Could Nashville Host The Super Bowl?

nashville_sbIn April, Nashville will host the National Football League (NFL) draft where all 32 teams will pick players from college. The talk this week has been about whether or not Nashville could host the Super Bowl.

My answer is:  maybe.

Nashville could host the Super Bowl if:

They build a new stadium. Yes, Nashville is in the South but it isn’t far enough South where you would want to play the Super Bowl outside in Nissan Stadium. It is bitterly cold here this week and not exactly the ideal place to play the game. Nashville would need to build a dome or retractable roof stadium. I think that would benefit the city in many ways since it would also give Nashville a larger concert venue. The only hitch is how to pay for it. The city is already grappling with building a stadium for the Major League Soccer team set to begin in 2020. Building a stadium is a huge deal if Nashville hopes to host a Super Bowl.

Have a better transit system. Nashville is a mess when you need to attend events downtown and when you venture out to do so, you’d better pack some patience and some money because it’s not going to be easy or cheap.  The city does not have any form of easy transit system.  The downtown area is very compact and not as spread out as it is in other host cities.  To add to the traffic headache, the streets are cluttered with other vehicular irritants such as pedal taverns, electric scooters, party wagons and ignorant pedestrians.  Without a serious transit system in and out of downtown, there is no easy way to manage the crowds for a Super Bowl game in the Music City.

Remember that I mentioned it wouldn’t be cheap?  Let me just say that the hotels and parking vendors can jack up the prices to the ridiculous level.  They are good at price gouging for special events.

If there is one thing that is in Nashville’s favor, it is that the city knows how to entertain and throw a party.   The NFL would definitely give the Country Music Capital of the world another reason to party. There is never a lack of entertainment here and the Super Bowl would another chance for the city to be in the world’s spotlight.

There are also some other rather interesting things that the NFL requires from cities who desire to host the Super Bowl.  For Minneapolis to host last year’s Super Bowl, here are some of the requirements they had to meet:

  • Stadium must have a minimum of 70,000 fixed seats, luxury boxes and enough hotel rooms throughout the city.
  • Two top quality bowling lanes
  • Two top quality 18-hole golf courses in near proximity to the host venue
  • Team hotels must subscribe to the NFL Network for at least one year leading up to the Super Bowl
  • League is given priority over all other ice and snow project removal.
  • Removal of field after Super Bowl be at no cost to the NFL.
  • Full tax exemption from city, state and local taxes on tickets sold to the game and events leading up to it.
  • If cellphone strength at the team hotels isn’t strong enough, the host committee “will be responsible [for erecting] a sufficient number of portable cellular towers.”
  • The league has the option to install ATMs at the stadium that accept NFL preferred credit and debit cards, and the option to cover up ATMs that don’t accept those preferred cards.
  • The host city will pay all travel and expenses for a “familiarization trip” for the league  to inspect the region ahead of the Super Bowl.
  • Local media is also asked to provide “significant advertising and promotional time” — for free, of course — in the weeks leading up to the Super Bowl.

If Nashville truly wants a legitimate shot at hosting a Super Bowl, they have a long time to do as the next Super Bowl game would be available in 2025.  The future hosts will be:  Miami, Florida (2020), Tampa, Florida (2021), Los Angeles, California (2022), Glendale, Arizona (2023) and New Orleans, Louisiana (2024).

I would not count on Nashville being considered as a host for the Super Bowl until they build a new stadium and improve transit downtown.  There are too many other cities that are better equipped to handle the big game and everything that goes with it.


3-0 Series Lead? Remember The Super Bowl


The Nashville Predators are one win away from eliminating the Chicago Blackhawks in the Stanley Cup playoffs.  The city is abuzz today and hopeful that the Predators can complete their first playoff series sweep in team history.   Last week, I posted my commentary about the Predators and predicted they would be eliminated in five games by the Blackhawks and would not move on.   Yes, I was wrong about the five games and have witnessed a completely different team than I have watched during the regular season.  I may have to eat a little crow if they do the unthinkable tonight against the number one seed team in the Western Conference.

