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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