ATLANTA – The Indianapolis bid delegation knew what they were up against in trying to host the 2018 Super Bowl.
At the end of the process, that competition proved to be too stiff.
Minnesota, with a new billion-dollar stadium scheduled for completion in 2016, captured the bid to host Super Bowl LII (52) and the game will return to the Twin Cities for the first time since 1992.
Indianapolis was the last city to present on Tuesday afternoon with Allison Melangton and Jeff Saturday spearheading the city's effort.
When Indianapolis was announced as the first city out on Tuesday afternoon, a gasp spread across the Diplomat Room at the Ritz-Carlton Buckhead Hotel in Atlanta.
The realization set in with the bid delegation assembled that despite all the efforts to bring another Super Bowl to Indianapolis, the opposition was too much.
"Obviously a stadium is a key part of it," Melangton said of Minnesota's winning bid. "All three bid cities presented something completely different as the thing they were pitching. Minnesota's was the stadium. New Orleans was the 300-year anniversary.
"For us, we stayed true to who we are. We are a community who has great engagement, and great volunteers and a legacy that's important to us. Legacy and being able to invest back into the community is important to us. We are never going to vary from that. We are never going to try and be somebody we're not. This round that wasn't the priority for the owners and they get to choose."
On Tuesday afternoon, the entire Indianapolis bid delegation gathered as one in their meeting room following Melangton and Saturday's 15-minute final presentation.
The room was lively and optimistic before turning their attention to a TV where they learned their fate.
One of the unique aspects Indianapolis' 2018 bid had was the inclusion of Saturday during the presentation.
Saturday was a key cog in resolving labor negotiations during the 2011 offseason and his rapport with owners was thought to be critical for Indianapolis' bid.
"To address the ownership and the people making the decisions, I was very fortunate to be asked. I'm glad I did it," Saturday said after the announcement.
"We put together a great package. These people are dialed in and it makes our city look good. Money is already raised. Stadium is in great shape. We've got a great legacy program. If you look at it, there's nothing else that we could have done differently. I've got no regrets."
When Indianapolis headed into their 15-minute presentation early Tuesday afternoon, New Orleans appeared to be the favorite, having won all 10 of their previous bids.
In the end though, it was Minnesota who won over the owners.
Jim Irsay said the feeling is "like coming into a losing locker room" but the Colts Owner could not be more proud of the effort put forth by the Indianapolis bid delegation.
"It's always tough when you are going up against someone who is building a new stadium," Irsay said. "It's not by rule, but by tradition, that they get awarded one. Minnesota received that kind of unwritten rule on the game. It was tough competition, particularly with that factor in play.
"Everyone did such a great job and I can't thank them enough. Allison is amazing and Jeff Saturday really stepped up and did a great job. I thought if we got through the first vote that we really had a chance. We had a tremendous presentation and it's tough."