In retrospect, so many analysts (including myself) were foolish to paint Minnesota as an underdog. We were blinded by New Orleans' perfect 10-0 record in its history of bidding to host the Super Bowl -- not to mention NOLA's history of putting on such a fantastic event.
No other city has been a consistently better Super Bowl host than New Orleans, which last hosted the game in 2013.
Instead, New Orleans lost out to a more powerful hot streak: the city with a new stadium.
Minnesota joins Houston, Jacksonville, Detroit, Arizona, Dallas, Indianapolis and San Francisco as teams that have been awarded with Super Bowls on the strength of new stadiums since 2000.
And this happens to be a $1 billion stadium, roughly half of which came from taxpayer funding.
New Orleans' 300th birthday was a compelling reason to bring the Super Bowl back in 2018. But $500 million apparently trumps 300.
"This was more about Minnesota, a new stadium and the commitment the state of Minnesota has made to have a new stadium," Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones told the New Orleans Advocate, stressing that the vote was certainly no indictment of New Orleans.
Asked if he would encourage New Orleans to bid again as soon as possible, Jones said, "I sure would. But New Orleans doesn't need me to tell 'em how to do it. Because they've had more Super Bowls than anybody. ...
"Just know they're one of the great places in the hearts of the owners in the NFL," Jones said. "It just didn't work this vote."
So where does New Orleans go from here?
The answer isn't immediately clear since New Orleans has never actually been in this position -- needing to get taped up and head back out on the field.
But leaders of NOLA's effort vowed to bid again soon.
"We will be back in the mix to get another Super Bowl to New Orleans soon," Saints owner Tom Benson said in a statement. "As we stated in our presentation, New Orleans is the perfect Super Bowl city."
Jay Cicero, the president and CEO of the Greater New Orleans Sports Foundation, told ESPN.com that there isn't a specific timetable for that next bid yet. He explained that teams and cities typically get invited to bid for Super Bowls in October, and they will evaluate that opportunity if they're invited.
Everyone in New Orleans' contingent was gracious in defeat Tuesday -- though nobody tried to hide their disappointment.
Rod West, the CAO of Entergy and the co-presenter of New Orleans' pitch to the owners Tuesday, called it a "shock," according to media present at the league meetings in Atlanta.
But Cicero insisted that New Orleans' Super Bowl history is "not tarnished in any way."
"We've never bid against a new stadium city that I can remember," Cicero told the media in Atlanta. "So we understand how it goes. We accept defeat as gracious as we accept winning a bid. The Minnesota Vikings and the city of Minneapolis should be congratulated, and we wish them the best Super Bowl they could possibly put on."
Cicero is right. New Orleans' greatness as a Super Bowl host hasn't been tarnished. There has been none better on a consistent basis, from Super Bowl IV in 1970 to Super Bowl XLVII in 2013.
And New Orleans looks forward to proving it again. Sooner than later.