Colts Owner and Chief Executive Officer Likes City's Chances to Host 2012 Super Bowl
ATLANTA, Ga. – Jim Irsay had movies briefly on his mind Monday.
Irsay, the Colts' Owner and Chief Executive Officer, on Monday afternoon stood in a plush hotel lobby in a Southern city. He discussed his hopes for the following day, when the city of Indianapolis will bid on an opunity to host the Super Bowl.
Just a year before, Irsay did the same thing.
"A little like Groundhog Day," Irsay said, smiling.
Irsay was referring to a mid-1990s movie in which Bill Murray's character repeatedly awakens to find events of the previous day repeating themselves.
The city of Indianapolis, which last May narrowly lost a bid to host the 2011 Super Bowl, on Tuesday will bid to be the host city for Super Bowl XLVI in February of 2012. The members of the city's Super Bowl committee will submit its bid at the Spring 2008 NFL Owners Meeting at the Ritz-Carlton Buckhead in Atlanta.
In this case, Irsay said in no way does he want a repeat.
"Let's hope the Groundhog Day will end this time," Irsay said. "It was a good movie, but . . ."
Irsay, as he did last spring, in recent weeks has lobbied his fellow NFL owners on the city's merits as a Super Bowl host city.
A year ago, owners meeting in Nashville, Tenn., voted 17-15 to award Super Bowl XLV to a group representing North Texas. That the process went in Dallas' favor likely was due mostly to the capacity of the Dallas' Cowboys' new stadium compared to that of Lucas Oil Stadium, Irsay said.
Lucas Oil Stadium, the state-of-the-art facility in downtown Indianapolis scheduled to open in August, will seat about 73,000 for a Super Bowl.
The Cowboys' new stadium is expected to hold close to 100,000 for a Super Bowl.
"You prepare for endurance," Irsay said. "You prepare for redoubling your efforts and prepare for getting focused for having a great bid. We were really disappointed last time, but we knew Dallas was so formidable because their stadium was so unprecedented with how large it was and all of the amenities.
"We had never seen a Super Bowl bid that could offer the things they did."
This season, Indianapolis is bidding against groups representing Phoenix and Houston. Indianapolis is expected to present its bid at 1:30 p.m. Tuesday, with Phoenix and Houston bidding thereafter in that order.
The owners will vote by secret ballot after the bids are made.
"I feel good about it," Irsay said. "All of them (NFL owners) know how difficult it is to build stadiums. In our case, you couldn't have done it without the public-private partnership. I feel good about getting that message across. I've had a number of conversations from here to Moscow. We have an owner who's in Moscow right now tending after a soccer team. I've tracked people down all over the world."
The feedback, Irsay said, "has been positive" and said the feedback began shortly after the city lost its bid a year ago.
"I do think our bid is as strong or better," Irsay said. "You have the ability to learn, going through the bid process once. If it's possible, I think it can even be stronger this year. It's hard, because you're competing against yourself and we put everything into last year and it was such a great bid.
"I know that I was told by my fellow owners, 'Hey, you've got to get back into it. It was the best bid we've ever seen,' and we just ran into the difficult perfect storm with Dallas' enormous ability to grow so much with the size of their stadium. It was tough, but at the same time, we really focused on working as hard as we could and here we sit, right at the day before.
"It's going to be a great bid . . . probably even better than last year, but again, we had a great bid last year as well."
The officials responsible for the city's bid spent Monday evening putting final touches on the 15-minute presentation. While Irsay and Colts Head Coach Tony Dungy spoke to the media in the lobby, those same officials – including bid committee chairman Mark Miles – held a brief press conference in a conference room at the Ritz-Carlton.
They spoke of many of the same things Irsay discussed, particularly Lucas Oil Stadium, a retractable-roof facility that also will serve as the home of men's and women's NCAA basketball Final Fours.
"I feel good about it," Irsay said. "We have a great bid. We've done everything we can to put ourselves in a position to get it done tomorrow (Tuesday). It's a bit nerve-wracking and I hope by tomorrow evening, tomorrow afternoon, we can say we've gotten it done. It's certainly deserving for what our community has done for us and the National Football League.
"You're hopeful, but you're cautious. I guess I'm nervous optimist right now."