Did Indianapolis get hoodwinked into bidding on tainted Super Bowl?

August 5, 2010
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Call me a conspiracy theorist, but I’m beginning to think Indianapolis got hoodwinked into bidding for and agreeing to host the 2012 Super Bowl.

City officials waded into the deep end and bit hook, line and sinker. We won the Super Bowl that nobody else really wanted. Even the competition now looks like a sham. Phoenix had just hosted the Super Bowl in 2008, and Houston never was a major threat for 2012.

New Orleans wisely stepped aside, saying the post-Katrina Crescent City wouldn’t be ready until 2013. This Super Bowl savvy city knew better than to vote on a Super Bowl that had a lockout hanging over head.

The most galling part is that the man who pushed Indianapolis’ 2012 bid over the top—Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones—was the same guy who swiped the 2011 Super Bowl out from under the Circle City.

Lucas Oil Stadium was complete before Jerry’s palace, but Indy was shoved aside for the Lone Star football Mecca and its boisterous owner. This after the NFL commissioner came to town to bribe Indy to build a new stadium with the promise of a Super Bowl. Well, the league came through for us.

At the 2008 NFL owners meeting where the 2012 Super Bowl bid was voted on, it looked like Jones threw Indy a really nice bone. Now we can see it has rancid meat attached.

The city has put countless hours and at least $25 million into planning for this event. It is supposed to be a launch pad to take this convention and event hungry city to another stratosphere. The game is supposed to be a showcase to prove Indianapolis actually deserves another Super Bowl. If city leaders are able to manage this sticky situation nicely, Indy certainly deserves another Super Bowl.

Now all anyone can talk about is the financial fight between players and owners, the looming lockout and the threat of postponing or, gulp!, cancelling the big game. Like it or not, all this lockout talk takes the focus away from our city. Hoteliers and the Indianapolis Convention & Visitors Association are being held hostage to boot.

Already the city and hoteliers have been forced to reserve two weekends for the Super Bowl. Those weekends are valuable currency for any convention city. If it gets pushed back any further, Indianapolis has a big problem; the massive Dealer’s Expo, which is set to be here.

Post 9/11, the NFL had to do some fancy footwork to re-work the Super Bowl schedule. But that was an event outside the league’s control. This impending disaster is of the league’s own making.

Maybe Indianapolis city leaders that bid for the 2012 game couldn’t have known any better. But you can bet savvy NFL owners like Jones knew even in 2008 this was headed for an ugly ending. After all, it was the owners who opted out of the current collective bargaining agreement. Colts owner Jim Irsay should have known too.

I remember well, when a hostile Gene Upshaw, who was then head of the players’ union, called the press room at the 2008 owners meeting in Atlanta to voice—loudly, I might add—his displeasure with the owners. I knew then, the 2012 Super Bowl was going to have a cloud hanging over it for a very long time.

Upshaw’s death and replacement by DeMaurice Smith has done nothing to quell the storm between players and owners.

We’ve heard the refrain, “There’s plenty of time to get this settled.” There’s not plenty of time. These things rarely get settled until it hits the fan.

And I don’t want to hear the argument that there’s just too much money on the table for a lockout. All that money is precisely why there will be a lockout.

Newsflash: Most people are greedy on some level. And good times bring out that greed in triplicate.

I give the National Basketball Association a better chance of avoiding a work stoppage than the NFL. The NBA has real problems. It truly can’t afford a work stoppage.

The NFL, oddly, can better endure a work stoppage. Their fervent fans are more likely to come back to buy pricey tickets and vote for taxpayer-backed playing venues after the money mongering is over.

As for Indianapolis, at this point there's not much else to do besides watch and wait helplessly. And hope common sense prevails over greed.

