May 25, 1989: Super Bowl XXVI: 'Nobody gave us a snowball's chance'

  • Article by: ROBERT SANSEVERE , Star Tribune
  • Updated: May 25, 1989 - 12:26 PM

Minnesota wins bidding contest for '92 game.

An NFL executive nodded in approval to Gov. Rudy Perpich, who dashed into the next room to relay the surprising news that Minnesota had been awarded the 1992 Super Bowl.

In his excitement over helping to bring the Super Bowl to a northern city for only the second time, Perpich playfully punched his wife on the shoulder a few times and gave her a tap on the chin.

Earlier Wednesday, the governor had helped deliver the knockout punch during a 15-minute presentation that aided Minnesota's bid for Super Bowl XXVI.

The game will be held Jan. 26, 1992, in the Metrodome. It was awarded to Minnesota on the sixth round of balloting by National Football League owners, who rejected bids from Detroit, Indianapolis and Seattle.

"Nobody gave us a snowball's chance in hell," Vikings general manager Mike Lynn said. "But our proposal matched up well."

During the Minnesota presentation, which included a 10 1/2-minute video, Perpich reminded owners that he and others have been lobbying for a Super Bowl for the past five years. Denver Broncos owner Pat Bowlen said the Minnesota presentation was the strongest of the four by the competing cities.

Moments after the delegation made its pitch, Perpich was so confident that he said: "We're going to get it."

Each of the four bids proposed gross revenues to the league of about $10 million, mostly from ticket sales. Minnesota's budgeted expenses for staging the game will be about $4.5 million, with Lynn saying he hopes most of it can be raised from the private sector.

Lynn said that being host to the Super Bowl could be worth more than $100 million to the local economy, about $50 million less than the usual take for warm-weather cities.

Seattle and Indianapolis were eliminated in the first two ballots, leaving Minnesota and Detroit, which had been host to the only other northern-tier Super Bowl in 1982. Bowlen and NFL commissioner Pete Rozelle said the fact that Detroit already had held the Super Bowl probably helped Minnesota's cause.

"I'd say some of them thought as long as we're going north we should move it around," Rozelle said.

Seattle had the fewest votes on the first ballot and dropped out of contention, followed by Indianapolis on the second ballot. Minnesota defeated Detroit by a simple majority on the sixth ballot.

The final tally was not released, and the ballots, which were cast and counted secretly, were burned. The only owners who knew the vote were conference presidents Wellington Mara and Lamar Hunt, who did the counting.

If any city had received 21 votes on any of the first five ballots, it would have been awarded the game. After that, a majority vote was required.

Lynn said the Twin Cities' margin of victory was slight. He had Minnesota getting 15 votes in a straw poll he took before arriving in New Orleans. He figured Detroit or Seattle would be the other finalist.

Philadelphia Eagles owner Norman Braman, head of the Super Bowl search committee, said Minnesota's pluses included the proximity of major hotels, easy accessibility from its major airport and two indoor practice facilities, the Vikings' Winter Park complex and the University of Minnesota's Bierman building.

In the other three cities, the Super Bowl teams would have had to practice in the domed stadiums.

Minnesota was the only representative to have other team executives voice support. New Orleans Saints president Jim Finks, once the Vikings' general manager, and Miami Dolphins vice president Tim Robbie, whose father, Joe, owns the Dolphins, each spoke in behalf of Minnesota.

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