Moag gets to make his pitch to NFL Super Bowl committee to hear why Baltimore should be site of event

October 25, 1997|By Vito Stellino | Vito Stellino,SUN STAFF

John Moag is going to get his chance to sell Baltimore as a Super Bowl site to the NFL's Super Bowl advisory committee on Nov. 6.

Moag, the head of the Maryland Stadium Authority, has been promoting the idea of Baltimore's playing host to a Super Bowl in its new football stadium at Camden Yards since it lured the Cleveland Browns here two years ago.

The Super Bowl committee is headed by league president Neil Austrian and includes Ralph Wilson, the owner of the Buffalo Bills, Jim Irsay, the owner of the Indianapolis Colts, Bob Tisch, the co-owner of the New York Giants, and Lamar Hunt, the owner of the Kansas City Chiefs.

League officials notified Moag that the presentation will be an informal one scheduled to last about 90 minutes.

Two other cities that haven't been Super Bowl hosts, Jacksonville, Fla., and Dallas, will make presentations before the committee. Moag will fly from Orlando, Fla., where he will be attending a seminar on bidding for the Olympics, to New York for the meeting. Moag also is trying to get the 2012 Olympics for Baltimore.

Moag said an NFL official told him that the league has an open mind on playing a Super Bowl in an outdoor, northern stadium, although he faces an uphill battle in persuading the owners to do it.

The next two Super Bowl games available are in 2002 and 2004. San Francisco was awarded the game in 2003 last week.

The only northern Super Bowls were played in domed stadiums in Pontiac, Mich., and Minneapolis.

Jim Steeg, who's in charge of special events for the league, said that besides questions about the weather, the league will cover all logistical questions, including hotel space, indoor practice facilities and room under the stadium for interview areas.

"We want to talk about the qualifications so they'll understand the process and what needs to be done," Steeg said.

Moag said he'll stress what Baltimore has done for the NFL and what a good site it would be for a Super Bowl. "I'm not going to get in their face about it, but I'll point out they owe us because of what we've done for their industry," Moag said. "We helped them get at least four stadiums built."

Maryland not only is funding the new $220 million football stadium for the Ravens at Camden Yards, but paid $70 million for new roads at Jack Kent Cooke Stadium in Landover.

By luring the Browns from Cleveland, Maryland paved the way for a new stadium to be built there for an expansion team to start play in 1999. The Browns' move also helped persuade voters in Cincinnati and Tampa, Fla., to provide money for new stadiums.

Moag, though, said his main pitch would be that the owners would have a good time in Baltimore, even in January, and that the league would return to its roots by playing host to an outdoor, northern Super Bowl. He has plans to stage the NFL Experience at the Convention Center and have covered walkways from the Convention Center to Camden Yards.

"I think it has the potential for being just fabulous," he said.

Moag also thinks there's no problem with playing the Super Bowl in cold weather because football has always been a cold-weather sport.

"I'd rather watch a game in the elements," he said.

If Moag's pitch to the committee is successful and Baltimore makes the finals, the next step would be to make a presentation before the owners. It's likely that the Super Bowl for 2002 will be awarded next October.

Pub Date: 10/25/97

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