Enjoy the Super Bowl, it might be South Florida's last
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By Armando Salguero
MIAMI — By the time this day is finished, Super Bowl XLIV will join the ranks of South Florida Super Sundays that will endure the passage of time.
Maybe Drew Brees will author a last-minute drive to rival the one Joe Montana showed us in Super Bowl XXIII. Maybe Peyton Manning will lead the Colts to victory and win an MVP award to twin with the one from his last Miami Super Bowl.
Or maybe this will be as much a mismatch as Super Bowl XXIX, when Steve Young lit up the San Diego Chargers and the South Florida night with six touchdown passes.
Whatever happens in this record 10th South Florida Super Bowl, enjoy it, soak it in, and let it become a lasting memory.
Because we might not get another one of these games for a long time.
A very long time.
The game definitely will not be back before 2014 because the next three Super Bowl sites already are set.
The game will go to Cowboys Stadium in Arlington, Texas, next year, Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis in 2012 and the Louisiana Superdome in New Orleans in 2013.
And while the South Florida Super Bowl Host Committee is gathering steam to put in a bid for the 2014 game, there's no certainty that bid will happen, much less succeed.
SUPER SWAN SONG?
The fact is committee chairman Rodney Barreto faces tough questions whether this will be the last time the Super Bowl visits South Florida ever.
"I don't know if it will be the last time," Barreto said. "I think we're going to step up and send the right message to the NFL."
The message the NFL wants to hear is that South Florida is willing to upgrade Sun Life Stadium. NFL commissioner Roger Goodell told me last week the lighting in the stadium is substandard for prime-time games, much less Super Bowls.
The league also doesn't like that it rained during the Colts Super Bowl victory over Chicago in 2007.
High-paying Super Bowl patrons complained. And the league wants its fans happy and in their seats, not in the concourses trying to stay dry when the TV cameras pan the stadium.
So we have a problem.
And we don't really have a solution.
Sure lights can be installed. But a new roof on a 23-year-old stadium?
Folks, that's such a terrible idea on so many levels, it boggles the mind.
The Dolphins, partners with the community in attracting Super Bowls to South Florida, commissioned renditions of a 621,000-square-foot roof that might solve the league's rain concerns.
But the proposed solution would only create more problems for South Florida and its football fans.
ROOF A JOKE
Aesthetically the roof is, well, horrendous. It reminds of a 1985 addition to a 1955 Hialeah home. The old stadium and the new roof simply don't belong together.
Secondly, the roof has a hole at the top. That's because to close the roof would require the entire stadium to be air-conditioned, which would cost hundreds of millions of dollars in addition to the hundreds of millions the incomplete roof is estimated to cost.
Next, there is a question whether a recently added roof would actually remain on the stadium in case of some unforeseen natural phenomenon — like hurricanes.
And then there is that issue of those hundreds of millions of dollars in costs. The Dolphins aren't volunteering to pay for it. The Super Bowl Host Committee doesn't have that kind of money.
And taxpayers are as eager to shell out the funding as Scott Rothstein and Bernie Madoff victims are of funding another Ponzi scheme.
So this roof will be funded only one of two ways: An unexpected benefactor comes forward. Or our elected officials and their lobbyist friends go into backroom-deal mode to circumvent the public's will and trust.
"We need to look at it," Barreto said of the upgrade idea. "As chairman, I don't want to look back 10 years from now and say, 'We thought (the NFL) was bluffing, and we didn't blink. And now we don't have the game.'
"We should take a good look at it and see if there's some way to partner with the Dolphins and get something done."
While we're waiting on that, enjoy Sunday's game. We might not see another around here for a long time.
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