Lurie touts Philly as possible Super Bowl site

Posted: February 02, 2014

NEW YORK - Minutes after NFL commissioner Roger Goodell said that the league will review how this year's New Jersey/New York Super Bowl went and review the potential of more Super Bowls in cold-weather cities, Eagles owner Jeffrey Lurie continued touting the candidacy of Philadelphia for a future game.

"Philadelphia would be an amazing place to have a game...," Lurie said. "All the infrastructure, state of-the-art stadium, great fan base. It's pretty obviously very capable of hosting it, and we'd be very excited to participate in it. And I think the community would wholeheartedly embrace it."

Goodell would not commit to future games in cold-weather cities, and emphasized how unique this year's event is and the planning that went into it.

"The ability to host a Super Bowl is more and more complicated, more and more complex, because of the size of the event and the number of events," Goodell said.

Yet Lurie was emphatic that Philadelphia has everything needed to host a Super Bowl. Goodell specifically cited the need for at least 30,000 hotel rooms, and Lurie said that would not be a problem. Center City has 11,686 hotel rooms and Philadelphia County has just fewer than 40,000, with more in the surrounding areas.

The obstacle might not be the weather as much as the competition. If Philadelphia is a realistic contender for a Super Bowl, so too would cities such as Chicago, Boston, Washington, and Denver.

"Philadelphia has every requirement, potentially, necessary," Lurie said. However . . . a lot of cities are capable of hosting a Super Bowl. It could just be a timing issue. I think there's a lot of hope on the part of a lot of cities, domestically and internationally, to host a Super Bowl."

When Lurie was asked how Philadelphia would compare to those other cities, he said that would be up to the NFL owners to determine. But he boasted about what Philadelphia offers. Lurie cited the Constitution Center, Art Museum, and The Barnes as "state-of-the-art places to hold events." The stadium complex would allow for different possibilities in the same area, and he emphasized that Philadelphia has a "live downtown."

"I think it stacks up great," Lurie said. "It's one of the four largest cities in the country. The only two that have not held a Super Bowl are Philly and Chicago."

Lurie was impressed with this year's event to date - he's staying until Monday and will attend Sunday's game. He did not think weather would be a deterrent for hosting Super Bowl. He even called NFL commissioner Roger Goodell after the Dec. 8 Eagles-Lions game in eight inches of snow and raved about the experience. He conceded that there could be transportation issues, but noted that how much the spectators enjoyed it and the quality of the game.

"It was one of the greatest sporting events in the history of Philadelphia," Lurie said. "As a football fan growing up with a lot of cold weather games, it was one of the greatest experiences both live, and cinematically. Just incredible. And until you had seen it, who knew?"

Lurie said the ongoing renovation at Lincoln Financial Field was done independent of a Super Bowl bid. He has not yet broached the topic with the city, but it's an issue that Lurie is serious about discussing.

"We wanted to go through the New York/New Jersey experience and see what people can take from it," Lurie said.

Correction: An earlier version of this article quoted Lurie as saying Philadelphia is the fourth-largest city in the country. It is the fifth-largest, after Houston. 


zberman@phillynews.com

@ZBerm

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