MINNEAPOLIS -- The caravan of Twin Cities business leaders and Minnesota Vikings officials is on its way to Atlanta for the NFL's spring meetings this week, and we'll find out on Tuesday if the Vikings' new stadium will get to host Super Bowl LII in 2018, two years after its scheduled opening.
But if Minneapolis doesn't get the nod on Tuesday? Add another "I" and try again.
As hard as Minneapolis has pushed for the 2018 Super Bowl, touting a revamped downtown and what will be the NFL's newest stadium, the bid could get caught in the current of history. New Orleans -- which turns 300 in 2018 -- wants the game for an 11th time as part of its tricentennial celebration, and the Super Bowl's most frequent host usually gets what it wants. The city is 10-for-10 in Super Bowl bids, and the NFL might decide to award Super Bowl LII to New Orleans on Tuesday, with plans to award Super Bowl LIII to Minneapolis next year.
The league has made a habit of giving Super Bowls to cities that build new stadiums -- three of the last five Super Bowls have been in new buildings, with the 2016 game slated for the San Francisco 49ers' new home in Santa Clara, California -- but it's not unprecedented for the league to ask cities with a new building to wait a year. Indianapolis hosted its first Super Bowl in 2012, and was awarded the game a year after losing out to North Texas for the 2011 game. Minneapolis has the only new building in the field this time, competing against Indianapolis and New Orleans, but the Crescent City has centered its 2018 pitch around the suggestion the NFL could kick off a yearlong celebration by bringing the game back to what might be America's foremost party destination.
Can Minneapolis compete with that? Maybe, but it's easy to see NFL owners approaching the next two Super Bowl bids as a win-win; it awards the 2019 game to the Twin Cities a year from now, and capitalizes on New Orleans' tricentennial for 2018. The Vikings had initially bid on the 2018, 2019 and 2020 Super Bowls, and while the team had focused its initial effort on 2018, it wouldn't be surprising to see NFL owners tell the Vikings to come back for another try next year.