INDIANAPOLIS - The news came in yesterday. Today was the day for celebration.
Students, teachers, football players, and members of the Super Bowl bid committee all gathered in the gym of Harshman Middle School (IPS School #101) Wednesday afternoon. Each individual filled to the brim with pride and excitement at the announcement that Indianapolis had been chosen to host Super Bowl XLVI.
"This is a great day in the history of Indianapolis," Mayor Greg Ballard told the audience of cheering fans.
"This feel's a little bit like the day we came back from the Super Bowl," Colts Owner and Chief Executive Officer Jim Irsay added.
Also speaking that afternoon were Indianapolis Colts coach Tony Dungy, Peyton Manning, Lt. Governor Becky Skillman, Indianapolis Super Bowl Bid Committee President Mark Miles, and Superintendent of Indianapolis Public Schools Eugene White.
"This Super Bowl is more than just about one game. We're ready to translate the Super Bowl legacy into a lasting memory so it stretches on more than one week."
The wheels are already turning in the city of Indianapolis to get prepared for the 2012 Super Bowl.
"We're busy turning the bid committees vision into a reality," said Ballard.
Part of that vision includes a $10 million practice facility at Tech High School, just down the road from Harshman, that will be used by the NFL during the week leading up to the Super Bowl, then by the high school afterwards. That aspect of the bid was emphasized in the bid by Eugene White, Superintendent of the Indianapolis Public School system.
"Forty-six is an important number, but yesterday we talked about being number one," White said, gesturing to the crowd of elementary and middle school students before him.
Transformation was the key message incorporated into White's speech before the bid committee, a speech he rewrote at midnight the night before he was scheduled to speak.
"It's time for a transformation," White continued. "In every city that has hosted a Super Bowl they wanted to have a legacy. This time we wanted to help the whole eastside community."
"[The Super Bowl] will add to the transformation of the near east side."
White emphasized the importance of teamwork in the city's bid for the Super Bowl.
"Eighth graders, you will be seniors that year. Between now and then do everything in your power to prepare for your future," White said. "To set an example."
"What you need to be aware of is that it takes all of us to get the job done."
Miles added, "This really does represent a thirty year effort. There were 15 people in Atlanta, but they were there on behalf of hundreds of people that worked on this."
Irsay also attributed the success of the bid to the spirit of teamwork.
"Through all this it was about being a team and being selfless – working together to accomplish this. I just want to thank everyone for their support."