurting. On a daily basis, we see TBT running down the local teams from guys like Jones and Stroud and Fenelly. the WORST. Why would the NFL want to make this place the showcase city their biggest event? We are sports town despite the crappy local media….not because of it. So…when we ask why…”why?” that’s my take. The old pitch, the old methods won’t work.

  5. BucTrooper Says:

    It’s tough to ignore the fact that some of the most memorable Super Bowls have taken place here. Forget weather and atmosphere… our town seems to foster the environment for a good game. There’s no science behind this statement but it seems to be true.

  6. LifeOfABucFan Says:

    Well I am one not to want the SB in Tampa..ever again..

    I don’t want to deal with fans from other teams..and don’t tll me it benefist the community, blah, blah, never benefitted me personally..

    The amount of extra driving time to get to my business of Dale Mabry in the past drove me freaking nuts! Wear and tear and wasting gas just to get from point A to B..

    Nah, take it elsewhere…

  7. Joe Says:

    With Mons 1/2 mile down the road I’m surprised the SB isn’t here ever other year.

    With Las Vegas now in the Super Bowl mix, the Vegas Strip makes the few Dale Mabry clothing-optional establishments look like Main Street, Mayberry USA.

  8. Dewey Selmon Says:

    Good point Joe, with LA, Vegas, NO and Miami always in the SB mix, I feel we need to get another SB soon or else it might be awhile… I am surprised Nashville never got one.

  9. Chris@Apple Roof Cleaning Tampa Says:

    Tampa is crowded, and getting worse. Traffic is at an all time high. And yet some people want to keep showcasing this place ?
    I don’t want another Super Bowl here, unless my Tampa Bay Bucs are in it.

  10. brendan Says:

    Vegas is a sure bet before we get another one

  11. DB55 Says:

    Fred E

    I think you have those numbers reversed. The Glaziers spent 28 mil of their own billions while the tax payer paid around $150mil.

  12. America's Commenter Says:

    Lots of things come down to the Glazer boys, and the Bucs haven’t enjoyed much success on the gridiron since Malcolm fell ill and passed away.

  13. Dusthty Rhothdes Says:

    The bay area just was highlighted with the national championship game that was outstanding and the weather in January/February is always postcard perfect, but can’t be sure the bay area even sees another super bowl with the mega stadiums that are popping up, not sure why minnesaota in february is a destination despite the new stadium

  14. Buc4Lyfe79 Says:

    Don’t hold your breath waitin Ira…The NFL still owes the Bucs a wildcard spot from 2010.

  15. SteelStudBuc Says:

    The Minnesota game is supposed to be a freezing cold outdoor game with a “legendary” game feel that makes the players and fans exited to brave the elements… look at the CFL …. the Grey cup played outdoors in Canada. … legendary!!!! Not by NFL standards legendary. .. but u can see why the Minnesota game gains appeal

  16. Fred E. Buc Says:

    DB55…no, numbers are not reversed. I’m talking about the three phase $150 million renovation, not the original purchase. Believe me…totally accurate…not to mention the Bucs picked up the tab on the maintenance of the old stuff while waiting to deliberate on a much nicer “super size” three phase plan going in.

  17. DB55 Says:

    Fred E.

    You’re right my fault.