'Bold' bid lands 2018 Super Bowl for Minnesota

  • Article by: ROCHELLE OLSON , Star Tribune
  • Updated: November 12, 2014 - 9:42 AM

The theme of Minneapolis’ bid, “Built for the Bold,” emphasized the $1 billion Vikings stadium under construction and the state’s friendly ethos. Now, the focus moves to planning the event.

– Four ballots into a tension-filled process, the Minneapolis Super Bowl pitch built around the new Vikings stadium triumphed Tuesday over party magnet New Orleans and 2012 host Indianapolis to bring the NFL’s premier event to Minnesota in 2018.

U.S. Bancorp CEO Richard Davis, former Carlson Cos. board chair Marilyn Carlson Nelson and other members of the Minnesota delegation danced, jumped up and down, hugged and high-fived on hearing the news. Their raucous cheers and exclamations of “We did it!” reverberated through the hallways of the Ritz-Carlton Hotel in the upscale Buckhead neighborhood, where the high-stakes drama had just played out.

“The way they jumped for joy was the way I felt inside,” Vikings owner Zygi Wilf said later at a news conference.

The theme of Minneapolis’ bid, “Built for the Bold,” which emphasized the $1 billion Vikings stadium under construction and the state’s friendly ethos, was seen by some observers as an underdog to New Orleans. But after NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell announced the victor, a number of team owners said the new stadium was a decisive factor.

“We’re going to make football fans everywhere proud,” Vikings owner/president Mark Wilf said.

Minnesota last hosted a Super Bowl in 1992 in the recently demolished Metrodome. The big game is coveted by league cities because it brings with it two weeks of international media attention, millions of dollars of consumer spending and an incalculable civic boost.

Mark Wilf, who gave Minneapolis’ five-minute closing argument to the owners during their closed-door meeting before voting, said he emphasized the public-private partnership involved in building the stadium. He also told the owners that the Super Bowl would validate the stadium as a top-notch facility for generations of Minnesotans.

Bringing the Super Bowl to Minneapolis is a coup for the Wilfs, New Jersey businessmen who have owned the team for a decade but are still considered outsiders by some Minnesotans. They lobbied furiously for a new stadium until the Legislature relented in 2012.

“I think that’s what swayed most of the owners,” said New York Giants owner John Mara of the new Vikings stadium.

The vote is secret, so the final tally won’t be made public. But it clearly wasn’t a slam-dunk for Minnesota. No team received the required super-majority on the first, second or third ballots. Indianapolis was dropped after the second ballot for having the least votes. The final ballot required only a simple majority of votes, and that pushed Minnesota to the top.

Members of the state’s delegation beamed as they walked into a media room for a news conference to talk about the victory. With Carlson Nelson sporting a glamorous bright purple dress and Davis a purple tie, the Minneapolis team had strutted through the Ritz-Carlton lobby to the NFL owners’ meeting room with more pizazz and seemingly more purpose than the dark-suited teams from the other cities.

Still, there were some last-minute jitters.

To prepare for their presentation, Carlson Nelson and Davis sat at the head of the table in the Minneapolis war room. She admitted to being nervous. He smiled. Someone among the other members of the delegation — Vikings vice president Lester Bagley, Melvin Tennant of Meet Minneapolis, Michael Langley of Greater MSP, and Michele Kelm-Helgen, executive director of the Minnesota Sports Facilities Authority — played Queen’s anthem, “We Are the Champions,” on their phone as everyone sang along, danced and held hands.

They came out of their 15-minute presentation satisfied they’d left nothing unsaid. Davis playfully mugged before the interview for the cameras, saying, “What up, Minnesota?” Carlson Nelson got misty-eyed as she spoke of her pride in the quality of the presentation and her hometown. “If only you knew these people,” she said she wanted to tell the owners. “They’re so authentic. They’re so real.”

The pride and preparation paid off. In a television interview after the victory, an ebullient Carlson Nelson said, “Tell everybody to come!”

What Minnesota pitched

Before the presentation, Minnesota’s steering committee members kept their cards hidden, but afterward they revealed the bid’s theme and emphasis on the ease of navigating the Twin Cities and plans to make the Mall of America a hub of action.

