MINNEAPOLIS -- In his annual state of the NFL address Friday, commissioner Roger Goodell largely sidestepped the issue of whether the league will award more Super Bowls to cold-weather sites.
Technically, that issue wouldn't affect the Minnesota Vikings' Super Bowl bid, anyway, since the game would be played indoors -- though it might be hard to convince people who would come to the Twin Cities in the days leading up to the game that the weather is a non-factor.
But Goodell did make one point that I thought was instructive to Minnesota's chances of hosting Super Bowl LII.
"There's such a demand for Super Bowls right now," he said when asked about the possibility of including first-time venues in the league's rotation. "The cities that are going to get multiple Super Bowls is limited."
This is largely a gut feeling, but to me, that means two things: The chances of Minnesota being awarded the 2018 Super Bowl in a couple months are good, and the chances of that Super Bowl being the only one the Vikings' new stadium hosts are also considerable.
The Vikings and the state of Minnesota were adamant about not building an open-air stadium in part so they could land major events like Super Bowls, Final Fours and NCAA college football championship games, and the new facility should have the infrastructure to bring each of those events to town, at least once. Considering the fact that four of the six Super Bowls from 2011 to 2016 are being played in new venues -- and the fact the Vikings are competing against two repeat hosts (Indianapolis and New Orleans) for Super Bowl LII -- it seems like the trend would be heading in the Vikings' direction to get the 2018 game.
But consider how many recently-built stadiums either have enclosed or retractable roofs -- and how many cities with milder winters than Minnesota's have been emboldened by this year's game being in the New York area. Would Washington, for example, be able to make a play for a Super Bowl, putting it just outside the nation's capital in a stadium that seats nearly 90,000 people? Could Philadelphia make the same kind of case? The fact that there's precedent now for the big East Coast markets to get in the Super Bowl game probably hurts Midwestern cities like Minneapolis and Detroit, because the winter weather isn't quite as harsh and the infrastructure for big corporate events before the game is already there. And the league will undoubtedly return to reliable warm-weather sites like Arizona, Houston, Tampa and New Orleans, which means the game could be spread around more than it ever has.
Essentially, if Sunday's game goes off without a hitch -- and the forecast right now looks pretty seasonable -- it could serve to dilute the pool of possible Super Bowl sites. I'd be willing to bet the 2018 Super Bowl will be in Minneapolis, but I'd be much less likely to put money on the chances of the Vikings' new stadium getting the game on a semi-regular basis.