The Falcons decided to hold an “historic” (quoting from a news release) ground-breaking for their new stadium Monday night, complete with fireworks. It was a curiously timed event in that the team has already bulldozed the first of two churches to make room for the stadium and has been plowing land for several weeks.
But NFL owners were in town for spring meetings so actually it makes perfect sense. This was all for show. It was for Falcons owner Arthur Blank to try to change the talking points in Atlanta for residents who still may be unhappy about public money being used for his palace, and/or are possibly still hungover from last year’s 4-12 season. It was also to try to start to build momentum for the city getting another Super Bowl.
Let me address the Super Bowl issue one last time: It’s in the bag.
You’re going to hear a lot about how Atlanta has so much to overcome because an ice storm has already wrecked one Super Bowl week (in 2000), and the city’s and state’s response to the last winter blast bordered on Stooge-like. (It’s never good when you’re the lead story on Comedy Central’s “The Daily Show.”) There’s no question Blank and Atlanta’s Super Bowl bid committee will need to submit a 78-point plan should a storm hit game week again.
But the NFL has a history of rewarding owners and cities that build new stadiums with a Super Bowl. If Blank doesn’t get his Super Bowl in 2019 — the earliest Atlanta it eligible — it will happen soon after.
But that’s no guarantee for the future Super Bowls. It’s more likely Atlanta will then be pushed to the background as a candidate city, as owners will always prefer warm weather climates in the winter — Florida, Arizona and New Orleans.
Just guessing: The best case scenario is one Super Bowl every 10 years. That would be two in 20 years.
And if recent history means anything, then it would be time for a new stadium again.
Meanwhile, if you missed “South Parked”