D.C. to be a Super Bowl host?
As you read this very column, the National Football League Board of Governors is meeting to choose the site of the 2008 Super Bowl. You may think that this isn't that big of a deal; after all, it is five years away.
But the decision of the board may have a tremendous effect on the D.C. area, as FedEx Field is one of the candidates to hold this most hallowed of all annual sporting events.
Bringing the Super Bowl to our nation's capital will not only bring economic benefits to the city but will solidify football as America's sport. Baseball may be our national pastime, but nothing brings American fans together like four quarters of sweat and pain that rival the gladiator match-ups of ancient Rome in intensity.
The NFL made it clear that it was interested in the D.C. area with its kickoff special this season on the National Mall. The event may have drawn its worth of criticism, but it did send out a clear message that the NFL is interested in D.C.
The possibility of a Super Bowl in D.C. also opens the door to any Northeastern city to bring the winter classic to their home. The NFL has been cautious about moving to an exterior stadium so far north, but recent actions definitely have shown that they are changing their mind. The mere fact that D.C. and, until recently, New York City were even considered as top candidates is proof enough that they may give it a try.
The NFL has already decided to try out a game in the north, as Detroit will host the 2006 Super Bowl in its beautiful domed field, unlike the open-air appeal of FedEx Field and Giants Stadium.
A cold-weather game in 2008 would allow Pittsburgh, Cleveland and Chicago to put their fields in the running. Being a native Pittsburgher, nothing would be better than the chance to catch a future Super Bowl from the stands of Heinz Field. Actually, seeing the Steelers play and win the gridiron championship would be better.
Critics of a cold-weather game have said that the game would be interrupted by any winter conditions. Snow would make the game almost unplayable.
If you believe this is true, you obviously missed the thrilling AFC Championship games over the past few years. The most notable was the match-up between the New England Patriots and Pittsburgh Steelers in New England. The snow crowded the sky as the two teams struggled on the field to earn the coveted berth to the Super Bowl.
The harsh weather, if anything, intensified the grudge match between the two teams, and any football fan will tell you that intensity is what you want.
The influence of just one Super Bowl in the D.C. area can have a myriad of potential benefits, from the strong feeling of sports pride in a town known for more plays made behind closed doors than on a field, to the economic boom that will hit this city from the Metro to the souvenir stands.
Even the political implications of a D.C. Super Bowl suit the city. Washington could use this contest as yet another place to showcase the disenfranchisement of citizens in the District. It could be the 2008 "Taxation without Representation" Super Bowl. Mayor Anthony Williams would eat that up.
And to all you AU students, it may seem far off and many of you will have graduated, but then of course some of you may still be here. Wouldn't it be great to visit the old alma mater, and just happen to catch the best football game of the year while you're in town? Just think about it, you know you would do it.
As the Board of Governors meetstoday, keep your fingers crossed for America's sport. And remember, even if D.C. doesn't get the 2008 Super Bowl, there's always next year.