  • Super Bowl
    More like- If the Super Bowl doesn't pay off who is going to walk the plank!
  • Don't Blame Jerry!
    I think it is irresponsible to accuse an NFL owner of deliberately setting up a city for a Superbowl that may not happen to hurt the city. Jerry Jones wanted the Superbowl and used his business savvy to make it happen. Just because Indy was told they would get a Superbowl if they built Lucas Oil Stadium, they didn't guarantee which one.
  • roll the dice
    I believe Indy & its SB group new about the potential lockout, and took a calculated risk. Regardless of the "cloud" that will hangover the 2012 SB, NFL fans, especially Colt's fans, will treat that game just like every other SB.
  • So Why Didn't We Know?
    Hmm. If everyone else seemed to know that the 2012 Super Bowl was in jeopardy, why didn't we? Let's not blame others for our own naiveté, or greed.
  • Home Town Title Game
    A 2012 bid was well worth the risk. The Colts will be playing at peak performance with proven veterans then and have an excellent chance of competing in the SuperBowl at home.
  • Reaching
    You are reaching...Gene Upshaw announced he was furious with owners in 2008 and your immmediate thought was that the 2012 Super bowl had a cloud hanging over it? Come on man...I know it is training camp, pennant races are still heating up, the Pacers haven't started yet, but you really don't have anything to write about if you are trying to come up with the latest conspiracy theory...guess I can't blame you though. Nothing else to write about..
  • Super Bowl
    My conspiracy theory is that Indy people knew this too. All that matter is that THEY can take credit for sucuring the event regardless. Don't care if it happens since they can say that was out of hands but look what we did for Indy!!!
    Yes, we are that good and our resumes are out there.
  • Of Course They Knew
    I'm sure the Indy Super Bowl planners knew when the labor agreement ended, but would Indianapolis ever have been awarded a Super Bowl in a normal year? Doubt it. All the league cares about is good weather and big revenue, neither of which Indy can guarantee.
  • Super Bowl
    This is all great hype!

    The '11 season may miss a regular season game or two but there will be a Super Bowl and it will be in Indy.

    It is silly to think otherwise!
  • Owners still making money
    The reason that this lockout could be a long one is the fact that with the new TV contract the owners still get paid whether there are games on or not. So they are getting paid during a lockout and the players aren't. This could be an ugly lockout. There are several issues on the table and both sides are very far apart. I think Irsay could have seen this coming. He's the insider.
  • Paula Nancy Millstone Jennings
    Why do the taxpayers of Indiana have to subsidize the NFL? An analysis of Super Bowl XXXVIII in Houston showed that the Texas taxpayers where left on the hook for 2.2 million. Sure some businesses who can afford to "pay to play" will profit nicely from the superbowl but it's just more corporate welfare for already successful businesses if the taxpayers foot the bill. So hoodwinked? Nope. We begged to get the shaft.

  • You are....
    Okay - you have been officially called a "Conspiracy Theorist."
  • FY!
    There's a Super Bowl discussion thingy tonight at 7pm for anyone interested. http://provocate.org/archives/7079
  • Duh
    I would expect the organizers to have purchased insurance against such an occurrence.
  • Duh
    I would expect the organizers to have purchased insurance against such an occurrence.
  • BS
    Were the other teams that bid hoodwinked as well? Should the entire NFL just have assumed that there would be no Super Bowl in 2012?
    This article makes no sense.
  • listen up fool
    You don't pay very close attention do you John C.? The post points out the obvious, that Phx and Houston were not serious contenders. That Phx had just hosted the 2008 Super Bowl (the same year the 2012 Super Bowl bid was accepted) and Houston was not a serious contender. If they were, they would have won the 2013 or 2014 bid, which they did not. Most, if not all, NFL owners knew where this was headed and that the 2011 season and 2012 Super Bowl were and are in serious jeopardy. So, give it to Indy to fulfill a promise the commish made while losing essentially nothing b/c none of the other owners wanted to stick the necks of their home cities out for a Super Bowl that would have this cloud hanging over it. Makes sense to me, and apparently a lot of other NFL owners.
  • Missing ingredient
    For nearly 40 years of professional sports subsidy, "common sense" has completely disappeared in this city.
    Easy for you to say.. what do you do for a living? I am in the hotel business - this is killing our industry.

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  1. PJ - Mall operators like Simon, and most developers/ land owners, establish individual legal entities for each property to avoid having a problem location sink the ship, or simply structure the note to exclude anything but the property acting as collateral. Usually both. The big banks that lend are big boys that know the risks and aren't mad at Simon for forking over the deed and walking away.

  2. Do any of the East side residence think that Macy, JC Penny's and the other national tenants would have letft the mall if they were making money?? I have read several post about how Simon neglected the property but it sounds like the Eastsiders stopped shopping at the mall even when it was full with all of the national retailers that you want to come back to the mall. I used to work at the Dick's at Washington Square and I know for a fact it's the worst performing Dick's in the Indianapolis market. You better start shopping there before it closes also.

  3. How can any company that has the cash and other assets be allowed to simply foreclose and not pay the debt? Simon, pay the debt and sell the property yourself. Don't just stiff the bank with the loan and require them to find a buyer.

  4. If you only knew....

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