But with every enthusiastic Predators fan I will say this:  Remember the Super Bowl.

Four teams have come back from a 3-0 deficit to win a Stanley Cup playoff series.

The 1942 Toronto Mapleleafs became the first team to do when they rebounded against the Detroit Red Wings to win the Stanley Cup final.  After losing the first three games, the Maple Leafs reeled off 4-3, 9-3, 3-0 and 3-1 wins in their dramatic comeback.

The New York Islanders did it 33 years later when they stunned the Pittsburgh Penguins in the 1975 Quarterfinals.  The Islanders won a tight 1-0 seventh game to advance.  They lost to the Philadelphia Flyers in seven games in the Semifinals.

In 2010, the Philadelphia Flyers overcame a 3-0 hole to knock off the Boston Bruins in the Eastern Conference semifinals.  The Flyers started the comeback with a 5-4 overtime win in Game 4 then won the next three games 4-0, 2-1 and 4-3.  The Flyers advanced to the Stanley Cup final losing to the Chicago Blackhawks.

The Los Angeles Kings were the last team to do it when they upset the San Jose Sharks in the first round of the 2014 playoffs.  The Kings went on to win the Stanley Cup final over the New York Rangers.

So, it is possible to blow a 3-0 lead.  I’m not saying it will happen to the Predators but they have a tendency to make it difficult.  I don’t see them finishing the series tonight.  My feeling is that it will go to Game 6.

The Day After….


This one hurts.   For years, the most devastating loss in Atlanta Falcons’ history was in the 1980 NFC Playoffs when the Dallas Cowboys rallied from a 27-17 deficit with 6:37 left in the game to beat the Falcons 30-27.  Last night’s loss in Super Bowl LI to the New England Patriots replaces it.

Going into the fourth quarter, the Falcons had a 28-9 lead.  Tom Brady led the Patriots on a historic comeback to defeat the Falcons.

Some might say that this was the most exciting game in Super Bowl history because it went into overtime.  It was not.  Had BOTH teams been engaged in some kind of shootout it would have been, but the Falcons wilted away and had not fight in the fourth quarter and the Patriots just totally dominated to leave the Falcons one quarter short of their first Super Bowl title.

The Patriots simply deserved to win.

The Falcons deserved to win for three quarters but that’s why you play every quarter of a game.  The defense, which has been the Falcons’ weakness all season, clearly was tired and couldn’t stop the Patriots’ offense.

The agony of defeat.

Atlanta Falcons’ fans  have known this feeling many times.  Once again, we wake up the day after with that sick feeling in our stomachs about what could have been.  We replay the game over and over in our minds.  Missed interceptions.  Costly mistakes.  Failed third down conversions.

People will say:  “They’ll be back!”   That doesn’t help for how close they were to it now.  You just don’t know when or if you will ever be back in that position again.  Injuries, trades and coaching staff changes will make this a different team next year.  You just can’t think they will be back next year.  Look how long it took last time to make it back.

Instead of Danny White sticking the dagger into the hearts of Falcons’ fans this time, it was Tom Brady.




My Top Five Super Bowl Games


This weekend will be the 51st game of the Super Bowl.  The Atlanta Falcons will play the New England Patriots for the title on Sunday.  Today, I am looking back at the top five Super Bowl games I have watched.

I’m not quite old enough to remember the first Super Bowl, which was not yet known by that name when Green Bay defeated Kansas City.  That was in 1967 and I was two years old.  The first Super Bowl that I remember watching was 1977 when the Oakland Raiders beat Minnesota 32-14.

Looking back, here are my favorite games:

XX – Chicago Bears 46, New England Patriots 10 

Yes, it was a huge blowout but I was all about the Super Bowl shuffle, Refrigerator Perry running the ball and Walter Payton finally winning a championship.  The Patriots stunned everyone by getting to the game for the first time.   They have been back a few times since then.

