- Pat Yasinskas, ESPN Staff Writer
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As the host city for next year’s Super Bowl, New Orleans reportedly is a candidate to host the Pro Bowl in 2013.
This situation remains very much up in the air, but there’s some pretty solid logic — and precedent — to putting the all-star game with the Super Bowl in New Orleans.
It’s been done before. Although the Pro Bowl was held in Honolulu on Sunday and also was there last year, it was held in Miami, the same city that hosted the Super Bowl prior to that. That also was the first time the NFL moved the game to the week before the Super Bowl, a trend that has continued and is expected to remain in place.
Hawaii’s two-year contract for the Pro Bowl is up. A return to Hawaii in 2013 remains a possibility and the game likely will be played in Honolulu in 2014 when New York/New Jersey hosts the Super Bowl. There’s been talk that the plan going forward will be to play the Pro Bowl in Hawaii when the Super Bowl is being held in a cold-weather venue and in the host city when it’s a warm climate.
New Orleans’ climate in January and February might not be as consistently warm as Miami’s, Tampa Bay’s, San Diego’s or in the Phoenix area. But it’s generally significantly warmer than it is in New York or Indianapolis.
A lot of players believe the Pro Bowl should be in Hawaii every year. There is a part of me that agrees with that, especially if all NFL writers get to make the trip. Hawaii has the Pro Bowl tradition and the state and the city of Honolulu really roll out the red carpet for the event.
There also is some talk about putting next year’s Pro Bowl in Los Angeles or Orlando. I’d vote against either venue. Neither is home to an NFL team or has an NFL-quality stadium. If players want to take their families to Disney World or Disney Land, they can do that some other time during the offseason.
The NFL apparently is talking to Hawaii about a return trip. If a deal can be worked out there, great. If not, I say bring the Pro Bowl to New Orleans.
That would at least put the Pro Bowl and the Super Bowl in the same city, which makes plenty of logistical sense. I’d also make the argument that New Orleans is equipped to handle both.
New Orleans may not be a huge market, but the city has a long history of successfully being home to big events. The city is set up perfectly for a Super Bowl, with the Mercedes-Benz Superdome only a short walk or ride from most of the downtown hotels. In fact, of all the Super Bowls I’ve been to, I’d say New Orleans has the best logistics of any site.
If next year’s Pro Bowl isn’t in Hawaii, put it in New Orleans. It’s a logical fit.