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Monday, June 14, 2021

Dallas Cowboys, Arlington want another Super Bowl run. Here’s what stands in the way.

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Mac Engel, Fort Worth Star-Telegram, (TNS)

When AT&T Stadium opened in 2009, no one could have predicted that by 2021 DFW would have hosted the same number of Rose Bowls as Super Bowls.

By the time 2022 ends DFW will have hosted more WrestleManias than Super Bowls.

Not long before the stadium opened, Cowboys owner Jerry Jones said he was in the “business of hosting Super Bowls.” But the Cowboys hosting Super Bowls is going almost as well as reaching them.

Ten years since hosting one of the most unfortunate, problem-laden Super Bowls ever, Arlington is not on the docket for another.

“(The Cowboys) have asked us (Arlington) if we want to go back after the Super Bowl and absolutely we do. We stand ready to mobilize for it,” Arlington Mayor Jeff Williams said in a phone interview. “It’s one of the most frequent questions I get is when are we going to get another Super Bowl. I think North Texas is ready to get it back.

“We’ve hosted every other major event. We’ve risen to be the entertainment and sports capital of the nation. We can handle the big events. We want another chance to show we can do it, because we can.”

Despite this convincing sales pitch, the NFL awarding Arlington another Super Bowl is not a given.

AT&T Stadium isn’t the issue.

This is between Jerry and the NFL. There is nothing Arlington, Dallas or Fort Worth can do.

“We are always going to be involved in the process of trying to bring the Super Bowl back to North Texas. Over the course of the past 12 years, AT&T Stadium, the NFL’s largest venue, has shown its worthiness in hosting the very biggest and best events that the sports and entertainment worlds have to offer,” Cowboys vice president Stephen Jones said in a statement to the Star-Telegram.

Other than the Republican National Convention, AT&T Stadium has hosted nearly every major event on America’s sports calendar (don’t think the Democrats are coming here).

“We know the NFL has a process and a current queue in place for future sites, but we will remain active participants in presenting our stadium and our region as a future host,” Stephen Jones said. “We understand and embrace the fact that the NFL maximizes the interest in the Super Bowl by moving the game around to so many of our league’s great markets as that only serves to make the game more valuable and appealing and gives fans in places all over the country a taste of the Super Bowl experience.”

Previously, one of the obstacles to hosting another Super Bowl has been that the NFL wants Jerry and the Cowboys to give up a home game to play in the NFL’s London series.

Jerry has no problem with the Cowboys playing across the pond, provided they are the “visiting” team.

He’s not giving up a home game, for the obvious reasons: That’s one less game of guaranteed revenue. That’s one less game of 90-plus thousand fans who pay for tickets, parking, hot dogs, beer and merchandise.

The DFW area may make millions by hosting a Super Bowl, whereas the Cowboys won’t make much.

If he agreed to give up a home game, and the NFL could showcase its most valuable franchise in Europe for a few days, Arlington may magically move ahead of the Super Bowl line.

Right now, DFW is not scheduled to host another Super Bowl. The NFL has sites selected for Super Bowl 56 in ‘22 (LA), Super Bowl 57 in ‘23 (Glendale, Ariz.), and Super Bowl 58 in ‘24 (New Orleans).

Since Arlington hosted the game on Feb. 6, 2011, no city has hosted the Super Bowl twice.

That’s going to change soon; Glendale hosted it in 2015, and New Orleans in ‘13. Miami hosted it in ‘10 and ‘20.

Expect Los Angeles and now Las Vegas to receive preferential treatment, like Miami, New Orleans and Glendale. More reliable February weather plus locales that are built for tourism make all of those cities more attractive.

The hope was when AT&T Stadium opened in 2012 it would join the NFL unofficial rotation.

As many are unable to forget, when we hosted the Super Bowl in ‘11, between the Packers and Steelers, we were hit with Green Bay like weather.

Snow. Frigid temperatures. Wind. Ice.

Typically this stuff melts in about day. But a “Canadian summer” arrived seven days before kickoff, and didn’t melt and thaw until the afternoon before the game.

“I’ve lived here all my life and we’ve never had weather like we had that time,” Williams said. “That is not normal at all.”

AT&T Stadium also had major issues with its infamous seat fiasco that resulted in a class action lawsuit, and a $76,000 settlement.

Since that Super Bowl came and went Arlington has added new hotels, a new baseball facility and an entertainment district, Texas Live!, a few hundred yards from AT&T Stadium’s east end zone.

“We are building a lot around it that makes Arlington an even better Super Bowl destination,” Williams said.

Arlington has spent/built whatever necessary to lure the Super Bowl back, and now the rest is between Jerry and the NFL.

©2021 Fort Worth Star-Telegram.
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