Or in non-Roman numerals Super Bowl 43.
So, Tampa Bay has jumped into the running to host the Super Bowl in 2009. This is according to a story in the Tampa Tribune today. The other 3 cities to throw their hats in the ring are Houston, Miami and Jacksonville.
I think you can already take Miami and Houston out of the running. Houston hosted the Super Bowl last year (the Patriots win over the Panthers) and Miami has already been planned as the site for the 2007 Super Bowl. No way does the NFL award either one of these cities with another Super Bowl in 2009.
Atlanta has an edge over Tampa mainly because Falcons owner Arthur Blank is planning to spend $150 million to build an atrium at the Georgia Dome's main entrance. Other improvements include adding suites and club seats, improved concourses around the stadium, and upgrades to scoreboards and video screens. But here's the catch, NONE OF THESE RENOVATIONS ARE GUARANTEED.
Blank is signaling that he will make the improvements if he can get a new lease agreement from the Georgia Dome authority. Translation, he will spend the money on improvements if he can save money on a new lease deal. Since the NFL awards Super Bowls as a way to encourage cities to build or renovate stadiums (see Detroit and New York), Atlanta has an edge over Tampa at this point. Most likely this will come down to which team's owner can do a better job of lobbying for their city.
The Buccaneers owners, the Glazers, will try and sell the tropical weather climate and Blank will say he needs the Super Bowl to get a new stadium lease deal approved. I'm assuming that the NFL owners will be more persuaded by Blank and Atlanta's bid. The NFL will bless Atlanta when they make a decision May 25.