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Ed Wyatt

Ed Wyatt

Written on Friday, 03 February 2012 00:00

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Party time in...Indianapolis?

When you think of Miami, you think of sunshine, beaches and beautiful people.

New Orleans evokes images of booze, Bourbon Street and all night partying.

Indianapolis? Well, there's the Speedway...and Hoosiers...and that's about it!

Yet come Monday morning (Australian time) millions of sports fans will be focussed on the capital city of the state of Indiana as it hosts the Super Bowl for the first, and possibly only time.

Why Indianapolis you ask? Well, unlike the AFL or NRL Grand Finals, the Super Bowl is held in a different city every year. The process of deciding where to hold the game can be quite political, although it's made easier because of two "ready made" Super Bowl cities.

Miami (ten times) and New Orleans (nine) have hosted the big game more than any other place and that's because both cities know how to party. The weather is usually good, there are plenty of hotel rooms to handle the influx of visitors, and the corporate fans and celebrities are more than happy to hang out at South Beach or in the French Quarter.

After Miami and New Orleans it gets a little trickier. Cities like San Diego and Tampa work well, but don't get the call as often. The NFL also likes to reward cities for extracting large sums of money from its citizens to build brand new shrines to American football, so that's why Detroit, Houston and now Indianapolis have been given the chance to host. Even Jacksonville - with a population of less than a million people - got to play host to the big game, but sadly it's considered by most to have been the least glamorous in history.

Interestingly, the city that has been the site of more Super Bowls than anywhere but Miami and New Orleans is more famous as a college football site. The Rose Bowl in Pasadena, California has hosted five Super Bowls, but the last time it did so was 1993.

Another college campus, Stanford University, hosted Super Bowl XIX in 1985, and it's still the closest an NFL team has come to winning in its home city. The 49ers, who play up the road in San Francisco, beat Miami on the Stanford Stadium turf.

In recent years a couple of new cities have emerged as possible semi-permanent sites. The brand-new Cowboys Stadium in Arlington, Texas hosted last year, with a record crowd of more than 103,000. The state-of-the-art University of Phoenix Stadium in Arizona is also a stunning facility and a desirable destination.

What about the USA's two biggest cities? Los Angeles hosted the very first Super Bowl, but the venerable (archaic?) Coliseum is in dire need of a revamp and there won't be another Super Bowl in Tinseltown until that happens or a new stadium is built. In 2014, New York will be the site of the league's "great experiment." The new MetLife Stadium in the Meadowlands of New Jersey, just outside New York will be the site of the first Super Bowl played outdoors in a cold weather city. Previous games have been played in frigid cities like Minneapolis and Detroit, but they've been indoors. Whether a New York Super Bowl works will be entirely dependent upon Mother Nature (see my BPL article from 2010)

Finally, there's 2013. Next year the Super Bowl returns to New Orleans for the first time since Hurricane Katrina. It will be yet another poignant and important moment for the Crescent City and one which the NFL deserves plaudits for making happen.

Super Bowl cities and the number of times they've hosted:

10 - Miami

9 - New Orleans

5 - Pasadena

4 - Tampa

3 - San Diego

2 - Atlanta, Detroit/Pontiac, Houston, Los Angeles, Phoenix/Tempe

1 - Arlington/Dallas, Indianapolis, Jacksonville, Minneapolis, Stanford

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