Miami and New Orleans have hosted more Super Bowls than any place else, with 10 each. Los Angeles has snagged seven Super Bowls. So 27 of the 47 NFL championships have been decided in just three cities. No other city has hosted more than four Super Bowls. Certainly, NOLA, South Beach and SoCal all have plenty to offer the fans, celebrities, athletes and corporate fat cats who descend upon Super Sunder.
But today the NFL announced its historic and prestigious Super Bowl L — or Super Bowl 50 for those who stopped using Roman numerals the second they graduated from elementary school — will be hosted by…
The 50th Anniversary Super Bowl will be played in a suburb 40 miles away with no current football stadium?
Okay, technically, it’s San Francisco’s Super Bowl. And the main reason it won the bidding is the $1.2 billion state-of-the-art stadium the city is building that will be the new home of the San Francisco 49ers. Levi’s Stadium, along with heavy financial backing from Silicon Valley powerhouses like Apple and Google, promises to deliver an unforgettable experience.
This will be just the second time a Super Bowl was hosted in the San Francisco Bay Area. Super Bowl XIX (19) was played in Stanford Stadium in 1985 when Joe Montana and the Niners defeated the Dolphins 38-16. Stanford, one of the best teams in college football the last two years, was 57th in the nation in average attendance at 43,343 in 2012.
So it got me thinking — which is always dangerous — about my dream scenario for the greatest game of football played each year.
If I were in complete control and could pick any place in the world to play the Super Bowl, where would it be?
Here is what I came up with—and yes, I know some aren't stadiums but this is my dream, so deal with it—in no particular order:
1. Bristol Motor Speedway
Location: Bristol, Tenn.
It isn’t the biggest sports venue in the world — that honor belongs to the 400,000-seat Indianapolis Motorspeedway — but no other racing venue provides the sightlines and intimate atmosphere like Thunder Valley. There have long been rumors of college football powers Virginia Tech and Tennessee battling in Bristol, so why wouldn’t a Super Bowl work inside the massive half-mile track? There isn’t a bad seat in the house. Does the surrounding area lack in nightlife, places to eat, hotels and overall excitement? Yes. But the stadium itself would be a sight to behold.
2. Lambeau Field
Location: Green Bay, Wisc.
Host: Green Bay Packers
This will never happen because there aren’t enough front yards to park cars for an event like the Super Bowl. It might also be 12-degrees below zero during the month of February. But this cathedral of football is the most spectacular, most historic, most beloved stadium in the history of the NFL. The Frozen Tundra will never come close to hosting a game like the Super Bowl, but there is little argument that it’s not the best football stadium this country has ever constructed — and it would be bizarre to see Super Sunday invade the sleepy northern Wisconsin town.
3. Churchill Downs
Location: Louisville, Ky.
Host: The Kentucky Derby
There are few venues that combine to offer what the famed horse track can provide. Louisville is a centrally located city in the heart of the country with plenty to do and a blossoming downtown. Churchill Downs can seat nearly 165,000 people and is one of the most tradition-laden venues in all of sports. It has the infield for the common folk to party and Millionaire's Row for the glitz and glam of a Super Bowl.
4. Camp Nou
Location: Barcelona, Spain
Host: FC Barcelona
Wembley Stadium in London has history and already has hosted American football games, but Camp Nou is the largest European Stadium and is located in… well, Barcelona instead of London. Michael Jackson, U2, Bruce Springsteen and The Pope all played in front of 90,000-plus audiences at Camp Nou and the city is not only capable of hosting an event like the Super Bowl (see the 1992 Olympics) but it would blow fans away. One of the most beautiful, picturesque and oldest cities in the world would have something for all ages to enjoy. All of this on the Mediterranean coast? Sign me up please.
5. Tiger Stadium
Location: Baton Rouge, La.
