Like Houston and Jacksonville, Indianapolis has come to be one of my homes-away-from-home as I’ve covered the AFC South since 2008.
I was fortunate to spend Wednesday, Thursday and Friday in Naptown, and there was not a lot of napping going on.
I wrote a year ago after the Dallas/Fort Worth debacle that Indianapolis would be superior.
Logistics are key for a Super Bowl. If things are too spread out, buses and roads and traffic come too much into play. Indy’s downtown is perfectly spaced for people to be able to walk to everything -- from Lucas Oil Stadium, to the NFL Experience, to the zip line that drew rave reviews and looked like a blast, to the media center, to the city’s core of restaurants, bars and hotels.
I thought police mishandled traffic, both pedestrian and automotive. My two-year old had a better handle of flow than they did. Otherwise, this top complainer couldn’t find anything to complain about. I have not been to another cold-weather city Super Bowl. I cannot imagine a better setup and execution.
My blog network colleagues were kind enough to quickly respond to my email asking for their reviews. I understand media reviews don’t serve as the end-all, be-all. But get a bunch and they can be largely representative of the overall feel.
Dan Graziano, NFC East blogger: “They were so happy and proud to have the game, and it showed all week. They were organized, polite, unfailingly helpful and friendly, from the time we arrived and right up through airport security on Monday morning. I'd go back in a second for a Super Bowl there.”
James Walker, AFC East blogger: “Indianapolis was very organized and the people were gracious. They exceeded my expectations and definitely upstaged Dallas/Ft. Worth as a hosting Super Bowl city. The good fortune with weather also made for a great experience.”
Jamison Hensley, AFC North blogger: “Hospitality and convenience couldn't have been better in Indianapolis. You could sense the pride that the city had in hosting the event. That said, I wouldn't put it ahead of New Orleans, Miami or San Diego (new stadium needed) in terms of Super Bowl cities.”
Mike Sando, NFC West blogger: “This was my 14th Super Bowl experience and easily one of the best. The JW Marriott was a well-equipped SB headquarters hotel with 1,000-plus rooms. Downtown was hopping all week. The close proximity of the relevant hotels and restaurants enabled that feel and allowed for short walks between destinations. Volunteers were plentiful and helpful. Indy deserved the fortunate weather that made this pretty much a perfect week.”