All of the stars seem to be aligning for a successful bid – literally and figuratively – as Super Bowl L will be held the same year as the 50th anniversary of the Miami Dolphins. South Florida, along with the city of New Orleans, has hosted more Super Bowls (10) than any other city in America.
So in order to create a stronger position of power, Chair of the South Florida Super Bowl Bid Committee Rodney Barreto introduced Hall-of-Fame quarterbacks Bob Griese and Dan Marino and future Hall-of-Famer Jason Taylor as honorary co-chairs. The introductions took place this morning at a press conference held on Biscayne Bay at the Intercontinental Hotel at the same time as the unveiling of the new logo.
“We need to reach out to all four corners of the five-county region and make sure that we’ve got everything on the table because a 50th anniversary only comes around once in our lifetime,” said Barreto, who has been involved with the Super Bowl Bid and Host Committees for 24 years. “If you can get Marino to call someone then we’re going to get in for that meeting and if you get Jason Taylor or Bob Griese reaching out then you get the same result. We’ve got some really big heavy hitters and that just adds to the excitement. It shows the importance of this process and the bid.”
Taylor was flanked by Griese and Marino at the front of the stage with Biscayne Bay serving as the backdrop and the other key committee members and government officials behind them. Among those present were Mayor Carlos Gimenez of Miami-Dade County, City of Miami Mayor Tomas Regalado and Miami Gardens Mayor Oliver Gilbert.
In the past for previous Super Bowl bids, Barreto had reached out to Marino and Hall-of-Fame Head Coach Don Shula in an informal capacity, but as important as this Super Bowl bid is he knew that more name recognition and influential voices were a must. Taylor, who retired last January after 15 NFL seasons (13 with the Dolphins) still couldn’t believe he was being included,
“It was a huge honor and a little unexpected when I got the call from (Dolphins CEO) Mike Dee and (Senior Vice President) Nat Moore to do it,” Taylor said. “You expect Dan Marino and Bob Griese to be on it because they were the face of this franchise for so many years. I’m still trying to figure out why I’m in their same company but I’m very, very honored to be there and I’ve got to stop sitting back as a fan and looking at those guys as a fan and realize that I’m here to add what I can.”
Taylor and Griese echoed Marino’s sentiment regarding the thought that every Super Bowl should be held in Miami because all the area has to offer, from perfect weather to golf, hotels, restaurants and a diverse culture. They kept their comments focused on the whole area as Barreto explained that a decision still has not been made as to where the “urban core” the National Football League is looking for will be.
The Committee is hearing bids from downtown Miami and Dade County as well as Broward County, with downtown Fort Lauderdale and Las Olas a key part of their bid. Sun Life Stadium of course sits in the city of Miami Gardens, which will be hosting the upcoming Orange Bowl and BCS National Championship games, so Mayor Gilbert left no doubt that his city would be ready yet again to host a Super Bowl.
“In regards to the city, anytime we have an opportunity to welcome thousands and thousands and thousands of visitors to the city of Miami Gardens and they get to see the wonderful people that we have and experience our hospitality it’s an honor,” Mayor Gilbert said. “This is old hat for us and we’re used to hosting large sporting events and anytime we get an opportunity to put our hospitality, our residences and our businesses on display I’m always happy. I’m a big Dolphins fan and their perfect season in 1972 was the year I was born, so to host the 50th Super Bowl on their 50th anniversary would be spectacular.”
Dee has played an integral role with the Super Bowl Bid Committee since joining the Miami Dolphins organization four years ago and has truly gotten a grasp on what this area has to offer. He now has a grasp on what it will take to win out over the cities of San Francisco and Santa Clara, Miami’s only opponent for Super Bowl L. The city of Houston is waiting in the wings to take on whichever city loses for Super Bowl LI.
“What you see is a community wide effort, community wide support and that’s what's important with something like this,” Dee said. “The community needs to be knitted together and stand together to go after a bid of this size, scope and scale against a competitor like San Francisco/Santa Clara or a Houston if we’re unsuccessful with the 50th. So it’s gratifying to see that people recognize the impact of this event and we’ll see it on full display with the BCS event coming up in a couple of weeks, which will be akin to a Super Bowl in many ways. This bid needs to be well thought out and well presented and that’s what we’re focused on.”
Mayor Gimenez invoked memories of the first Super Bowl held at the Orange Bowl in 1968 between the Green Bay Packers and Oakland Raiders when they had giant inflatable gladiator replicas of a Packers player and a Raiders player on the field. And Mayor Regalado pointed out that when the Dolphins were born the tallest building in downtown Miami was the Freedom Tower on Biscayne Boulevard, emphasizing how much the city has grown with the team.
Since Griese was there at the beginning, drafted in the first round of the 1967 NFL Draft out of Purdue in the Dolphins’ second season, he provided a unique perspective on the city and on how much the Super Bowls have changed. He played in three consecutive Super Bowls (VI, VII and VIII), losing the first and winning the next two, so he best summed up the reason why he believes Miami should win the bid.
“When I think about the Super Bowl, the players love South Florida for the Super Bowl and the players want to come,” Griese said. “The coaches want to come to South Florida and the owners, they like this area. You’ve got golf, you’ve got tennis, you’ve got sunshine, you’ve got beaches and you’ve got restaurants and the hotels. It’s exciting and South Florida during the Super Bowl time when the owners are here and the players are here and the Super Bowl is here, there’s no comparison whatsoever. South Florida loves the Super Bowl and the Super Bowl loves South Florida.”
Now the clock really starts ticking, as the NFL will decide which city will be awarded Super Bowl L in Boston on May 22nd.