Indianapolis, followed by Phoenix, then Houston made separate 15-minute pitches. Only four members of the local community were allowed in the room, and only two were allowed to speak. No mayors or governors were permitted in the room.
After each team made its presentation before the 32 owners, its representatives were taken to a separate room, away from the owners and away from each other. They would stay there until notified of a decision by an ominous-looking league representative.
With all three cities in the running, the owners took a first vote. Since no city obtained 75 percent of the vote, a second vote was taken to allow owners to reconsider their decision and throw their weight behind another candidate city and the NFL team that lives there.
Since 75 percent of the vote was not obtained on the second ballot, the third place finisher on the second ballot was eliminated. Goodbye Houston.
With two teams remaining, a third vote was taken, with a 75 percent majority required to win. Since neither Indianapolis nor Phoenix had the three-fourths majority, it went to a fourth vote, where a simple majority would win.
But after the third vote, sources inside the room said NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell almost called Indy the winner, but then was informed the city was short of the 75 percent.
On the fourth vote, Indianapolis beat Phoenix by grabbing at least the 17 votes required to win. The Arizona Republic reported Indianapolis beat Phoenix by a 17-15 vote. But sources inside the room said it was closer to a 19-13 or 20-12 vote.
“Indianapolis almost had the three-fourths majority, from what I take from it,” said one owner, who asked not to be identified. “That’s why Roger [Goodell] initially thought they won on the third ballot.”