Arizona was awarded the 2008 Super Bowl on Thursday, beating competing bids by Tampa, Fla., and Washington in a landslide victory.
The Arizona proposal won on the first ballot, meaning at least 24 of 32 team owners voted in favor of it. The game will be played at the Arizona Cardinals’ new stadium, which will be completed in suburban Phoenix by the 2006 season.
“This was not an easy decision for the membership, but you won convincingly,” said NFL Commissioner Paul Tagliabue, addressing Cardinal owner Bill Bidwill and his son, Michael, at a news conference after the results were announced.
Several owners said the Cardinals helped their cause when they played host this week to the “Monday Night Football” game involving the San Diego Chargers and Miami Dolphins. The game was moved from Qualcomm Stadium because of the deadly wildfires in San Diego.
“It certainly didn’t hurt,” Tagliabue said of that effort. “But the fundamentals here are much more important. Rome was not built in a day, and this Super Bowl was not built on Monday night.”
The Tampa Super Bowl contingent included U.S. Army Gen. Tommy Franks, who oversaw military operations in Iraq and is a Buccaneer season-ticket holder.
“I’m a fan,” said Franks, who handed out dog tags to the owners after giving his speech.
“He’s terrific, forceful, thoughtful,” Tagliabue said. “Just his mere presence shows you that he’s a leader.”
Roger Goodell, the league’s chief operating officer, updated the owners on the status of the venue proposals at the Rose Bowl, Coliseum and Carson. Tagliabue said the league would address the Los Angeles situation again at the meetings in March.
L.A. City Councilman Bernard Parks and Pat Lynch, general manager of the Coliseum, made the trip to Chicago to mingle with team owners, answer questions about their stadium and promote it as a potential NFL solution.
Tagliabue lashed back at Baltimore Raven Coach Brian Billick for criticizing instant replay, saying his comments were “intolerable.”
Tagliabue said he expects owners to keep video review as an officiating aid when it comes up for a vote at a meeting next March.
“My guess is replay will continue because they think, three-quarters or more of the clubs will think, it’s an important tool in terms of officiating in the game,” Tagliabue said.
After two challenged calls went against his team in a victory over Denver last Sunday, Billick had seen enough.
“I quit. I give up,” Billick said. “I’ve tried to be an advocate for instant replay. I’ve tried to do the company line. I’ve said the right things.
“League, I’m sorry. Dump it.”
Associated Press contributed to this report.