This time, we promise to do much better.
The only ice you’ll see when the Super Bowl returns to Atlanta in early 2019 will be floating in your over-priced bourbon and ginger (extra for the official NFL souvenir glass).
Three years should be plenty of time for our enlightened leadership to solve the traffic that ever so rarely clogs area roads. The trip to any of the events surrounding the game will be as leisurely as a drive through Amish Country.
The streets will be safe. The sun will be shining. Extra rescue workers will be brought in that week to save merchants from drowning in crisp $100 bills.
It’s a better-than-even bet the new Mercedes-Benz Dome roof will be operational by then. If not, we will let our smiles be our ponchos.
Ray Lewis and his associates will behave this time.
The NFL can’t do much better than the game that came from the last Super Bowl in Atlanta – No. 34, in 2000 – when the Rams of St. Louis (how quaint) beat the Titans of Tennessee 23-16. Kurt Warner threw for 414 yards. The Titans were a yard away from tying the game when time expired in a contest good to the last gasp. But we’ll endeavor to put on an even better show.
Other things didn’t go so well the last time. Snow and freezing rain beset the city both the weekend before and the weekend of the big game. The Titans did some of their mid-week interviews in a freezing tent outside their hotel. The Rams whined about practicing on the frigid outdoor fields of the Falcons old practice facility in Suwanee (the new one in Flowery Branch at least has an indoor field). Both teams skipped the Saturday walk-throughs at the Georgia Dome because the roads were too slick to safely navigate. Madonna backed out of performing at halftime. The Bud Bowl street party had more of an Iditarod feel. Cancelled flights beleaguered some trying to fly in for the weekend. A smoky cloud formed after the indoor pregame and halftime pyrotechnics and fouled the Georgia Dome air for much of the game. Two Decatur men were stabbed in Buckhead, and All Pro linebacker Ray Lewis went on trial (eventually pleading guilty only to misdemeanor obstruction of justice).
We promise it will be so much better this time.
So, workmen keep on working. Had the NFL owners somehow decided to not reward Atlanta for building a mostly unnecessary new stadium, then we might have advocated dropping the hammers, stilling the cranes, and leaving the new place unfinished. For it was the promise of bringing back the Super Bowl – along with the already harvested plums of a college football national championship game and a Final Four – that put so much of the blinding dazzle into the new stadium campaign.
When Arthur Blank’s new place is finished, it and the great city that surrounds it will hold just about the hippest, happiest, most compelling Super Bowl you’ve ever seen.
We promise. That’s what Super Bowl hosts do.
And if it all isn’t perfect, so what?
They all said we’d never get the game again after the mess of 2000, and here we have this fourth-ballot aye vote 16 years later.
And no matter how this next one goes, we’ll just build another new stadium in 20 or so years, and snag that coveted Super Bowl 75.