The NFL will celebrate its 50th Super Bowl in northern California, where its newest, most high-tech venue is being built.
In two separate votes, NFL owners Tuesday went with the San Francisco Bay Area for the 2016 championship game and Houston for the 2017 game, both on the first ballot.
The San Francisco 49ers’ new home is set to open in 2014 in Santa Clara and will host the first Super Bowl in the area since 1985.
“We are so excited to be able to be able to put on the ‘Golden Super Bowl’ in the Golden State,” 49ers CEO Jed York said.
Never miss a local story.
They will stage it in what is being promoted as the most technologically advanced stadium in the world — Levi’s Stadium figures to be the first cashless, ticketless venue in NFL championship history, with WiFi capability for 75,000 people.
“After losing a Super Bowl (to Baltimore last February), it feels really good to win a Super Bowl,” York cracked.
The only previous Super Bowl played in northern California was at Stanford Stadium in 1985.
Houston’s Reliant Stadium played host before, in 2004, and is calling the 51st Super Bowl an international experience, including fans from Mexico.
“I think a lot of them just felt like, hey, it’s Houston’s time,” Texans owner Robert McNair said of his fellow owners. “They knew we could do a good job.”
The big loser in both votes was South Florida, where the Miami Dolphins are in the midst of a spat over expensive stadium renovations. But Dolphins owner Stephen Ross said South Florida “won’t stop trying” to get a Super Bowl.
Veteran cornerback Charles Woodson signed a one-year contract with the Raiders to return to his original team after leaving seven years ago for Green Bay as a free agent. Agent Carl Poston said Woodson’s deal could be worth as much as $4.3 million in 2013. … The NFL and Microsoft announced a multiyear agreement to enhance interactive TV viewing of games through Xbox consoles, mobile devices and tablets with SmartGlass technology. … Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo will miss at least three weeks of offseason workouts after a procedure to remove a cyst from his back. … Left tackle Max Starks agreed to a one-year contract with the Chargers to help protect quarterback Philip Rivers’ blind side. The 6-foot-8, 345-pound Starks spent his first nine seasons with the Steelers.