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Friday, June 7, 2013
Mayor talks Chicago Super Bowl

By Jeff Dickerson
ESPNChicago.com

CHICAGO -- Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel continued his push to have his city host the Super Bowl during a recent conversation with NFL commissioner Roger Goodell, the mayor's spokesperson confirmed Friday.

"The mayor and Roger Goodell spoke last week on a number of matters," Emanuel's spokesman, Tom Alexander, said to ESPNChicago.com. "They speak or see one another on occasion. The mayor spoke with the commissioner about several things that would allow Chicago and the NFL to expand their already wonderful relationship. Chicago is a great sports town and a great football town, and the mayor wants to build on these strengths."

Besides talk of Soldier Field hosting the Super Bowl, Emanuel also pitched the idea of Chicago becoming the new home of the annual NFL draft. The league is considering moving the draft out of New York City's Radio City Music Hall after 2014.

"We appreciate the mayor's interest in the NFL," NFL spokesperson Greg Aiello told ESPNChicago.com.

NBC Chicago earlier reported the mayor and commissioner had rekindled talks regarding a Super Bowl possibly being played in Chicago.

Emanuel has been a strong advocate of enhancing Chicago's NFL profile ever since he took office a little more than two years ago. The mayor first broached the subject with the commissioner last year at a news conference to honor Soldier Field as the first NFL stadium certified by LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design).

In recent years, the league has become more open to the idea of the Super Bowl being played in cold-weather cities

"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," Goodell said at that news conference. "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 went on to trumpet the fact Chicago was host of the 2012 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. Two weeks ago, [we] had a bunch of world leaders here, the sixth-largest NATO summit. If we can do that, it'll be a perfect place to have a Super Bowl."

However, one strike against such a bid is Solider Field's capacity of about 63,500. In contrast, MetLife Stadium in New Jersey has a capacity of 82,500. Also, recent cold-weather city Super Bowl hosts Detroit and Indianapolis have stadiums equipped with roofs, a feature Solider Field lacks.

Following the New York-area Super Bowl in February, the game will be held in Arizona, San Francisco and Houston. The earliest Super Bowl for which Chicago could bid is 2018.