Soldier Field stadium, Shed Aquarium and Navy Pier in 2009. (Antonio Perez/Chciago…
Could Chicago ever host the Super Bowl?
While all eyes will be on New York/New Jersey this Sunday for the first open-air, cold weather Super Bowl, Chicagoans have been debating for years whether the Big Game could come to the Windy City.
Short answer: It's complicated.
Bears chairman George McCaskey, who is on the NFL's Super Bowl committee, talked to the Chicago Tribune last March about whether the city could host.
"It will depend on what happens in New York/New Jersey in 2014. If it is 30 below, it might be the last we hear about a northern city, open-air Super Bowl in quite awhile," he said. "We would have to make some modifications to Soldier Field to address the capacity issue at least. But it's the greatest city in the world. We have the hotels. We have the cultural life. We have the attractions. We have the buzz and the excitement."
In 2013, espnchicago.com reported that Mayor Emanuel's office said he talked to NFL commissioner Roger Goodell.
"The mayor spoke with the commissioner about several things that would allow Chicago and the NFL to expand their already wonderful relationship," a spokesman was quoted as saying. "Chicago is a great sports town and a great football town, and the mayor wants to build on these strengths."
The year before, Goodell was in Chicago honoring Soldier Field for being the first NFL stadium for earning a green designation for leadership in energy and environmental design. He said he was excited about hosting the upcoming Super Bowl in New York, according to espnchicago.com.
"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," Goodell said at the time.
The mayor himself made a pitch during that news conference for the city that has hosted the international NATO conference, another major event that draws thousands of visitors.
But not everyone is a fan of having a Super Bowl in the cold weather, including former coach Mike Ditka.
"The weather's going to be a problem," Ditka told the Detroit Free Press this week. "They made a big mistake. The game shouldn't be there. I mean, it's stupid."
The earliest Chicago could have a chance to host would be in 2019. That's because the Big Game for the next few years is locked down.
Arizona hosts in 2015; Santa Clara, Calif., in 2016; and Houston in 2017. Indianapolis, Minneapolis and New Orleans are finalists for hosting the Super Bowl in 2018.
Want more? Discuss this article and others on RedEye's Facebook page.