With the Dolphins not getting public money to upgrade Sun Life Stadium, it’s widely being assumed that South Florida will be shut out of the Super Bowl rotation.
The logic is simple, which makes it far easier for me to follow. The NFL has strongly suggested that Miami won’t get another Super Bowl without upgrading the stadium. The Dolphins, who have made a more clear link between the lack of upgrades and the absence of Super Bowls, have said the upgrades won’t happen without partial public money. The partial public money isn’t available. Thus, the upgrades won’t happen.
So future Super Bowls won’t happen, right?
While we’re told it’s “not very likely” that Miami will get additional Super Bowls without a stadium upgrade, it’s not impossible. Ultimately, the owners collectively decide where Super Bowls will be played.
Miami landed on the endangered Super Bowl species list after a continuous rainfall marred Super Bowl XLI between the Colts and the Bears. The league wants the paying customers to be protected from the South Florida elements — less than a year before the NFL will be subjecting the paying customers to the New Jersey elements.
That remains the biggest disconnect, in our view. It’s fine to drop the Super Bowl experience into Manhattan in the dead of winter, and to charge fans four figures to freeze while watching the game, but it’s no longer acceptable to spend a full week in Miami with the remote possibility that it will rain for four hours on Sunday night?
The problem for the league is that, if the owners relent and award additional Super Bowls to South Florida, the not-so-subtle “upgrade or else” mandate will come off as hollow. But by removing Miami from the rotation, the league necessarily won’t have as much leverage to squeeze every last penny out of the other potential Super Bowl locations.
Even now, the owners need Miami at the table in order to get the best possible deal out of San Francisco for Super Bowl L and Houston for Super Bowl LI. Likewise, it’s possible that Miami will launch a dramatic, eleventh-hour reconfiguration of its bid to give the NFL more money to make up for the lack of a stadium upgrade.
At a time when the NFL is trying to expand the universe of potential Super Bowl locations in order to have more bids to pit against each other, it makes no sense to slam the door on playing the game in one of the best places it can be played, regardless of whether the stadium is renovated.