It’s good to have friends in high places. Few have friends in higher places than Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel, what with a buddy named Obama who lives in a big white house on Pennsylvania Avenue. Buoyed by the success of the recent NATO summit, Mayor Emanuel made a pitch to NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell to bring the Super Bowl to Chicago.
Commissioner Goodell was in town to help honor Soldier Field as the first LEED NFL stadium, which means they are a green stadium right down to recycling their dirt. No, I’m not making that up.
The stadium even recycles its dirt. When Soldier Field is re-sodded, all of the material removed from the playing field is reused in landscape projects onsite or placed in the fields where the playing field sod is harvested.
Hit the jump to see a clip of Da Commish discussing bringing a Super Bowl to Chicago.
It’s not entirely out of the question that a Super Bowl could be brought to Chicago. New York will get “the big game” in 2014 to show off the new
Meadowlands Metlife Stadium that was just rebuilt last year.
Other cold weather cities have hosted the Super Bowl, including Indianapolis, which did a terrific job hosting the 150,000+ fans that descended upon the city during the festivities just a few short months ago. But Lucas Oil Stadium, like most other cold weather city sites that have hosted the game, have a dome or retractable roof. They also lucked out with terrifically mild weather. Detroit didn’t have the same luck when they hosted Super Bowl XVI. The New York Super Bowl will set the tone for future games in cities that aren’t New Orleans or San Diego.
Rahmbo is trying to bring the game here and that’s commendable, but the Cubs have a better chance of getting to the Word Series this year than Chicago has of getting a Super Bowl. Yes, this is a world class city that can put together a world class event. Chicago in early February is quite different than Chicago in May.
Besides the cold weather for the game itself, the logistics of putting this together are a nightmare. Media can set up in the adjacent McCormick Place and many of the fan events can take place in that area right next to Soldier Field too. Shutting down downtown Chicago for a day or two over a weekend is quite different than putting on a weeklong Super Bowl party when unpredicatable weather can shut the city down when no one’s visiting .
All of this could be more feasible if the Bears and the city had done Soldier Field right the first time. The capacity of the stadium is the lowest in the NFL, below the minimum the league states they require and adding temporary capacity seems like a nightmare. If they had put a roof on the “mistake by the lake” (and all of you Bear weather people, feel free to come after me), Chicago could be hosting Big Ten Championship games, Final Fours and other huge national and global events. Instead, they host a few Public League high school football games, an occasional soccer match and a concert or two a year besides the 10 Bears games. By the time they hit late October, the field is usually just painted, recycled dirt. Who knows, if Rahm is serious about getting a Super Bowl, maybe he’ll pop for some artificial turf? Otherwise, my hope is that the closest Chicago gets to a Super Bowl is to have the Beloved in New Orleans in 2013.