JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Super Bowl XXXIX - the air was crisp, the stands were full.
Even though he was just a kid at the time, Matt Dodge remembers it well.
"All the people coming together in the streets, going to all the events and stuff, it was really nice,” said Dodge.
But will it ever happen again?
In a recent interview with our news partner the Jacksonville Business Journal, Jags owner Shad Khan didn’t make it sound too likely. When asked about the option he said, “It didn’t cross my mind, and I think this is a world where we have a finite amount of time, money and energy. I don’t think it’s a good use of Jacksonville’s resources.”
But not everyone agrees.
"It was a great opportunity. We exposed ourselves, showed how bold we can be and what we can accomplish,” said Rep. Mike Weinstein, the former President of the Jacksonville Super Bowl Host Committee.
Back in the late 1990s, Weinstein was the head of economic development for Jacksonville. Former Jags owner Wayne Weaver called on him to put together the Super Bowl application that won the city the hosting spot in 2005.
"It was a risk for the NFL to come here, but it worked out well. It was a real stretch-goal for everybody and it worked out,” said Weinstein.
And while there may be things Weinstein says should have been done differently – more hotel rooms available, more economic opportunities seized – he didn’t hesitate when we asked if it would be worth our while to host one again.
“Absolutely, it provided an opportunity for the city to expose itself to the rest of the country and the world,” said Weinstein.
Clutching his now 7-year-old Super Bowl football tight, Dodge couldn’t agree more.