Chicago possible Super Bowl host?

Updated: May 31, 2012, 10:17 PM ET
By Scott Powers | ESPNChicago.com

CHICAGO -- NFL commissioner Roger Goodell and Chicago mayor Rahm Emanuel spoke Thursday about the possibility of Soldier Field hosting a Super Bowl.

The NFL will hold the Super Bowl in MetLife Stadium, an open-air stadium, in New Jersey in 2014, and could host future games at cold-weather sites.

"We did speak about this earlier," Goodell said during a news conference to honor Soldier Field as the first NFL stadium certified by LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design). "As you know, we are hosting a Super Bowl in New York in an open-air stadium in 2014, and we're excited about that. We think it's going to be a great thing for our fans, and a great thing for New York.

"I think if we can do it successfully there, I think that opens up doors where we'll be looking at. Obviously, you know how to host great events. ... And you got a great stadium."

Emanuel touted Chicago being the recent host of the NATO Summit as proof of its ability to host a large event like the Super Bowl.

"First of all, we've always been good enough to host the Super Bowl," Emanuel said. "Obviously, they're going to have their Super Bowl in another (cold-weather) city. See how that goes. But we talked about why Chicago ... two weeks ago (we) had a bunch of world leaders here, sixth largest NATO Summit. If we can do that, it'll be a perfect place to have a Super Bowl."

Goodell admitted Soldier Field's capacity of about 63,500 would need to be examined if Chicago were to bid on the Super Bowl, but it wasn't the lone factor in deciding a site. MetLife Stadium has a capacity of 82,500 people.

"Capacity is always an issue, but at the end of the day we'd have to look at the specifics," Goodell said. "That would be part of the bid. The most important thing now is having a great stadium and having a city that can have the infrastructure to host the hundreds of thousands of people who come in.

"We estimate probably 150,000 people come in for a Super Bowl. Obviously, not everyone can get into the stadium, but they want to be a part of the event. We know the great passion (for) football here in Chicago. It's one of the things we'll look at if there's interest in hosting here."

Emanuel joked he did have one item of leverage on Goodell.

"I found out a secret, and that is the commissioner's in-laws live in the Chicago area," Emanuel said. "I'm holding them hostage until (the Super Bowl) happens."

Scott Powers is a general reporter for ESPNChicago.com. He is an award-winning journalist and has been reporting on preps, colleges and pros for publications throughout the Midwest since 1997.

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