NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell said during a conference call with Seahawks fans last week that it’s possible Seattle could at some point host the Super Bowl.
Goodell by no means guaranteed it. In fact, he wasn’t even the one who brought it up. Responding to a fan’s inquiry, Goodell left open the possibility before calling the bidding process “pretty competitive” and saying the infrastructure required in a host city “has gotten pretty significant.”
ESPN’s John Clayton told the Kevin Calabro show Monday that he thinks the chances of it happening are “virtually none.”
“One, I don’t know if there’s enough hotel rooms to be able to support it. No. 2, the fact that it’s an outdoor venue in the north — not that it’s going to be as cold as New York or as cold as some other places — (but) that’s still going to be in question. No. 3, maybe not having the big enough stadium to do it,” Clayton said, listing the three obstacles he sees impeding Seattle’s chances of hosting the Super Bowl.
Ralph Morton, the executive director of the Seattle Sports Commission, is more optimistic.
“It could happen,” said Morton, who is familiar with the selection process having worked on the committees that helped New Orleans land Super Bowls XXXI and XXXVI.
Morton said King County has more than 34,000 hotel rooms, well above the 30,000 needed for a host city. That total is more than 40,000 when including hotel rooms in Pierce and Snohomish counties.
Morton dismissed the notion that Qwest Field’s capacity — the stadium’s website lists it at 67,000 — could preclude it from hosting a Super Bowl, saying that it wouldn’t take much to add seating if necessary. In the conference call, Goodell made no mention of any concerns about Qwest Field’s ability to host the game. He called it a “great stadium … which I think would be fantastic.”
And then there’s Seattle’s winter weather, which seems less than ideal for a game mostly played in either domed stadiums or outdoor venues in warm-weather cities. According to weather.com, Seattle’s average temperature in February is 44 degrees, which Morton said is six degrees below the preferred temperature for a host city.
Of course, the 2014 Super Bowl was awarded to New York City, which has an average February temperature of 32 degrees, showing that the league’s Super Bowl Advisory Committee is flexible in some instances.
“Very few cities, if any, meet every criteria,” Morton said.