Getting Super Bowl Moag's next NFL goal Winter weather, lack of dome huge obstacles

September 04, 1996|By Jon Morgan | Jon Morgan,SUN STAFF Sun staff writer Ken Rosenthal contributed to this article.

Fresh from its triumphant return to the NFL, Baltimore is trying to land pro football's biggest prize: the Super Bowl.

Maryland Stadium Authority chairman John Moag has talked with league officials several times and on July 22 discussed the idea with NFL commissioner Paul Tagliabue at the league's New York headquarters.

Moag acknowledges some hurdles must be overcome -- the league prefers warm-weather cities for its January championship, and the competition among cities is fierce -- but said the league has been receptive.

"I can tell you that it's something very worthwhile to get, and I have been talking to the league ever since we got the team," Moag said.

Ravens owner Art Modell said he supports Moag's effort and has said so to Tagliabue.

"John Moag is very ambitious. He not only has my encouragement and endorsement but my support," Modell said. "It's a long shot, but a shot worth pursuing."

The league selects Super Bowl sites several years in advance and is booked through the next two games, New Orleans this January and San Diego in 1998. San Francisco had been scheduled for 1999 in a refurbished stadium, but opted to defer the game until a new stadium is built.

At a meeting next month, NFL owners are expected to award the 1999 and 2000 games. Five cities are finalists: Los Angeles, Phoenix, Atlanta, Miami and Tampa, Fla.

In the 30 years of Super Bowls, the game has been played at a northern site only three times: Minneapolis in 1992, Pontiac, Mich., in 1982, and Stanford, Calif., in 1985. Minneapolis and Pontiac have domed stadiums, and snow is rare in Stanford, in the San Francisco Bay area.

NFL spokesman Greg Aiello said the cities are awarded by a vote of team owners. He had no immediate comment on Baltimore's prospects but acknowledged that concerns about winter weather can affect the selection.

"I don't know if it would be an issue or not, but it could be," he said.

The NFL has an 18-page set of criteria it uses in selecting Super Bowl sites, from weather to a minimum number of hotel rooms. A domed stadium is needed, for example, if a city's normal daily mean temperature in January is less than 50 degrees.

San Francisco's is 48.7, Baltimore's 31.8.

A dome, however, appears out of the question for the Baltimore NFL stadium scheduled to open in 1998 at Camden Yards.

"There is no money for it and there is no revenue stream that would make it finance-able," Moag said. The Ravens also oppose a dome.

The league also requires a seating capacity of 70,000. Baltimore's stadium will hold about 68,000, but the total can be increased with temporary seating, Moag said.

Another stadium being built in the state, by the Redskins, is scheduled to open next season in Prince George's County. Redskins owner Jack Kent Cooke said he is not now interested in having the Super Bowl there.

"Frankly, I am concerned with one thing only: That is getting the stadium built for the opening of the 1997 NFL season. We're well pTC on our way. I've not spoken to the commissioner about it at this time," Cooke said.

Pub Date: 9/04/96

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