Eagles hope stadium renovations will help in Super Bowl bid

This is a view of Philadelphia's new Lincoln Financial Field on Thursday, June 12, 2003. (H. Rumph, Jr./AP)
This is a view of Philadelphia's new Lincoln Financial Field on Thursday, June 12, 2003. (H. Rumph, Jr./AP)
Posted: June 18, 2013

The Eagles are not spending $125 million to renovate Lincoln Financial Field to host a Super Bowl, but it doesn't hurt owner Jeffrey Lurie's case.

Lurie first mentioned the possibility in March when he was asked about New Jersey's MetLife Stadium hosting the Super Bowl this season. Lurie noted that if the event proves to be a success, he would push for Philadelphia to host the annual event. An updated stadium will enhance the Eagles' bid.

"That wasn't the intention, but certainly when I'm on the Super Bowl committee, when you're bidding on a Super Bowl, the committee looks very closely at your stadium and your city and what you can host," Lurie said. "Philadelphia would be a great place."

Lurie has a point about the stadium. Miami's bid to host the 50th Super Bowl in 2016 was thwarted when organizers could not raise the funds to improve their stadium. The next four Super Bowls, including Super Bowl L in San Francisco, will be played in recently improved or new stadiums.

"The stadium is a very important part of any of these proposals," NFL commissioner Roger Goodell said at the league meetings last month. "A couple of owners did express to me privately that the condition of the stadium was an important factor to them in their votes. But again, I don't know all 32 owners' perspectives on that."

Philadelphia's case is different from Miami's, considering that Lincoln Financial Field is a newer facility than Sun Life Stadium and that the renovations are privately financed. Then again, South Florida has hosted 10 Super Bowls. But the stadium is a major issue.

Goodell said the NFL has teams with new stadiums and teams investing in their current stadiums interested in the event. The NFL also needs more than 25,000 hotel rooms and other venues for events during Super Bowl week.

Indianapolis and Detroit built domed stadiums in recent seasons, which helped the league award them the game. The Minnesota Vikings are opening a new stadium in 2016 and could be in line for a future Super Bowl. The Eagles considered a roof but ultimately decided against it.

"Can you do a temporary roof for a Super Bowl? Can you retrofit a retractable roof?" Lurie asked. "I would guess the answer is really no at this point. And do our fans really want to have a permanent roof? I don't think so. We've always surveyed fans when we built the stadium. Do they want to have a domed stadium? And it was very obvious, of course, not in Philadelphia."

That leaves Lurie and Philadelphia in a similar situation to Boston and Chicago and other major cities with cold weather in February that are lobbying for the NFL's biggest game. Goodell's stance has remained unchanged: The league will see how February's game goes in New Jersey and will make a decision after that.

Count Lurie among owners with a vested interest in a smooth Super Bowl, despite the temperatures.

"We're going to watch that very closely," Lurie said. "I'm sure we've all been in phenomenal football games outside in December and January. We're going to root for a decent-weather day in New York and New Jersey. We think we've got a great city here to host it, and a great stadium, and I'm sure others feel the same way."


Contact Zach Berman at zberman@phillynews.com. Follow on Twitter @ZBerm.

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