In early February, Super Bowl XLVIII was played in the New York / New Jersey area, the first time the big game had been played outdoors in a cold-weather market. This opened the window for every NFL city to throw their name into the hat as a possible host for future title tilts.
Currently, less than half of the league’s markets have hosted a Super Bowl, as only 15 metro areas can stake claim to having the game played on their soil. But that could change down the road, given the NFL’s newfound openness (to what extent remains somewhat of a mystery) to playing the game in less-than-ideal weather conditions.
So with that in mind, the editors at cover32 gathered to rate each of the league’s current markets, grading them based on how attractive they would be as a Super Bowl host city. Here are the results:
1. Miami – Stadium renovations are in the works, which will make the league happy, as they need all sorts of suites and amenities to schmooze corporate bigwigs. And there’s no better place for fans to hang out for a week, with great weather and nightlife abounding on South Beach.
2. San Diego – Qualcomm Stadium is an outdated facility that is quickly turning into a dump, but that’s the only thing wrong with having the game at the Chargers home. Fans and media alike enjoy spending time in the Gaslamp District.
3. Arizona – Aside from the fact that hosting the game in the desert creates an opportunity for people looking to make a political statement to have a platform, this is a top-notch option. University of Phoenix Stadium is an absolute gem.
4. New Orleans – Everything is in one area, with the Superdome within walking distance of Bourbon Street and most of the city’s hotels only a stone’s throw away, as well. No NFL city is better suited for hosting a party than the Big Easy.
5. Tampa Bay – There are some terrific nightlife options in the Tampa / St. Petersburg area, which will keep everyone happy. The stadium is new enough to not be a problem and the weather typically holds up pretty well.
6. San Francisco – In 2016, the Niners will get a chance to show off their new digs to the world, in just year two of Levi’s Stadium’s existence. But it’s not just the facility that will make that a great Super Bowl; the Bay Area is fantastic in every regard.
7. Jacksonville – The media complained when J-Ville hosted before because everything was too spread out, which is so typical of the whiny bunch that covers sports. It’s a nice city, with great weather and some very cool attractions within an hour drive.
8. Atlanta – Traveling to and from is a piece of cake, given the sheer magnitude of Hartfield-Jackson airport. That’s just one way in which Atlanta is very equipped to host a big-time event; heck, they pulled off the Summer Olympics in 1996.
9. Dallas – As was discovered four years ago, the weather in north Texas can be a little bit dicey in late-January. So while Jerry’s World is the ideal venue for the game, the rest of the week can be a tricky proposition due to potential ice storms.
10. Green Bay – If the league was going to put the Super Bowl in a cold-weather venue, it should have gone to Lambeau Field first; it’s the crown jewel of NFL stadiums, an iconic symbol of NFL history. Championships have been decided there before.
11. Houston – Reliant Stadium is a perfect venue, so that’s a plus. But Houston itself isn’t much of a destination; it’s a huge metro area, spread out all over the place, without a lot to offer in terms of fun diversions during the week leading up to the game.
12. Denver – Despite what most people think, it doesn’t snow every day in the Mile High City. In fact, a 60-degree day is nearly as likely in early February as a blizzard. Plus, a little getaway up to the ski resorts prior to the game would make for a fun vacation.
13. Tennessee – While not a southern enough city to always be in the running, the weather isn’t terrible. But Nashville would be an intriguing option simply from a cultural standpoint; it’s a fun city with a unique vibe, one that fans would enjoy.
14. Carolina – It seems like a week of southern charm would be a nice change of pace for the NFL, as seven days in Charlotte would certainly have a different vibe than other possible locations. It’s strange that the Panthers haven’t pushed for a Super Bowl.
15. Minnesota – Many cringed when the Minneapolis / St. Paul area was awarded the 2018 game, but it’ll be the second time this frigid area has hosted the Super Bowl. With a brand new stadium and a downtown built for cold, they can handle it.
16. Indianapolis – The league is in love with Indy for some reason, hosting the Scouting Combine there every February and playing the Super Bowl there in 2012. While not a bad place, it’s just ho-hum, especially during cold-weather months.