By Dave Wischnowsky–
So, Chicago wants a Super Bowl.
Yeah, and Miami wants a Snow Day.
After this week, which do you think is more likely?
“As a concept, we should get into it and look at it,” mayoral candidate Gery Chico pandered last week while saying he’d fight to bring a Super Bowl to Chicago’s football-loving masses as early as 2015, “Because Chicago deserves to be a Super Bowl city.”
No, it really doesn’t.
Don’t get me wrong, Chicago is a great city (I happen to think it’s the greatest city). And it’s an incredible sports city. But the winters here – especially in late January and early February – can be downright brutal (have you noticed?). As a result, just like Acapulco doesn’t deserve the Iditarod, Chicago does not deserve a Super Bowl.
Now, it could, mind you. But that would require Soldier Field being something that it is not and never will be – namely, a retractable-roof facility.
A month ago while delving into the issue of Soldier Field’s shoddy turf, I wrote in this blog about Chicago’s mistake by the lake. Regarding Soldier Field, I said: “What really chaps my hide is that the city lacked the foresight to build something with a retractable roof and at least 70,000 seats. That mistake means that Chicago will never host a Final Four or a Super Bowl, and probably won’t ever attract the Big Ten football championship or any college bowl game.”
I still stand by those statements as fact, even if other Chicago sports columnists and politicians have been begging to differ of late.
It would be great, of course, if Chicago could host a Super Bowl, but it’s just not going to happen. And it shouldn’t. This week’s historic blizzard proved that. Chicago is too cold, too snowy and has weather that’s just too unpredictable to expect the NFL to ever play a game of Risk by scheduling its marquee event for here.
Quite simply, Chicago screwed up when it didn’t give Soldier Field a retractable roof and now we just need to live with it. It doesn’t matter if clever architects find a way to stack 8,500 additional seats – either permanent or temporary – onto Soldier Field in order to meet the NFL’s 70,000-seat requirement to host a Super Bowl. And it doesn’t matter if the New York-New Jersey area was already chosen to host an outdoor Super Bowl in 2014.
This week, with the Dallas area slammed by an unexpected ice storm as it prepares for Super Bowl XLV, Cowboys owner Jerry Jones and other NFL officials have had to scramble to defend the region amidst a barrage of criticism.
With temperatures plunging into the teens and subzero windchills along with a sheet of ice that has snarled traffic and canceled some Super Bowl-related events, people are questioning whether Dallas Stadium – which features a retractable roof and is located nearly 1,000 miles south of Soldier Field – should be awarded another Super Bowl.
“This is football country,” Jones said Wednesday, fighting for Texas. “It runs deep. It runs through men and women. It’s a big deal. That’s the way it is here – period. All that should help us if we have ambitions of hosting future Super Bowls.”
As the Great Blizzard of 2011 showed us, Chicago needs to scrap its Super Bowl ambitions.
Let the Bears focus on theirs instead.
Do you agree with Dave? Post your comments below.
If nothing else, Dave Wischnowsky is an Illinois boy. Raised in Bourbonnais, educated at the University of Illinois and bred on sports in the Land of Lincoln, he now resides on Chicago’s North Side, just blocks from Wrigley Field. Formerly a reporter and blogger for the Chicago Tribune, Dave currently writes a syndicated column, The Wisch List, which you can check out via his blog at http://www.wischlist.com.