In the seven years Los Angeles has been without an NFL team, the league has entertained all sorts of stadium possibilities -- from Carson to a rebuilt Coliseum, from Dodger Stadium to South Park.
Now the spotlight is on the Rose Bowl.
NFL Commissioner Paul Tagliabue said Wednesday the league will consider awarding a Super Bowl to a renovated Rose Bowl, and the most likely candidate is the 2008 game.
"The (Super Bowl) committee consensus is that priority should be given to playing a Super Bowl in the Los Angeles area if there were a significant renovation of the Rose Bowl, which is under discussion," said Tagliabue, overseeing the league meetings in New York. "And that membership should be prepared to give very serious consideration to a Super Bowl in the Rose Bowl, whether or not there is an NFL team in Los Angeles."
The league has never awarded a Super Bowl to a city -- or, in the case of L.A., a region -- that does not have an NFL team. This unprecedented move suggests the league already might have a team in mind to move to L.A. and wants to grease the skids for a new or refurbished stadium with its crown-jewel incentive. The San Diego Chargers and Indianapolis Colts are among the teams that quietly have investigated moving to L.A.
Tagliabue's comments might send Pasadena hearts aflutter, but there is no rock-solid guarantee the Rose Bowl will land its sixth Super Bowl. It's unlikely a vote would be taken on the matter within the next year, and there is a weighty caveat: The stadium must undergo a "significant renovation."
Just as the NFL giveth, the NFL taketh away. Consider the case of San Francisco, which was awarded the 1999 Super Bowl to be played in a totally reconstructed Candlestick Park. But when then-49er owner Eddie DeBartolo Jr. got into legal trouble over a riverboat-gaming license and his grandiose plans for a stadium/shopping mall fell to pieces, the league moved that Super Bowl to Miami and gave the Bay Area a rain check.
As it stands, there is no San Francisco Super Bowl on the horizon. The 2003 game will be played in San Diego, and the three after that are scheduled to be played in Houston, Jacksonville, Fla., and Detroit. If the 2007 game goes to New York, a warm-weather site probably will be the league's top priority in 2008.
When it comes to L.A., it's clear the NFL has turned its attention to the Rose Bowl, considered by many people to be the next-best option after a coalition of L.A. businessmen dropped their plans to build a downtown football stadium adjacent to Staples Center. The group cited political infighting and stepped-up competition from the Coliseum as the main reasons for pulling out.
Brainerd Dispatch ©2013. All Rights Reserved.