Colts' Owner: Indy Barely Lost Super Bowl Bid

Stadium Capacity Seen As Important Factor

Stadium capacity appeared to be an important factor when NFL team owners decided Tuesday to award the 2011 Super Bowl to the Dallas area instead of Indianapolis.

Indianapolis Colts owner Jim Irsay told reporters that in the final round of voting, Indianapolis lost to Arlington, Texas, by a 17-15 tally. All NFL team owners -- including those from the bidding cities -- were allowed to vote, the Colts said.

A third community, Glendale, Ariz., was eliminated in earlier voting Tuesday.

The team owners made their decision in a hotel in downtown Nashville, not long after hearing presentations from representatives of the three bidding communities.

The Dallas Cowboys are building a 100,000-seat retractable-roof facility in Arlington, which is midway between Dallas and Fort Worth. The $1 billion venue, which will be used for the 2011 Super Bowl, will be ready for the 2009 season.

One of Indianapolis' selling points was the construction of Lucas Oil Stadium, which is scheduled to open next year. The committee also came in with $25 million already committed to help pay the costs associated with hosting the game.

However, the Cowboys' stadium will have about 27,000 more seats than the other stadiums involved in the bids.

"I think every other aspect of our bid candidly was stronger than Dallas' but for the size of the stadium," said Fred Glass, president of Indianapolis' bid committee. "So based on that, that's the only thing I can think of that was the deciding piece."

After learning that the 2011 Super Bowl will be played in his team's new stadium, Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones commended Indianapolis and Glendale, Ariz., for their bids.

Cowboys owner Jerry Jones said the actual crowd ticketed at the 2011 game in Arlington could reach 120,000, with fans able to watch video screens at each end zone.

"Everyone has always told me, 'I wish we could get more fans in the Super Bowl. I wish we could do that,'" he said. "I think the fact we can have 100,000 people in the stadium is important because it includes that many more people in our biggest event in the NFL."

Indianapolis Colts coach Tony Dungy was among five people who made Indianapolis' presentation Tuesday. The pitch included a video that featured Indy native David Letterman giving a humorous Top 10 list of reasons why the city should host the game, 6News' Ray Cortopassi reported.

Among the items on Letterman's list: Global warming would give Indianapolis 70-degree temperatures when the February 2011 game is played; Colts quarterback Peyton Manning would let everybody use his pool; and Letterman's mother would throw a great tailgate party.

Hall of Fame quarterback Roger Staubach lobbied on behalf of the Texas bid.

Jones applauded Indianapolis and Arizona for the quality of their efforts.

"My hat is off to not only their committees and their owners, but also to the people in those communities because it was quite a tribute that they got the consideration that they got, and I know that we'll see them in the future in this same competition -- trying to get a Super Bowl," Jones said at a news conference at the Nashville hotel Tuesday afternoon.

In an e-mailed statement, Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels said he also was impressed with Indianapolis' effort.

"Like the Super Bowl itself, second place doesn't feel very good. It was well worth the effort and (Indianapolis) Mayor (Bart) Peterson and his team did an absolutely spectacular job representing our state," Daniels said.

Texas has hosted the Super Bowl twice -- in Houston in 2004 in the Texans' new stadium and in 1974 at Rice Stadium.

Indianapolis also lost to Minneapolis in bidding for the 1992 game.

Arizona will host the 2008 Super Bowl on Feb. 3 and hosted the 1996 Super Bowl in Tempe.

Mayor, Irsay To Discuss Indy's Next Step

Peterson, speaking to reporters in Indianapolis, said he would meet with Irsay and others before deciding whether the city will bid for a different year.

"I don't want to say we're going to bid for 2012 or 2013, but I think it's really worth thinking about," Peterson said. "I think we can view this as a setback, certainly, but (also) potentially as a prelude to success in the future."

Peterson was in Indianapolis instead of Nashville because the NFL prohibited the bid cities' politicians from making in-person appearances during Tuesday's presentations. Peterson did participate in the video that the Indy advocates showed to the team owners.

Irsay said he believes Indianapolis will host a Super Bowl.

"Everyone's got to keep their heads up and know that we've got just a terrific city, and it will happen for us someday. Hopefully it will be sooner than later," Irsay said.

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