Congrats to city leaders and the thousands of volunteers that worked tirelessly to showcase the Crescent City to the massive influx of guests that descended on New Orleans. Of course, the only flaw in an outstanding week was the inexcusable 35 minute power outage in the Mercedes Benz Superdome at the beginning of the third quarter.
After initial reports that the outage was caused by heavy electrical output for the halftime show, it now seems clear that the problem occurred outside of the stadium. According to an Associated Press report, the stadium board of directors approved an expenditure of $513,250 in November to replace “electrical feeders that connect the Superdome to the Entergy power vault.” This was considered an emergency repair that had to be completed before the Super Bowl.
While the “electrical feeders” or another issue may prove to the culprit in the power outage mystery, nothing should detract from the Superdome as the ideal facility to host this premier sporting event. The Superdome is perfectly positioned near the historic French Quarter, the CBD, the hotels and the Interstate. It is within walking distance to the major attractions of New Orleans, ample parking, and great restaurants.
Although the facility was originally completed in 1975, it has been upgraded numerous times since then and is currently in pristine condition. It is the “largest fixed dome structure in the world” and is the home of innumerable events, concerts and conventions, as well as the Allstate Sugar Bowl, the Essence Festival, the Bayou Classic, the New Orleans Saints and the Super Bowl. It should serve as the host stadium for these events for many years to come.
Unfortunately, some critics have complained that the facility is outdated. According to Forbes contributor Patrick Rishe, the “blackout…may shut down future hopes of New Orleans hosting the Super Bowl again.” Rishe contends that the city should “replace this outdated facility” before being considered for another big game.
Clearly, his argument is ridiculous for the Superdome cannot be replaced. It is not only a stadium; it is an iconic symbol of New Orleans. It represents the rebirth of the city post-Katrina. While the stadium was the site of much suffering during Hurricane Katrina, but it has also been the site of a massive renovation in recent years. After the hurricane inflicted serious damage, the Superdome received $185 million in repairs and upgrades. In 2006, another $320 million in improvements was approved by the Louisiana Legislature. This money has been used for additional upgrades that have transformed the Superdome to a state of the art stadium. In 2011, Mercedes Benz agreed to provide the stadium’s naming rights, with additional funding, exterior signage and a new high tech lighting system. Today, the Superdome looks better than at any point in its glorious history.
Just imagine the next Super Bowl will be played in the frigid conditions at New Meadowlands Stadium in New Jersey. It will be so cold at that outdoor facility that the NFL may forgo a halftime show. In contrast, the Superdome offers perfect indoor conditions and New Orleans offers moderate temperatures in January, while much of the country is suffering through the coldest part of the winter season. As an added bonus, New Orleans has incomparable music, restaurants, architecture, history, culture, festivals, and, of course, friendly people.
This one mishap, while significant, should not prevent New Orleans for hosting the event again. Removing New Orleans from future consideration would only penalize football fans and NFL officials, who enjoy visiting the Crescent City for the big game.
Once the investigation is concluded and the necessary repairs are made, New Orleans and the Superdome should be awarded the Super Bowl for 2018, the 300th anniversary of the founding of New Orleans. It would be a fitting tribute for a historic city with one of the most impressive stadiums in the world.
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