SUPER CITIES

A.J. Hoffman: Ranking all of the potential host cities for future Super Bowls

A.J. Hoffman: Ranking all of the potential host cities for future Super Bowls
And the trophy for best Super Bowl city goes to... New England Patriots website

With this season’s Super Bowl in Minneapolis, and everyone dealing with sub-zero temperatures, I have had some discussion about Minneapolis’ viability as a Super Bowl host city. This discussions led me to make a list of the NFL cities I am most likely and least likely to enjoy my Super Bowl week. To be honest, my rankings are pretty biased to my tastes in the region as far as food, beer, weather and overall ability to host everything it takes to properly host a Super Bowl. Without further ado...

THE “ABSOLUTELY NOT” TIER

 30. Green Bay: Yeah, I know. It’s home to a historic franchise, and this is in no way a knock to the state of  Wisconsin, but outside of Milwaukee (very underrated city) I have no interest in spending multiple days in the backwoods hoping I don’t end up on the next season of Making A Murderer.

29. Buffalo: I love chicken wings as much as the next guy (actually probably way more), but a week in early February in the middle of nowhere with nothing but snow and Niagara Falls to look at sounds pretty miserable. 

28. Baltimore: I’ve seen The Wire plenty of times. Hard pass.

27. Detroit: I know, I know. “It’s better than it used to be.” Detroit had no business hosting the Super Bowl before, and gave no reason why it should get it again. 

26. Charlotte: Please don’t try to tell me how great the BBQ is. I’m from Texas. Y’all ain’t fooling anyone with that stuff. 

25. Jacksonville- Northern Florida is basically an extension of Mississippi and Alabama. Not much more needs to be said.

THE “I’M SURE IT’S NICE, BUT I WILL PASS” TIER

24. Cleveland: The Hall of Fame is nearby, and the Rock and Roll Hall is in town, but let’s be honest, this city barely deserves the NFL, much less a Super Bowl. 

23. Philadelphia: Great city with plenty to do, but having stuff thrown at me or having my rental car set on fire seems extremely unappealing. 

22. Washington, D.C.:  Security would be even more of a nightmare than usual, and I can’t think of any reason why I would want to spend a week in D.C.

21. Boston: Beantown is one of the best sports town in the world. They win at everything, including football, and is home to arguably the best dynasty the NFL has ever seen. That said, it is frigid, and everyone I have met from Boston is an a**hole. 

20. Pittsburgh: This actually seems like a decent road trip. I have heard nothing but good things about the food and beverage scene, but I am too sensitive to cold to have it any higher on the list. 

19. Indianapolis: The trip there was fine, and while everything was conveniently centralized, the weather there is lame and there isn’t a whole lot to do. 

THE “TAKE IT OR LEAVE IT” TIER

18. Cincinnati: Really underrated town, but something tells me this wouldn’t be much different from Indianapolis. Also, God forbid the media hotel is in Kentucky. 

17. Minneapolis: I have never been, and skipping the Super Bowl this year may mean I never go, but I am perfectly fine not dying of frostbite and spending my entire week inside a giant shopping mall. 

16, Atlanta: The game is in Atlanta next year, and I am extremely lukewarm on the prospect. I do think it will score well in the nightlife category, but it is one of my least favorite southern cities. 

15. Dallas: They had their big chance. Massive, shiny, new stadium, and they are in Texas, which gives them a built in advantage. They blew it though, and had the biggest winter storm in history during Super Bowl week. Plus, it’s still Dallas. 

14. Kansas City: Not exactly a booming metropolis, but I feel like the strong food game and an awesome fanbase in an original AFL town might be kind of cool. 

13. Chicago: Chicago has everything going for it, except for the weather. Great food, great beer, friendly people. I have spent a week in Chicago, and you won’t run out of things to do, but it won’t be warm. 

THE “I COULD DEAL WITH THIS EVERY NOW AND AGAIN” TIER

12. Miami: The South Beach thing is fun for a little bit, but not sure I could deal with it for an entire week. It would be nice to spend the week in shorts and flip flops though. 

11. Tampa Bay: Yep, Tampa is ahead of Miami. Great beer town, and they have the good Florida weather without all the Miami pretentiousness (and the $ markup)

10. Houston: I love Houston. I live here. I think it is vastly underrated nationally as a great city. That said, I like seeing new places and trying new things. I can’t do that in Houston. 

9. Denver:  This is another incredible city to visit. It is one of the prettiest cities in the country, the people are friendly and there are PLENTY of pleasures to partake in (cough, cough). As much as I love the Mile High City, I don’t really want to pack a coat. 

8. New York: I love New York, but I don’t like going in the winter. The trip was far from miserable though. Everything was in walking distance, and you will never run out of things to do in New York. The biggest stars show up on radio row, and that helps the cause.

7. Nashville: Nashville isn’t a big city, but as a tourist town they know how to host a party. I think Nashville would do a fine job hosting the Super Bowl, though it seems unlikely unless they build a state of the art stadium. 

THE “THEY COULD HAVE IT HERE EVERY YEAR” TIER

6. Seattle: Maybe my favorite city outside of the great state of Texas, Seattle is one of the coolest places to spend a week. It can be cold, but not the biting cold of the northeast. There is great food, great beverage, and other…. Whatever, there is legal weed there, too. 

