The wait is winding down. The NFL voters will hear three dazzling 15-minute presentations from the finalists for the 2018 Super Bowl: Minneapolis, New Orleans and Indianapolis - in that order.
Then the owners will vote live on the NFL Network by secret ballot. The expectation is the vote will take several ballots. To win on the first ballot, a city must get a super-majority, 24, of the 32 votes of the NFL owners. No city has ever won on the first ballot. There is no time certain, but the action starts after lunch and should be done by 4 p.m.
Minneapolis will feature Olympic skier Lindsay Vonn (who got her start on the bunny slopes at Buck Hill), Minnesota Vikings' star Adrian Peterson and former coach Bud Grant.
The NFL allows only five members of the Super Bowl bid committees in the room for the presentation and only two can speak. Speaking for Minnesota: U.S. Bancorp CEO Richard Davis and Marilyn Carlson Nelson,board chair of Carlson Cos.
Davis arrived Monday just in time for the practice run in the owners' meeting room at the Ritz-Carlton in Atlanta’s upscale Buckhead neighborhood. The room is essentially a convention room with high-back leather chairs for the owners.
Davis said they ran through the presentation three times and planned to make some tweaks last night. He said he and Carlson Nelson work well together and wanted to fine-tune their queueing of 4-5 video clips.
Carlson Nelson is a veteran. She was on the Twin Cities team that landed the 1992 Super Bowl on the third try. Many of the NFL owners are the sons of the owners who voted for the 1992 game, she said Monday.
Let me tell you a bit about these two. I've seen many big shots and stars in nearly a quarter century of reporting. I'm not easily charmed. But these two are extraordinary public speakers.
When Davis speaks, he takes control of a room like few I've seen. When he talks, you want to listen. He's succinct and direct and assured without being arrogant or condescending. I'm not one to gush, but I would love to be in the room for the presentation just to see him.
I asked him Monday if he was superstitious or nervous. He said, no, not at all. The secret to his success then? Davis said he only speaks on topics he knows, understands and believes in. So he's speaking from the heart and head.
Carlson Nelson has a similar touch. She's a career executive who's given speeches literally around the world for decades. She has an effortless warmth, wit and confidence. She works in the hospitality industry, after all.
Talented speakers and a dazzling presentation may not matter. The owners, like the rest of us, love to go to New Orleans. The vote may be more about ownership and connections-- whether their colleagues want to give the Wilfs the Super Bowl for the new $1 billion stadium.
Already they're lining up to host the game for 2019. Atlanta media reports that Falcons' owner Arthur Blank wants the game in 2019 in the new $1 billion stadium here. The groundbreaking ceremony was lastnight and NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell attended.
Goodell plans a news conference after the vote Tuesday afternoon. He will get questions about the Super Bowl, for sure, but also Indy Colts owner Jim Irsay.
Irsay showed up Monday in his first public appearance since his arrest for DWI in Indiana and subsequent trip to rehab. Pills of unknown provenance were found in his vehicle, but he has not been charged with a crime. Those who know Irsay say he appeared visibly shaken Monday. He's being asked if he should apologize for his actions.
Stay tuned. If you've got any questions for Goodell, send me an email and I'll take a firstname.lastname@example.org
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Minnesota Vikings and execs from the other 31 NFL teams are making their way to Atlanta this morning.
The owners have their Spring meeting at the Ritz Carlton in the Buckhead part of town. The action doesn't start until Monday afternoon, but expect the Minnesota Vikings' contingent to be lobbying the fellow owners privately for the 2018 Super Bowl.
Team VP Lester Bagley says he and others, including owners Mark and Zygi Wilf, have specific lobbying assignments among the other team owners. No word on who gets Jerry Jones of the Dallas Cowboys - probably the biggest household name among the owners. (Seriously, try to name some others. Rooney, Irsay, Mara - but what do they look like?)
Bagley says Zygi Wilf is friendly with Jax Jaguars owner Shahid (Shad) Khan, a Lahore, Pakistan native, now U.S. citizen billionaire (estimated $3.8B, owns Illinois-headquarted Flex-n-Gate auto parts) who also owns England's Fulham FC Football (soccer) League champion. He came to the U.S. at age 16, staying in a $2 room at a YMCA his first night before working his way to an engineering degree at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.
But I digress. US Bancorp's Richard Davis and Carlson Cos. Marilyn Carlson Nelson will make the 15-minute multimedia pitch to the NFL owners Tuesday to try to get the 2018 Super Bowl to the new $1 billion stadium. Only two people are allowed to speak - but the owners will hear other voices via the presentation.
The NFL owners should be appreciative of the Twin Cities' bid because of the stadium which was "built to host a Super Bowl," Bagley has said.
Bagley is familiar with the owners himself because he has given them regular stadium updates during their meetings for the past several years. The publicly subsidized project took years to win legislative approval and remains controversial to opponents.
The Vikings are to play their first season in the new facility, nearly double the size of the Metrodome, in 2016. Recent tradition has been to give the new Super Bowl to new stadiums in the same time frame - after two regular seasons are played at the facility. First Dallas and now San Francisco (Santa Clara).
The Minnesota crew gets a one-hour prep session some time between 5 and 8 p.m. tonight.
In other news, this reporter saw college hoops legend Bobby Knight and his wife at the Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport on Sunday at 4 a.m. Knight and his wife were heading toward security. The retired Indiana basketball coach wore rumpled khakis and a cozy sweatshirt. He carried his own well-worn duffle bags (no logos in sight.) Curious to see if the NFL owners schlep their own bags.
