Sports Outside the Beltway

Dallas Gets 2011 Super Bowl

Jerry Jones is finally getting a new stadium and it’ll soon host its first Super Bowl.

The new Dallas Cowboys stadium in Arlington will host the 2011 Super Bowl, the National Football League announced Tuesday. NFL owners, in a secret ballot, chose North Texas over bids from Arizona and Indianapolis. The game is not only expected to turn the world’s attention to the Dallas area – nearly 140 million people watched all or part of this year’s Super Bowl, played in Miami – but also to generate hundreds of millions of dollars in economic benefits to North Texas cities and businesses.

“This is going to be a wonderful, wonderful event,” Cowboys owner Jerry Jones said following the announcement. “The Super Bowl asked us to do what we could do to take it to another level. When you’re talking about a Super Bowl, that’s a pretty challenging commitment.”

The new Cowboys stadium will hold almost 100,000 people, and far more visitors than that will flock to North Texas for Super Bowl XLV and the week of lavish events that will precede it.

In Arlington, Mayor Robert Cluck rushed into City Council Chambers to take a call from Mr. Jones on the speaker phone.

“We’re going to have the Super Bowl,” Mr. Jones said from Nashville. “You’re my first call. We just walked out. We got the vote.”

“I knew we’d do that,” Dr. Cluck said.

“I’m glad you did,” Mr. Jones laughed.

And with that, the celebration in Arlington began. Out came the blue, white and silver balloons. Out came a huge banner saying “Arlington Welcomes Super Bowl XLV in 2011.” And out came caps with similar sentiments for all the council members.

“This is a remarkable development,” Dr. Cluck said. “It’s a big day for Arlington and a big day for North Texas. It shows what can happen when we all work together.”

Dallas, Fort Worth, Irving and other area cities also expect to share in the largesse. “I’m extremely pleased for North Texas that we have been chosen to host the Super Bowl,” Dallas Mayor Laura Miller said in a statement, “It will bring enormous economic benefits to our region — not to mention be a point of pride and a whole lot of fun.”

Bill Blaydes, chairman of the Dallas City Council’s Economic Development and Housing Committee, said he’s uncertain what the game’s overall economic effect will be, “but having your city on TV screens for 30 straight days leading up — you can’t pay for that kind of advertisement.” But landing the Super Bowl is somewhat bittersweet, since Dallas’ Fair Park — not Arlington — should have played home to the Cowboys’ new stadium, Mr. Blaydes said. In 2004, public financing negotiations among Mr. Jones and Dallas county and city leaders failed, prompting the Cowboys to approach Arlington’s city government.


Securing a Super Bowl was a priority for Mr. Jones when he announced plans to build a retractable-roof stadium in Arlington. Neither Texas Stadium in Irving, the Cowboys’ current home, nor the Cotton Bowl in Fair Park is suitable for the game, because neither has a roof that closes – an NFL requirement for cities where the weather is likely to be inclement in January and February.

Mr. Jones and his advisers wisely chose Roger Staubach – an immensely popular Hall of Fame quarterback whose name is synonymous with the Cowboys’ glory days — as the public face of the North Texas Super Bowl bid. Mr. Staubach led the closed-door presentation to NFL owners this morning.

Arizona was considered a long shot to win the 2011 game, since it’s already hosting next year’s Super Bowl. In Indianapolis, a new, domed stadium is being built downtown for the Indianapolis Colts. North Texas has never hosted a Super Bowl. Houston has hosted two – Super Bowl VII in 1974, which was played at Rice University Stadium, and Super Bowl XXXVIII in 2004, at Reliant Stadium, home of the Houston Texans.

Now, if only the Cowboys can make it a home game!

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