The Super Bowl is being held in San Francisco this year.
Well, actually, it isn’t. It’s being held in Santa Clara, 44 miles down the 101 from San Francisco, nearly an hour commute (unless you hit bad traffic, in which case, good luck my friend). Most people going to the game will stay in San Francisco and drive to the game, I imagine, those that can’t find a hotel room in Santa Clara. I’m sure some fans will be in Oakland, others in Palo Alto, Menlo Park, Mountain View, Atherton.
So now you’ve got the Super Bowl being played where many of the fans there will have to spend lots of time commuting to and from the game. The backdrop of the game for the people on TV will be Santa Clara, California, a lovely town to be sure, but come on.
This is ridiculous, and it reinforces a belief I’ve held dear for a long time: Only one city should ever host the Super Bowl, and that city is New Orleans.
Before I make my argument, let’s address the elephant in the room. I know that the last time New Orleans hosted the Super Dome the lights shut out in the middle of the game. I have not forgotten that. But here’s my counterpoint: That was hilarious and awesome. Who wants cold efficiency when you can have the delightful screwups of a place like New Orleans?
Sure the lights went off, but they got ’em back on! And we all got to hang out and watch more commercials and drink and eat. It was a fun talking point.
So the whole lights-shutting-off thing doesn’t matter. And I’ve got nine other reasons that NOLA is the only choice to host the big game.
1. IT REMINDS PEOPLE OF ROGER GOODELL’S GREATEST TRIUMPH
Goodell may be hated by Saints fans because of Bountygate, but New Orleans is the site of his greatest triumph in his time with the NFL. Goodell was largely involved in the league’s push for the NFL to stay in New Orleans, and was instrumental in the reconstruction of the Superdome following Hurricane Katrina. Goodell called in favors and worked tirelessly to get the arena ready for that first game back in New Orleans, a game that gave the city one of its greatest moments ever.
2. THE FOOD IS SPECTACULAR
The Super Bowl was once held in Jacksonville, and while I’m sure Jacksonville has some fantastic restaurants, it doesn’t have this.
3. THE CITY CAN HANDLE THE TOURISTS
This is the big knock against Santa Clara as a Super Bowl destination. It’s just not a place that’s equipped to deal with a massive influx of visitors. Few cities in America are. There aren’t enough taxis, aren’t enough hotels, aren’t enough restaurants.
New Orleans lives for this. Other than Las Vegas, no other American city is better equipped to handle a huge glut of visitors. This is routine for them. They know how to do it.
4. THERE IS NO COMMUTE TO THE STADIUM
This is huge. For fans going to the Super Bowl, it can’t be very fun to sit in traffic on Sunday while you make your way to the stadium from San Francisco and Oakland. The Superdome is in the heart of New Orleans. It’s a short walk from the French Quarter. If your legs hurt, you can hop a streetcar to Poydras Street. There is no commute. It’s right there.
5. THE BACKDROP IS GORGEOUS
One big reason a city makes a good Super Bowl location is it provides glorious flyover shots for the TV coverage. I want setting and mood when I’m watching the game. Santa Clara, again, a lovely city. But it’s not exactly providing you any sweeping views.
New Orleans gives you this:
6. PEOPLE WANT TO VISIT THERE
If you’re hosting a big event somewhere, why not make it somewhere where people want to go? San Francisco is lovely, of course, but again, this isn’t San Francisco. It’s Santa Clara. People love New Orleans! It’s the best and most unique city in America.
7. IT’S FESTIVAL SEASON SO THE CITY IS ALREADY PARTYING
People who go to a Super Bowl are ready for an amazing time, and it can’t be fun showing up in a sleepy city that has no interest in getting wild. New Orleans is in festival season around the time of the Super Bowl. They’re already in party mode.
8. THE SUPERDOME IS A WILDLY UNDERRATED VENUE
Yes, the Superdome is getting up there in years, I guess. But again, it had a total renovation following Hurricane Katrina and they keep making improvements to the old bird. It gets loud, super loud, and they also have the best Bloody Marys I’ve ever had in my life. Seriously. They’re spectacular.
9. NO LAST CALL
Riled up on adrenaline after your team wins the Super Bowl? The New Orleans bars don’t close. You don’t have to go home, and you canstay there. Keep the party going, and remember that New Orleans is still the greatest city — and should be the only one to host a Super Bowl.