Ralph Morton calls it 6 degrees of separation, and the Seattle Sports Commission’s executive director doesn’t think it’s a good enough reason for excluding CenturyLink Field as a future Super Bowl site.
The Seattle Seahawks’ home stadium can meet all but one of the NFL’s requirements to host a Super Bowl. Host cities with open-air stadiums are expected to have an average February temperature of 50 degrees. In Seattle, the average high is 44 degrees.
“I just don’t know how we could play a football game here on a day like today,” Morton said Friday, tongue firmly in cheek. “Players might get too much sunshine in their eyes.”
It was 50 degrees and sunny in Seattle on Friday at 3:30 p.m., the standard time for a Super Bowl kickoff. In East Rutherford, N.J., host of Feb. 2’s Broncos-Seahawks game, it was partly cloudy and 16 degrees with a gale warning in effect.
This has some, including Sports Illustrated, wondering: If the NFL can make an exception for New Jersey, why not the Northwest?
The magazine posted an article Friday morning on its website listing nine places it would like to see host a Super Bowl. London topped the list. Seattle was second, followed by Chicago, Denver, Pittsburgh, Washington, D.C., Austin, Texas, Las Vegas and Honolulu.
The Seattle Sports Commission will send a delegation to New York next week to observe the hosting process.
Morton said Seattle is not formally preparing a Super Bowl bid, but “we are trying to position ourselves so we can put it in when the time is right.”
When will the time be right?
“I don’t know,” Morton said. “Everything needs to align just right. It’s going to come down to the Seahawks and (owner) Paul Allen (wanting to place a bid). And the community will need to step up in a major way.
“… It will be a significant effort, not something to be taken lightly.”
Seattle used to be a regular player in the Super Bowl sweepstakes after the Kingdome opened in 1976, but it gave up after losing five bids in 12 years.
“It’s like being engaged for 12 years and then being jilted,” Bill Sears, organizer of the Seattle bid, told the Associated Press when it was edged out by Minneapolis to host Super Bowl XXVI.
The NFL requires Super Bowl hosts to have a 70,000-seat stadium. CenturyLink seats 67,000 (the Seahawks average 68,197 fans this season) but capacity can be expanded to 72,000 for special events.
Host cities are also required to have at least 25,000 hotel rooms. There are more than 34,000 in King County, according to visitseattle.org.
That leaves those six degrees of separation.
“If you decide to put in a bid and you don’t meet one requirement then you better knock it out of the park in another area,” Morton said.
And that’s something Morton says the Northwest can do. Seattle has hosted the NCAA men’s basketball championship five times. Sammamish hosted the PGA Championship in 1998. University Place will host the U.S. Open in 2015.
“We have things that are more important (than average temperature),” Morton said. “Hotels, destinations, character, food, salmon, crab, microbrews, wine, walkability downtown and light rail that’s expanding so we could have events at the University of Washington and Seattle Center. Seventy percent of the seats (at CenturyLink) are covered and it’s a great football experience.
“… I’m biased, but I think we’d knock it out of the park.”
FUTURE SUPER BOWL SITES
- 2015 Glendale, Ariz.
- 2016 San Francisco
- 2017 Houston
- 2018 Finalists: Miami, New Orleans, Minneapolis, Indianapolis and Tampa.
METRO AREAS TO HOST SUPER BOWLS PAST AND FUTURE
New York will become the 15th metropolitan area to host a Super Bowl when the Seahawks and Broncos play Feb. 2. It’s the first to break from the NFL’s history of choosing hosts with warm weather and/or a domed stadium.
Metro Area: No. of Super Bowls
- Miami 10
- New Orleans 10
- Los Angeles 7
- Tampa 4
- Houston 3
- Phoenix 3
- San Diego 3
- Atlanta 2
- Detroit 2
- San Francisco 2
- Dallas 1
- Indianapolis 1
- Jacksonville 1
- Minneapolis 1
- New York 1