XLIX – New England Patriots 28, Seattle Seahawks 24 

I didn’t really like either of these teams but of the two, I liked the Patriots more.  It will always be a mystery why Pete Carroll decided to go with a pass at the New England 1-yard line with 26 seconds left.  Malcolm Butler intercepted Russell Wilson’s pass to save the game for the Patriots.  We will never know why the Seahawks didn’t give the ball to running back Marshawn Lynch.  Conspiracy theories over this abound.  The Patriots were fresh off the “deflate gate” win in the AFC Championship Game.

XXV – New York Giants 20, Buffalo Bills 19

This was the first close game in several years.  Buffalo’s kicker Scott Norwood missed a field goal in the closing seconds.  This was the first of four straight Super Bowl appearances – and losses – by Buffalo.  Giants running back Ottis Anderson was the game’s Most Valuable Player (MVP) as he had 21 carries for 102 yards and one touchdown.

XXXIV – St. Louis Rams 23, Tennessee Titans 16

It was indeed a game of inches as Tennessee Titans receiver Kevin Dyson was stopped one yard short of the goal line as time expired to give the Rams their first Super Bowl title.  The Rams were lead by a potent offensive attack lead by Kurt Warner.  The Rams jumped out to a 16-0 lead but it took a game saving tackle by Rams linebacker Mike Jones in the end.   This was probably one of the most exciting games on this list.

XIII – Pittsburgh Steelers 35, Dallas Cowboys 31

We will always wonder how this game would have turned out if Cowboy’s tight end Jackie Smith had not dropped a pass in the end zone in the third quarter with the Cowboys trailing the Steelers 21-14.   Dallas had to settle for a field goal.  That point differential was crucial in the end.  The Steelers went up 35-17 in the fourth before the Cowboys rallied to close within 35-31 with 22 seconds left.

Another close one this year?

According to Madden NFL, the video game predicts that the New England Patriots will beat the Atlanta Falcons 27-24 in another close game that comes down to the final seconds.

This Hooper Is Super


It isn’t often that I see another person with the last name of Hooper in the spotlight but this Sunday you may see #81 for the Atlanta Falcons as one of the receiving targets for quarterback Matt Ryan in the Super Bowl.

Austin Hooper is in his first season with the Falcons playing at the tight end position.  Hooper was selected in the third round of the National Football League draft in April 2016 when he entered the draft after his sophomore season at Stanford.

During the regular season, Hooper played in 14 games and had 19 receptions for 271 yards and scored three touchdowns.  His longest reception was in week two at Oakland when he went 44 yards.  In the playoffs, Hooper has had three receptions for 33 yards.

In his two seasons at Stanford, Hooper had 74 receptions for 937 yards and eight touchdowns.  After redshirting his first year in 2013, he played in all 13 games at a redshirt freshman in 2014.  Against the University of Southern California in the 2015 PAC-12 Championship Game, he had two catches for nine yards and a blocked extra point against the Trojans.  He had three catches for 23 yards in the Rose Bowl against Iowa.  Hooper was a finalist for the John Mackey Award which is awarded to college football’s most outstanding tight end.

Hooper attended national powerhouse De La Salle High School in Concord, California where he played both tight end and defensive line.  According to MaxPreps, De La Salle only lost one game during the time he played for the Spartans.

Austin is only the second “Hooper” to ever play in the NFL.  Trell Hooper played for the Miami Dolphins in 1987 as a defensive back.

Austin will be the first Hooper to play in the Super Bowl on Sunday when he takes the field against the New England Patriots.


Falcons To Play In The Super Bowl

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I can hardly believe it myself.  Did I just type that headline?

For the second time in team history the Atlanta Falcons will play in the Super Bowl.

As I wrote in a previous post, it has never been easy to be a Falcons’ fan.  To be a follower of the Falcons has meant many years of frustration with a few good years mixed in.  This is one of those good years.  I am enjoying it while it lasts.

The Falcons won their biggest game in the last game to be played in the Georgia Dome.

Even at halftime with a 24-0 lead, I couldn’t relax.  I had hoped they would assume that no lead was safe with Aaron Rodgers.  It wasn’t until the Green Bay Packers put in their backup quarterback late in the fourth quarter that I was finally able to breathe normally again.  With Rodgers on the other team, you can never assume any lead is safe.  I was glad it didn’t come down to another Hail Mary pass at the end.

