BOSTON (PBP) -- The prediction Dolphins owner Stephen Ross made this spring is turning out to be prophetic.
South Florida won’t be getting a Super Bowl anytime soon.
NFL owners made that official this afternoon when they awarded the 50th anniversary game, in February 2016, to the San Francisco 49ers’ future home in Santa Clara, Calif., then delivered a second wallop to the Dolphins.
The loser of the 2016 bid was immediately placed into contention with Houston for the 51st game, and owners again made Miami the runner-up as announcements were made by Commissioner Roger Goodell.
Both decisions were made on the first ballot, which required a super-majority (24 of 32 votes).
The decisions hardly were a surprise.
On May 3, Will Weatherford, speaker of the state House of Representatives, failed to bring to the floor a vote that would have let Miami-Dade County hold a referendum that could have authorized funds to help pay for $400 million in renovations to Sun Life Stadium.
In March, Ross said, “I do know that without a renovated stadium, Miami is not going to get the Super Bowl.”
Insisting that Weatherford had assured him he would allow a House vote, Ross was highly critical of what he called “dysfunctional” Tallahassee. But he, the Dolphins and the South Florida Super Bowl Bid Committee tried to put their best face on what Dolphins CEO Mike Dee termed a bid with the stadium in “as-is” condition.
They knew they were battling the odds because the NFL has shown a penchant delivering the Super Bowl as a reward for enhancing facilities.
It worked most recently for the New York area and for Dallas. Today, it worked for the 49ers, who are building a $1.2 billion stadium to open in 2014. Houston’s Reliant Stadium opened in 2002. Sun Life opened in 1987.
The Dolphins’ slim hopes were resting on tradition, since the area has hosted 10 Super Bowls, tying it with New Orleans for the most. They also were hoping to woo voters with plans for a massive Super Bowl bash on Biscayne Boulevard in downtown Miami, including staging football games on a regulation-sized field on the deck of an aircraft carrier docked near the Port of Miami.
South Florida’s late January-early February weather and South Beach also were part of the allure. The only thing missing: a state-of-the-art stadium, which became more of an issue in 2007 when it rained on the Chicago Bears-Indianapolis Colts Super Bowl at Sun Life.
When the next Super Bowl comes to Miami is anybody’s guess. At the very least, today’s vote guaranteed that South Florida will now endure a Super Bowl gap as large as any in its history. The area didn’t host a Super Bowl between 1999 and 2007, an eight-year gap, and the next available game will be in 2018. The most recent Super Bowl in South Florida was in 2010, when the New Orleans Saints defeated the Colts 31-17.
South Florida’s bid presentation was emceed by Jimmy Cefalo, a former Dolphins receiver and voice of the club on radio. Former Dolphin Jason Taylor also was in Boston to trumpet the cause.