According to PFT, the San Francisco 49ers and the Dallas Cowboys will both be bidding to host Super Bowl L in 2016. For those who aren’t good with Roman numerals, that means Super Bowl 50. We all know that the Browns have never appeared in a Super Bowl or hosted one. While we can’t guarantee that the Browns will ever compete in a Super Bowl, recent history with Indianapolis and Detroit hosting Super Bowls tells us that we could host one if we had a roof on the stadium. Much like Browns fans proved with Peyton Hillis’ Madden cover, we are a powerful group of people. Is it time that we finally controlled our own destiny and got a Super Bowl hosted in the city of Cleveland by building a roof?
I know this is always a controversial idea because Browns football is rooted in history of playing outdoors. Then again Browns football is also rooted in the history of the late 80s that also never produced a trip to the Super Bowl. As hard as we’ve rooted, the Lerner family hasn’t been able to deliver more than a single playoff game. So maybe it is time to take control of our own destiny and at least get in the running to host a Super Bowl.
A retractable roof isn’t cheap. The estimate for the retractable roof in Minnesota accounts for about $200 million of the $791 million stadium budget. The bulk of the materials to build the retractable roof in Indianapolis approached the $100 million dollar range. So, it obviously isn’t a cheap proposition. The positive economic impact isn’t small either.
The NFL wildly overestimates the economic impact of the Super Bowl coming to your town in all likelihood. Some people spout off numbers like $500 million which is kind of crazy. It might be $500 million if you didn’t have to expend any money to earn that $500 million. But let’s say the impact is a couple hundred million. It should pay for the roof all by itself.
In addition to that, it gives Cleveland a venue to host more events. I won’t pretend that the concert industry is doing well or anything. The number of stadium acts that can play rock concerts isn’t high. Still, if you add a festival and a couple of country acts per year that would be nice. In addition you can host high school playoff football like they do in Indianapolis. Point being that it could turn into a public hub for activity double as many times per year as it does right now pretty conservatively without much issue.
Yes, we might have to sell the naming rights to the stadium to defray the cost. Yes, we might have to invest some tax dollars to make it happen. Yes, it does change a bit of the culture around the football team. But you know what? Bernie Kosar isn’t walking back through that door to throw touchdown passes to Webster Slaughter. Hanford Dixon isn’t breaking up anymore passes either. The only portion of the culture that lives is being drunk and cold as players hate to play here. Maybe free agents still wouldn’t flock to Cleveland, but at least it wouldn’t be an impediment.
Certainly the best way to turn the Browns around and attract free agents is to instill a winning culture. Players don’t mind playing in Pittsburgh where the winters stink too. And who knows? Mike Holmgren and company could be doing that, but just in case they’re not, we should take control of what we can control as fans. We proved our power with Peyton Hillis and the Madden cover. Now it’s time to take on something bigger and even more fruitful.
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