Host: LSU Tigers
Neyland Stadium in Knoxville is the biggest. Sanford Stadium in Athens is the most picturesque. Bryant-Denny in Tuscaloosa is the most successful. But for gameday atmosphere, there is nothing quite like Death Valley at night in the SEC. The food, culture, fans, smells and Richter Scale inducing noise echoing from LSU’s Tigers Stadium is second to none. Among the nation’s best college football venue’s, this one might be the best.
6. Wrigley Field
Location: Chicago, Ill.
Host: Chicago Cubs
Fenway Park would be great but doesn't have the same football ability that Wrigley brings to the table. Football is already being played there and recently approved upgrades will make this an excellent confluence of history, timeliness and amenities. Located in the heart of one of America's greatest cities, there is no reason to think this wouldn't be an extremely memorable Super Bowl.
7. Estadio Do Maracana
Location: Rio De Janeiro, Brazil
Host: Brazilian National Team
There is a reason that Rio is one of the most popular vacation spots in the world and why the 2014 World Cup and 2016 Olympics have been awarded to the city. In 1950, this building held a world record 199,854 people for the championship game of the 1950 FIFA World Cup. The beaches, bikinis and unbelievable geography of one of the world’s largest cities is about as attractive a place to play a game of any kind as there is on the globe. I’m pretty sure all of the pro athletes and Hollywood stars would vote yes for Rio De Janeiro.
8. Dubai Sports City Stadium
Location: Dubai, U.A.E.
Zayed Sports City Stadium in Abu Dabi roughly an hour down the road might be a better fit (60,000 capacity) but no city in the world is developing a reputation like Dubai. The city is becoming one of the most luxurious and awe-inspiring in the world and an event like the Super Bowl would marry the posh lifestyle of most Super Bowl attendents with the world’s most amazing hotels, island communities and burgeoning nightlife. And if DSC Stadium isn’t big enough to host the game, the NFL could always play a game on top of a hotel.
9. Ohio Stadium
Location: Columbus, OH
Host: Ohio State Buckeyes
The Horseshoe has everything an NFL Super Bowl would need. A massive, gorgeous historic venue. The biggest city in the state of Ohio certainly has the infrastructure to host the big crowds and the local bar and restaurant scene is as enjoyable as any in the nation. Few places in the nation combine the logistics and size of a huge city with the personality of a college town like Columbus would. And who wouldn’t want to see the dotting of the “I” on a Super Sunday?
10. Rungrado May Day Stadium
Location: Pyongyang, North Korea
Host: DPRK National Team
Located in the capital city of North Korea, Rungrado May Day Stadium is the world’s largest stadium. It has hosted numerous soccer matches and is home to both the Men’s and Women’s national “football” teams. It also hosts the Guinness Book of Records largest sporting event in the world when the “mass games” take place each year. Plus, wouldn’t it be cool to play the most capitalistic sporting event in the history of the world in the heart of North Korea?
Wembley Stadium (London, England) 105,000
Historic Hyde Park or O-2 Arena won’t work, but this awesome venue would.
Kyle Field (College Station, Texas) 102,500
Recent plans to renovate/expand make this venue one of the future gems of college football.
Yankee Stadium (New York, N.Y.)
Football has been played there before and New York is New York.
Sanford Stadium (Athens, Ga.) 92,746
There may not be a more beautiful setting in all of college football.
Olympic Stadium (Berlin, Germany) 74,228
A stat of the art facility owns the world baseball attendance record with roughly 110,000.
Roman Colosseum (Rome, Italy) 50,000-70,000
Certainly some renovations would have to be made, but how cool would this be?
Michigan Stadium (Ann Arbor, Mich.) 109,901
The biggest stadium in the United States of any kind.
Melbourne Cricket Ground (Melbourne, Victoria, Australia) 100,018
The rugby destination for Aussie football set a record with over 120,000 fans in 1970.
Daytona International Speedway (Daytona, Fla.) 167,785
Great weather, great seating, massive size, history, tradition, the beach.
Autzen Stadium (Eugene, Ore.) 54,000
Few stadiums pack as much punch than the Ducks home.