NFL owners follow a pretty loose schedule for their meetings. The discussions are not open to the public, but the Super Bowl vote will be broadcast live on the NFL Network on Tuesday. There is no time certain for the presentations.
In somewhat related Atlanta action, the Falcons break ground on a new $1 billion ceremony at 8 p.m. NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell will attend - in a sign that stadiums are important to the league.
The fast-on-his-feet former tap dancer, now head of U.S. Bancorp Richard Davis and successful Super Bowl bid veteran Marilyn Carlson Nelson will make the sales pitch for the Twin Cities to the NFL owners on Tuesday in Atlanta.
The two are chairs of the bid steering committee along with Ecolab chief Doug Baker who won't make the trip to Atlanta.
Davis is a fast-thinking, commanding speaker with an assured manner. Carlson Nelson is also a veteran in the spotlight. She was a leader of the successful effort that brought the 1992 Super Bowl bid to the Metrodome.
The two will be among the five from the Twin Cities delegation in the room with the owners of the 32 NFL teams. The other three Minnesotans won't be allowed to speak. Minnesota Vikings owners Mark and Zygi Wilf will be present in the room as owners.
Minneapolis, New Orleans and Indianapolis are the three finalists for the game. The owners will hear the presentations from each city then immediately take a vote and announce the winner. Most media isn't allowed in the room, but the NFL Network will broadcast the voting live.
The vote is part of the regularly scheduled owners meeting that begins Monday at the Ritz in Atlanta's Buckhead neighborhood. All cities will have an hour to practice and prep for their presentations in closed-door sessions Monday.
The owners are the only ones who vote on where to send the game.
In 2018, the new Minnesota Multipurpose Stadium will have played host to two Vikings seasons. The team is hoping to bring the game to town to showcase the massive new stadium.
In other action, the Vikings report that they've now sold 2,900 new season tickets for next season at the TCF Bank stadium on the University of Minnesota campus. (These are tickets sold to fans who did NOT have season tickets at the Metrodome.)
Team spokesman Jeff Anderson two weeks ago said the team had sold 2,000 new season tickets, attributing the interest to excitement about the new stadium and a desire of fans to get higher priority for seats at the Minnesota Multipurpose statdium when it opens for the 2016 NFL season.
The team also now has 1,000 appointments scheduled for ticketholders in the preview center that showcases club seats and visuals of the new facility.
Eight members of the Minnesota Super Bowl Bid Committee will make the trip to Atlanta next week for the NFL owners' vote on the location of the 2018 game.
Minneapolis, New Orleans and Indianapolis are the three finalists making presentations to the 32 owners at the Ritz-Carlton in Buckhead on Tuesday, May 19. The vote is taking place during the NFL Spring League Meetings.
Those listed as attending the event include Mark and Zygi Wilf, the team's owners, as well as Lester Bagley, the team's vice president for public affairs.
Also from the committee on the trip: Marilyn Carlson Nelson of Carlson Companies, Richard Davis, president of U.S. Bank, Michele Kelm-Helgen, chair of the Minnesota Sports Facilities Authority, Michael Langley, chief executive officer of Greater MSP and Melvin Tennant, president and CEO of Meet Minneapolis, the city's convention bureau.
Notably absent is Ecolab's Doug Baker. He is a committee chairman, but apparently had a prior commitment and won't make the trip.
Word is the NFL allows five people in the room for the sales pitch, but only two people are allowed to speak. No one has said who will speak for Minnesota.
Members of the Minnesota panel will speak to the media Monday night after their one-hour rehearsal session that is set to occur between 5-8 p.m. eastern time. The NFL hasn't yet told Minneapolis when it will have the room.
The vote on the city occurs Tuesday afternoon. Reporters won't be allowed in the room for the vote, but will be able to watch - with the rest of the world - via live feed on the NFL Network.
Committee members say they're going to meet with the media after the vote - "regardless of vote outcome."
The Ritz-Carlton is at 3434 Peachtree Road NE in Atlanta's swank Buckhead area.
Hey Metrodome Mourners, it's not too late to get a piece of your favorite stadium. "Crowdcut" is offering half-off package deals just in time for Mother's or Father's Day. Perhaps that college graduate would like a dome seat to decorate the new apartment or the spare bedroom at mom's house.
The deals start at $35 and are offered at three levels. Lots of memorabilia can be had. Tops and bottoms are available. A Metrodome seat top comes with a number on it. If you'd prefer a bottom, you get no number, but you do get authentication. Crowdcut touts the seats as "perfect for autographs with a silver Sharpie."
You can get a piece of the turf, the roof or a 3"x3" "piece of "Game Used Locker Room." (Doesn't appear the locker's users will be specified. Absent DNA testing, you won't know whether you've got a piece of Adrian Peterson, Brett Favre or Dimitrius Underwood.)
All pieces come with COA, certificate of authenticity. Shipping is extra and ranges from $6 to $10.
Remember: You don't have to be a sports fan to want a hunk of the Dome. Perhaps you have fond memories of that late 1980s Rolling Stones concert or you met your spouse at a Monster Truck Jam.
Meanwhile, the new Minnesota Multipurpose Stadium is climbing fast on the Dome site. Work is starting to be visible above the fence-line. It's only gonna get higher, folks.
Also, if you're looking for a little something for that special Strib reporter in your life, a Duluth Pack Metrodome roof purse would make her (briefly) happy.