There were so many promises made about the economic windfall that the 1992 Super Bowl would bring to Minnesota that radio partner Joe Soucheray and I used to contemplate this: The day when a stranger would pull into the driveway, ring the front doorbell and hand over a check for $5,000, as our cut as taxpayers from the Super Bowl loot.
I had pretty much given up on that occurrence, but now a quarter-century later, there’s going to be another shot at it. Minneapolis upset favorite New Orleans, which has Bourbon Street, and Indianapolis, which has an open-late Steak ‘n Shake near the stadium, to get the NFL’s nod for the 2018 Super Bowl.
Vikings CEO Mike Lynn was the main force in landing the ’92 Super Bowl, through his behind-the-scenes maneuvering at NFL meetings – first to get a commitment for another “Northern’’ Super Bowl, then to beat out Detroit and Seattle.
Convincing his fellow owners and the NFL staff that the built-on-the-cheap, plastic Metrodome was adequate to host a Super Bowl was the most-remarkable of Remarkable Mike’s achievements.
No such tight squeeze into a second-rate facility will be required in 2018. We’re going first class this time with the $1 billion edifice, the Taj Ma Zygi, and Minneapolis can be a proud (rather than sheepish) host this time. Unless it snows, sleets and plunges to 30 below during the week leading to the Ultimate Game* … then, we might have some ‘splainin to do to our guests.
Whatever the reviews of the NFL’s return to Minneapolis, it probably will be futile to spend time peering out the front window, waiting for the stranger to bring your check. The NFL demands so much free stuff from the hosts now – free hotel rooms (suites, preferably), free this 'n that, tax waivers, etc. – that the best we can hope for as Minnesota taxpayers will be the warmest personal regards of commissioner Roger Goodell.
*Best Super Bowl quote ever, from Dallas running back Duane Thomas before Super Bowl VI: “If it’s the Ultimate Game, how come they’re playing it again next year?’’