The Super Bowl is coming back to Arizona.
The NFL owners decided during their meeting in Houston Tuesday to award the 2015 game -- Super Bowl XLIX, played after the 2014 season – to Arizona, to be held at University of Phoenix Stadium. The Arizona bid beat out one from the Tampa/Orlando area.
There was not a “super majority” on the first vote – 75 percent, or 24, of the 32 teams voting for a spot – but Arizona received the simple majority needed on the second vote.
“That moment felt a lot like a 55-yard field goal in overtime with the wind blowing,” said Cardinals president Michael Bidwill, who followed the presentation by the Arizona host committee with a personal plea to fellow owners before the vote.
“My heart was racing.”
It will be the second Super Bowl at University of Phoenix Stadium. The first, Super Bowl XLIII, followed the 2007 season. Bidwill said the whole community is ready to host and lauded the $500 million impact it had on the Valley in 2007.
“We know what an economic boost to our state it will be,” Arizona governor Jan Brewer said. “Today is a yoo-hoo day, a great day.”
Bidwill praised the Glazer family, owners of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, and pointed out the Cardinals and the Bidwill family have a soft spot for Tampa as a Super Bowl spot because that’s where the Cardinals played in their Super Bowl appearance.
But bringing the game back to Arizona was the No. 1 priority for Bidwill.
“The Bidwill family genuinely deserves the lion’s share of this happening,” host committee chairman Mike Kennedy said. “I don’t know how the vote turns out without Michael operating with the owners.”
Commissioner Roger Goodell called it a “difficult choice” but said the league was thrilled to return to Arizona.
“It speaks volumes about our city and our state,” Cardinals coach Ken Whisenhunt said. “The way the community has come together to support the bid and to get it is fantastic. The economic impact it will bring to the Valley is staggering. There are a lot of people that have worked hard to get this.”
It’ll be the last bid for a while for Arizona. Unlike after winning the 2008 game, Bidwill said the host committee will wait until after the 2015 game “is in the rear-view mirror” before ramping up another future bid, drawing a smile of relief from Kennedy.
While there is no formal Super Bowl rotation – it’s too hard to judge given the random cities that have gotten recent games after building new stadiums – Bidwill said he was hopeful Arizona will continue to get a game every so often.
“It’s important to get into the queue and we are in the queue,” Bidwill said.
The Super Bowl this season will be in Indianapolis. The next two are in New Orleans and New York/New Jersey, before returning to the desert.
“We needed a win this week,” Bidwill said. “We felt like this was the best win we could get.”