In a secret vote of NFL owners, cast in Atlanta last week, Minneapolis was selected to host Super Bowl LII in 2018, beating the other host cities of Indianapolis and New Orleans. As a die-hard fan of the Minnesota Vikings, I hope to watch the Vikings become the first NFL team to win a Super Bowl in their home stadium.
My definition of hope is centered in my belief that I will see the Vikings win the Super Bowl once - just once. As previously noted, I'll wait for future posts to offer commentary on the ups and downs of being a die-hard Vikings fan.
But as an observer of all things political, I quickly named Governor Mark Dayton the biggest political winner of Super Bowl LII coming to Minnesota in 2018.
After the announcement was made about Minneapolis hosting the Super Bowl, both Republicans and Democrats cheered the news. State Senator Dave Thompson, who is one of numerous Republican candidates for governor hoping to defeat Dayton in November, sent out a tweet congratulating "all that worked hard on a proposal."
Dayton should have received a fair amount of Thompson's congratulations, as it was Dayton who kicked off "a campaign to lobby the NFL for a Super Bowl at the new stadium for as early as 2018..." [Read this story from the Star Tribune for background.]
If the bid to bring the Super Bowl to Minnesota had failed, Dayton would have been criticized. One of reasons often cited by Dayton and other stadium supporters in 2012 to build a new Vikings stadium was the potential to host a future Super Bowl. Dayton delivered a new Vikings stadium and the Super Bowl is coming to Minnesota in 2018.
I looked back to Minnesota's last Super Bowl bid to see if the politicians who worked so hard to bring the Super Bowl to Minnesota, were later rewarded by the voters for their efforts.
On May 25, 1989, Minnesota was selected to host Super Bowl XXVI, which was played Jan. 26, 1992 at the Metrodome. 25 years ago, it was Minnesota Governor Rudy Perpich, U.S. Senator Rudy Boschwitz and Marilyn Carlson Nelson, who made the successful pitch to NFL owners to bring the Super Bowl to Minnesota.
Carlson Nelson was successful again, as she made the pitch with other business leaders last week to bring another Super Bowl to Minnesota. But the voters were less kind to Perpich and Boschwitz, as both were voted out of office 18 months later in 1990. Because of the volatility of the 1990 election in Minnesota, it is difficult to point to one issue and make a fair comparison.
I still believe Dayton was the biggest political winner of the Super Bowl LII coming to Minnesota in 2018. It will not be the only factor which determines if Dayton is re-elected this November to another term in office. But the announcement of the Super Bowl coming back to Minnesota had even some of Dayton's opponents offering congratulations and in an election year, that is worth noticing.