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Tuesday, May 25, 2010
Tampa Bay officials still want Super Bowl

By Pat Yasinskas
ESPN.com

A little update since my last post, where I said it was sunny and 90 degrees in Tampa. It’s now raining and probably about 89 degrees.

But, hey, weather doesn’t really matter anymore. NFL owners have voted to give New York the 2014 Super Bowl. For the record, that’ll be in February of 2014. Isn’t there some saying about how it’s always sunny is Piscataway?

Anyway, I just got off a conference call with Tampa Bay Buccaneers co-chairman Bryan Glazer and members of the Tampa Bay Super Bowl bid committee that finished a close second to New York. Glazer said he was not told the final tally of the vote, but said he was told by league officials and several owners that the vote was much closer than expected.

“Under normal circumstances, we probably would have walked away with the trophy,’’ said Sandy MacKinnon of the Tampa Bay Super Bowl bid committee. “But the NFL was interested in making history with New York City and a new stadium. I think the odds were stacked against the traditional sunshine climate.’’

That’s probably the strongest statement out of the call. The Tampa Bay group was very careful not to point fingers at NFL commissioner Roger Goodell, who many in the media have said steered this game to New York and I share that opinion. Glazer and the members of the bid committee seemed to take some consolation in making the vote closer than many expected.

“This has gotten us well positioned for getting another Super Bowl in Tampa,’’ Glazer said. “The Tampa Bay area is a great area for the Super Bowl and the owners know it.’’

That’s a very good point and it made me reflect a bit on history. Many years ago, I was covering the Bucs for The Tampa Tribune, when Tampa Bay was putting in a bid on the Super Bowl following the 1999 season. The Bucs wound up losing that game to Atlanta, almost entirely because there was sentiment by owners to give a Super Bowl to former Falcons owner Rankin Smith.

After the vote went down, Tampa Bay owner Malcolm Glazer, usually a very quiet man, got up and got very loud. He started reminding former commissioner Paul Tagliabue and the rest of the owners that Tampa Bay had delivered on getting a new stadium. Glazer’s pitch wound up getting Tampa Bay the Super Bowl the following year.

Malcolm Glazer’s health isn’t so good these days. Sons Bryan, Joel and Ed run the team now and many fans view them as quiet. They are, to a degree. But they can be very firm when they have to be. I know for a fact Bryan was in that room when his father stood up and I’m sure he remembers it well.

“There are no guarantees,’’ Bryan Glazer said. “We are a strong contender for next year or the year after. I feel like we came out of this feeling very strong.’’

True, there are no guarantees. But I’m thinking the Glazers and the Tampa Bay folks have sent a message to the owners and it goes something like this: “We took one for the team. You owe us one’’.

Another quick weather update: The rain has now stopped. It’s still in the upper 80s. The sun is back out.