5.  San Francisco: I may have enjoyed Northern California more than most, but I found it to be a really nice setup. Everything with the exception of the stadium was centralized in the downtown area. Public transportation was available to take you all over the area, and the weather was beautiful. I would love to go back here again. 

4. Phoenix: One thing you know when the Super Bowl is in Arizona, you won’t need a coat, and it isn’t going to rain. It may be the most ideal climate to spend a week in February, and the food is amazing. Beer could be a little better, but the parties in Phoenix are always strong. 

3. Las Vegas: This is pure speculation, but I think Vegas will be an amazing spot to host Super Bowls. The infrastructure is built in, and if you can’t have fun in Vegas on a work trip, there is probably something wrong with you. 

2. New Orleans: New Orleans has long been the gold standard. No one throws a party like New Orleans, and they are (rightfully) a regular in the Super Bowl rotation. I can go to New Orleans any time of year and have a grand time, and it is hard to beat the food and libations. 

1. Los Angeles: L.A. is going to be a natural fit for the big game. They will soon have a state of the art stadium. It will be a destination city for celebrities and I imagine the parties there during Super Bowl week will be top notch. More food and drink than you can shake a stick at, and the weather will always be strong. I expect Los Angeles to be heavy in the rotation from now on. 

Most Popular

SportsMap Emails
Are Awesome

Listen Live

ESPN Houston 97.5 FM
Coogs beat the Sooners, 87-85. Photo by Chris Gardner/Getty Images.

Jamal Shead hit a short follow shot with 0.4 seconds left and No. 1 Houston beat Oklahoma 87-85 on Saturday night, giving coach Kelvin Sampson a victory over one of his former schools.

Shead missed a driving layup attempt, but corralled the rebound and put the Cougars back ahead after they blew a 15-point lead. Emanuel Sharp tipped away a desperation pass by Oklahoma’s Milos Uzan as time expired.

“The main thing (on the last shot) was to get it to the rim,” Sampson said. “We weren’t going to shoot anything outside of 5 feet. There were three ways to win that game — a whistle, make the shot or (grab) an offensive rebound and put it in — and we got the third one.”

Sampson credited the result to Houston’s “winning DNA. We had a lot of things go against us tonight. … We were just plugging the holes in the boat up.”

L.J. Cryer led Houston (26-3, 13-3 Big 12) with 23 points, making 5 of 9 3-pointers. J’Wan Roberts added 20 points on 10-of-12 shooting, and Shead scored 14 points. Houston shot 56.7% from the field and Oklahoma was at 52.7%.

Rivaldo Soares had 16 points for Oklahoma (19-10, 7-9). Le’Tre Darthard had 15 points, finishing 5 of 7 from 3-point range.

Sampson coached Oklahoma from 1994 to 2006 and ranks second in program history with 279 wins and first in winning percentage (.719). Before Saturday, he’d never coached against the Sooners, but Houston’s entry into the Big 12 for this basketball season provided that opportunity.

Sampson received a warm welcome as he entered the Lloyd Noble Arena court, with many fans applauding, cheering and standing. Just before player introductions, Sampson and his three assistants with Oklahoma ties — former players Hollis Price, Quannas White and Kellen Sampson, his son — were individually recognized with announcements and pictured on the video board.

“The memories that I will take from here are just amazing,” Kelvin Sampson said. “Oklahoma will always be home in a lot of ways.”

Houston made its first week this season at No. 1 a successful one, with two wins. The Cougars are a game ahead of No. 8 Iowa State in the conference standings with two games left in the regular season and remain in the conversation for the overall No. 1 seed in the NCAA Tournament. Houston has won eight of the last nine games it has played as the No. 1-ranked team and is 35-5 overall while atop the AP poll.

Oklahoma dropped its second game of the week against a top-10 opponent, having lost 58-45 at Iowa State on Wednesday night.

The Sooners pushed Houston to the limit. Houston led 67-52 with 12:01 left, but the Sooners methodically closed that gap and Javian McCollum’s layup with 11.8 seconds left tied it at 85. It came after a hustle play by Uzan, who tracked down a rebound off a missed free throw and threw it off the leg of Sharp, allowing it to carom out of bounds.

Oklahoma coach Porter Moser said the vibe in the Sooners’ locker room was “tough. It wasn’t like they were happy to be close. They’re hurting. That’s a good sign. … That’s the elite of the elite and we’ve got to find a way to win that. That’s my job.

“I thought they were resilient battling back. Houston made tough shots, open shots, good shots. They do a lot of good things … but I thought we did too. We played the best team in the country, but we fell short. The margin of error when you play a team that good is small.”

Godwin went 6 of 6 from the field and led Oklahoma with 17 points, missing only the one free throw in six attempts as well. He also had seven rebounds.

BIG PICTURE

Houston: Sampson surely appreciated the warm welcome from fans on his return to Oklahoma, but he’s undoubtedly glad to have the emotional game against the Sooners over with. Now he can push the Cougars to focus on finishing the regular season strong and prepare them for the postseason.

Oklahoma: A win over the nation’s No. 1 team might have pushed the Sooners up a line or two in NCAA tournament seeding, but the loss shouldn’t damage their postseason hopes too much. Oklahoma probably needs at least one win next week — at home against Cincinnati or at Texas — to stay comfortably off the NCAA bubble heading into the Big 12 Tournament.

UP NEXT:

Houston: At Central Florida on Wednesday night.

Oklahoma: Host Cincinnati on Tuesday night.

SportsMap Emails
Are Awesome