NFC South: Steve Hale
Posted by ESPN.com's Pat Yasinskas
A little update to the ongoing story about the future of the Senior Bowl.
Although Senior Bowl president Steve Hale has said the college all-star game (and pseudo convention for NFL coaches, scouts, front-office workers and media) has no plans to leave its long-time home in Mobile, Ala., there's a story in today's print edition of The Tampa Tribune that sure makes it sound like the game could be on the move.
I've tried repeatedly to call up the Tribune's story online, but can't get an active link to share here. So we'll summarize some of the highlights of what Joey Johnston reported.
At a Monday afternoon meeting of the Tampa Sports Authority, interim director Mickey Farrell said he (along with officials from the Buccaneers and the Tampa Sports Commission) met with representatives from the Senior Bowl. On Tuesday, Farrell clarified to Johnston the meeting was with representatives of Under Armour, the Senior Bowl's sponsor.
Here's where things get a lot different from what Hale said.
"They've decided to look for a new home,'' Farrell told the board. "They're going to give Tampa first shot at it. We're expecting to hear more within a few weeks.''
Johnston also reports the Senior Bowl's contract with Ladd-Peebles Stadium has expired and there's a school of thought that Under Armour may want to move the game to an NFL city. Tampa's obviously got great facilities with Raymond James Stadium and the Bucs' nearby practice facility and there are a lot more hotels in Tampa than Mobile and the weather is better.
I've covered the Senior Bowl numerous times and it can be a little difficult to find a hotel room. It also can be a little unpleasant to stand around in cold and rain, which sometimes happens in Mobile in January.
But I will say this. Mobile has always rolled out the red carpet for the Senior Bowl and it's been a great event. The NFL basically takes over Mobile for the week of the game and it's a great time. Tampa's definitely got plenty of positives in its favor, but I wonder if some of the charm would be lost if this game's moved from the place it's been held since 1951?