Tampa Bay in play for 2015 Super Bowl

NFL team owners will get a glimpse of Tampa Bay when they arrive for Tuesday’s league meeting – in Houston.

They’ll see billboards shouting out Tampa Bay’s desire to host the 2015 Super Bowl. The group in charge of Tampa Bay’s presentation had two billboards installed between the highway leading from the airport to the hotel where the owners will be meeting.

Tampa Bay and Glendale, Ariz. (or the greater Phoenix area) are the two finalists for the 2015 game. But Tampa Bay may have an edge.

That’s because Tampa Bay narrowly missed out on the 2014 Super Bowl, which was awarded to the New York area and will be played in New Jersey. The league did not announce the result of that vote. But Tampa Bay officials and members of the Glazer family, which owns the Buccaneers, have said they were told by other owners and league officials that Tampa Bay finished a very close second.

History has shown that’s a good omen for Tampa Bay, which has hosted four Super Bowls. Back in the late 1990s, the league was voting on the site of the 2000 Super Bowl. Atlanta edged Tampa Bay in the vote, but Buccaneers owner Malcolm Glazer didn’t take that news well.

The normally-quiet Glazer provided a very strong reminder to former Commissioner Paul Tagliabue and other owners of a promise that Tampa Bay would get a Super Bowl if a new stadium was built. Raymond James Stadium opened in 1998.

Tagliabue and the other owners quickly made an adjustment and went ahead and awarded the 2001 game to Tampa Bay.