What a difference a year makes.

This time last year, fans were torching Matt Ryan and Falcons’ Offensive Coordinator Kyle Shananan on Facebook.  It was awful watching Ryan throw interceptions and opposing defensive backs return them for a touchdown.  After opening up a 5-0 record last season, the Falcons crashed and burned with an 8-8 record.  The bright spot of the season was when the Falcons handed the Carolina Panthers their only loss in the regular season.  That game may have set the stage for the foundation for this season.

Quickly I looked up the biggest fourth quarter comeback in National Football League (NFL) history.  Even then, I was still worried.  I thought if anyone who could make NFL history it would be Rodgers.  Thankfully it never happened.  This game seemed to be destined to be in the Falcons’ favor.  The game might have been closer had Packers’ receivers hadn’t dropped a handful of passes.  So, it wasn’t out of the realm of possibility.

Rodgers had made headlines poking fun at the “fake” crowd noise the Falcons’ had gotten in trouble with in the past.  Quite honestly, it didn’t seem like crowd noise was much of a factor.  I was a little surprised that the fans weren’t louder but it might have been due to the fact that the game wasn’t close.  Rodgers’ ego was loud enough as he could be seen complaining to the officials every time he was hit.

So now, the Falcons will play the most successful team in Super Bowl history when they face Tom Brady and the New England Patriots in two weeks.

New England Patriots in the Super Bowl:

  • XX lost to the Chicago Bears, 46-10.
  • XXXI lost to the Green Bay Packers, 35-21.
  • XXXVI defeated the St. Louis Rams, 20-17.
  • XXXVIII defeated the Carolina Panthers, 32-29.
  • XXXIX defeated the Philadelphia Eagles, 24-21.
  • XLII lost to the New York Giants, 17-14.
  • XLVI lost to the New York Giants, 21-17.
  • XLIX defeated the Seattle Seahawks, 28-24.

Atlanta Falcons in the Super Bowl:

  • XXXIII lost to the Denver Broncos, 34-19.

The Patriots are playing in their 9th Super Bowl game in team history.  That’s a lot of tradition that the Falcons will have to overcome.

So, now, I have two weeks to get my energy back and get ready for the big game.


So Why Do We Have The National Anthem Before Sporting Events?

San Francisco 49ers’ backup quarterback Colin Kapernick stirred controversy when he sat during the playing of the national anthem before a National Football League (NFL) pre-season game.  He did it in protest of the way African-Americans are treated by police.  Kapernick, who has fallen out of the limelight in recent years, got the attention back in his protest.  Yesterday, President Obama defended Kapernick’s right for freedom-of-speech.  Regardless of how we feel about what Kapernick did, the President is absolutely right.  Kapernick does have a right to express his feelings and disrespect the national anthem.

True, there are many other things to be concerned about than a benched quarterback refusing to stand for the national anthem.  This gave me another thought about this whole issue.  

Why do we have the National Anthem performed before sporting events anyway?

The tradition can be traced back to when the United States entered into World War I.  Major League Baseball games began having patriotic festivities before the game.  During the seventh-inning stretch of game one of the 1918 World Series between the Cubs and Red Sox, the band played “The Star-Spangled Banner.”  Players faced the centerfield flag pole and stood at attention.  The crowd followed and even sang along.  In 1931, the song was made our national anthem by a congressional resolution and the song continued to be played but only on special occasions like opening day, national holidays and World Series games.

From that point on, major sporting events eventually became one of the places where the general public could sing the national anthem together.  Unfortunately, this is the only time most of us hear the song and have a chance to pay tribute to our country.

We have also seen (and heard) the best and worst renditions of the song from Whitney Houston’s powerful voice to Roseanne Barr’s train wreck.  

It’s probably time to seriously consider not making the singing of the national anthem so routine.  It’s clear that the song has lost its meaning to people.  It’s not for a social statement or tool to bring attention to a washed-up quarterback.  It’s a patriotic song which people like John Legend can’t understand.  Let’s stop singing as a pre-game tradition and return it to something special.