They also told the owners that the St. Paul Winter Carnival has agreed to build an eight-story ice castle — its first since 2004. And that the Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport is bigger than the airports serving the other bidders. And that light-rail transit will make ground travel easy.

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Houston 1 FINAL
Miami 1
Philadelphia 1 FINAL
Minnesota 7
St. Louis 3 FINAL
Detroit 4
Baltimore - WP: T. Wilson 10 FINAL
NY Yankees - LP: S. Baker 2
Boston 9 FINAL
Tampa Bay 6
Toronto 3 FINAL
Pittsburgh 8
Atlanta 5 FINAL
Toronto 3
Washington 2 FINAL
NY Mets 10
Chicago Cubs 5 FINAL
Cincinnati 9
San Diego 3 FINAL
Texas 2
San Francisco 9 FINAL
Seattle 8
Colorado 4 FINAL
Chicago Cubs 18
Cleveland 3 FINAL
Milwaukee 2
Oakland 10 FINAL
Chicago WSox 4
Los Angeles 5 FINAL
LA Angels 4
Kansas City 10 FINAL
Arizona 5
Atlanta 100 FINAL
Charlotte 115
New York 80 FINAL
Chicago 111
Golden State 108 FINAL
Milwaukee 95
Oklahoma City 89 FINAL
Utah 94
Denver 114 FINAL
Portland 120
Nashville 4 FINAL
Washington 3
Arizona 2 FINAL
Pittsburgh 3
San Jose 3 FINAL(SO)
Philadelphia 2
Anaheim 3 FINAL
NY Islanders 2
NY Rangers 2 FINAL
Boston 4
Tampa Bay 0 FINAL
Detroit 4
New Jersey 1 FINAL
Carolina 3
Florida 2 FINAL(OT)
Montreal 3
Ottawa 3 FINAL(OT)
Toronto 4
Los Angeles 1 FINAL
Minnesota 4
Columbus 4 FINAL
St. Louis 2
Buffalo 3 FINAL
Colorado 5
Dallas 4 FINAL(OT)
Vancouver 3
Arizona 78 FINAL
Wisconsin 85
Canisius 73 FINAL
NJIT 78
Notre Dame 66 FINAL
Kentucky 68
San Jose 1 FINAL
New England 2
Orlando City 2 FINAL
Montreal 2
Los Angeles 0 FINAL
D.C. 1
Sporting Kansas City 1 FINAL
New York City 0
Red Bull New York 2 FINAL
Columbus 1
Portland 1 FINAL
Vancouver FC 2
Colorado 0 FINAL
Houston 0
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Texas 54 FINAL
(1) Connecticut 105
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(8) Louisville 66
(16) Duke 55 FINAL
(4) Maryland 65
Gonzaga 69 FINAL
(6) Tennessee 73
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Date/Opponent Time W L Score
2014 preseason     
Aug 8 - vs. Oakland 7 pmX10-6
Aug 16 - vs. Arizona 7:30 pmX30-28
Aug 23 - at Kansas City 7 pmX30-12
Aug 28 - at Tennessee 7 pmX19-3
2014 regular season     
Sep 7 - at St. Louis NoonX34-6
Sep 14 - vs. New England NoonX30-7
Sep 21 - at New Orleans NoonX20-9
Sep 28 - vs. Atlanta 3:25 pmX41-28
Oct 2 - at Green Bay 7:25 pmX42-10
Oct 12 - vs. Detroit NoonX17-3
Oct 19 - at. Buffalo NoonX17-16
Oct 26 - at Tampa Bay NoonX19-13 ot
Nov 2 - vs. Washington NoonX29-26
Nov 9 - Bye
Nov 16 - at Chicago NoonX21-13
Nov. 23 - vs. Green Bay NoonX24-21
Nov. 30 - vs. Carolina NoonX31-13
Dec 7 - vs. NY Jets NoonX30-24 ot
Dec 14 - at Detroit 3:25 pmX16-14
Dec 21 - at Miami NoonX37-35
Dec 28 - vs. Chicago NoonX13-9

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