“I think it’s the stadium at the end of the day,” he said. “Their proposal was really quite exciting. They talked an awful lot about the great history and tradition we have of Super Bowls in Miami, and I think owners would like to be in Miami.
“But it’s competitive right now. We have great stadiums coming onboard that we haven’t even played an NFL game in that are going to be hosting the Super Bowl. Others are investing significantly to make sure their stadium is state-of-the-art and is a great platform and stage for the Super Bowl. That’s what we want.”
The NFL will award Super Bowl 52 next year. Miami typically shows interest in every championship game the league makes available. But Barreto isn’t sure the city will even be asked to participate next time.
“We lost a pretty tough loss and really two losses,” he said. “I don’t know why they would invite us back next year.”
Although South Florida bid committee members and Dolphins people were disappointed, not everyone seemed heartbroken.
The Super Bowl bid ran into early opposition from the Miami International Boat Show, which is held on one of the three dates the NFL wanted reserved for the 2016 and 2017 games. In previous years, South Florida declined to pursue Super Bowls scheduled for Boat Show weekend, but it dropped that policy in the push for the milestone 50th game.
Show director Cathy Rick-Joule said she was disappointed Miami would not be hosting the Super Bowl but relieved the two massive tourism events would not be competing for hotel rooms and event space.
“There is certainly a bit of a sigh of relief that this won’t impact our business,” she said. “We were extremely concerned about that.”
Auto dealership mogul Norman Braman, a former owner of the Philadelphia Eagles, was the most ardent and deep-pocketed opponent of the Dolphins’ push for tourist tax dollars. He sees the NFL’s vote as a loss for the league rather than for the city. “Miami is a great place to have a Super Bowl game,” Braman said. “It is unfortunate for the league not to be here.”
Barreto shot back.
“Norman Braman, for whatever reasons — and he’s never stated them publicly — he’s against public taxes for facilities,” Barreto said. “But he wasn’t against the tax for the Performing Arts Center, which is right down the street from his dealership. And he wasn’t against it when the project was $300 million over budget, right?
“Whatever drives Norman Braman to do what he does, that’s his thing. It’s not mine. I’m about promoting Miami. I’m about having Miami being a great place to visit. I’ve raised my family there. I was born and raised there. I’m about giving back to my community. I’m a non-paid volunteer, and I’ve been doing this for 24 years. I enjoy it. And this is a bitter pill to swallow.”
Miami Herald staff writer Douglas Hanks contributed to this report.