INDIANAPOLIS —Back in 1984, with the Colts making the move over from Baltimore to Indianapolis, which had just built a brand new, domed stadium, the wheels were set in motion.
Over the last three-plus decades, Indianapolis has turned itself into one of the top host cities for several major sporting events each year, most notably the Super Bowl in 2012, the NCAA men's basketball Final Four on several occasions, the annual NFL Scouting Combine, the Big Ten Championship in football and basketball and, in 2022, the NCAA College Football Playoff National Championship game.
On Wednesday, the city took yet another step forward, as the NBA announced that Indianapolis and the Indiana Pacers would be the hosts for the 2021 NBA All-Star Game for just the second time in the Circle City's history.
The 2021 NBA All-Star Game, Skills Challenge, Three-Point Contest and Slam Dunk Contest, the league announced, will be hosted at Bankers Life Fieldhouse, while Lucas Oil Stadium, the home of the Colts, will play host to the annual All-Star Celebrity Game and the All-Star Team practices.
But Wednesday's announcement got us wondering: when will Indianapolis get another Super Bowl?
Lucas Oil Stadium was the site of Super Bowl XLVI back on Feb. 5, 2012, as the New York Giants edged the New England Patriots, 21-17, in one of the most thrilling NFL title games ever.
But outside of Lucas Oil Stadium, in the days leading up to the big game, fans and league officials alike raved about the Indy Super Bowl experience. While that year's game represented just the fourth Super Bowl to played in a "cold-weather city," the events in and around downtown — including the outdoor Super Bowl Village and other happenings at the Indiana Convention Center — eased any fears about such a large-scale event being held in Indiana in early-Februrary.
So could the league go for some Hoosier Hospitality again sometime soon?
Well, we know it couldn't be anytime in the next five years, as the NFL has already committed to Minneapolis in 2018, Atlanta in 2019, Miami in 2020, Tampa in 2021 and Los Angeles in 2022.
But beyond that? NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell certainly isn't ruling it out.
Goodell was asked specifically what he thought about Indianapolis as a host city of another Super Bowl back in August at the Colts' annual Kickoff Luncheon, and certainly didn't mince words.
"I see Indianapolis hosting another Super Bowl," he said.
"I will say this about the job this community did with the Super Bowl (back in 2012)," he continued, "I thought it was it was one of the best Super Bowls we ever had."
Indianapolis could also be vying to host another huge annual league event: the NFL Draft.
From 1964 through 2014, the NFL Draft was held at various venues in New York City, but in 2015, it began a two-year stint in Chicago.
And then last year, the NFL chose to move its draft to Philadelphia, and the huge response in the City of Brotherly Love encouraged the league to consider bringing the draft to more league cities across the nation.
The NFL announced earlier this year that the 2018 NFL Draft will be held at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas, the home of the Dallas Cowboys.
So could Indianapolis be in the running for the draft down the road, too? Well, Goodell had some "bad news" to first answer that question back in August.
"Twenty cities, out of 32 teams, are now bidding for the draft," he said. "It's become something that everyone is seeing."
"I see so many great things in this community that would make it a great event (in Indianapolis)," Goodell said. "Great facilities, great fan passion. I hope that you guys have put the bid in and are aggressively seeking it."