Could Miami be Super again?
If the Dolphins have their way, yes — in 2018.
League sources have told the Miami Herald that the Dolphins have formally applied to host Super Bowl 52 at this week’s NFL fall meetings, held in Washington.
Team owner Stephen Ross will learn if the Dolphins are a finalist for the 2018 game, which would be held at Sun Life Stadium, by Wednesday.
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If so, the team will present a formal bid to the league, likely with the help of the area’s Super Bowl committee and local officials.
Roughly a half-dozen cities are expected to apply, including Tampa. From that pool, two or three finalists will likely emerge, kicking off a months-long formal bid process.
If this all sounds familiar, it should. The Dolphins just went through this exact same routine — without success.
They were finalists for both Super Bowls 50 and 51 in the spring but lost out when the team’s stadium renovation plan died in the Florida statehouse.
The Dolphins pushed hard for local and state subsidies for their $350 million stadium plan, even calling on NFL commissioner Roger Goodell to lobby Tallahassee.
After the Dolphins lost out to San Francisco and Houston for the games in 2016 and 2017 in May, Goodell praised Miami’s proposal, but also said, “I think it is the stadium at the end of the day.”
This raises the question: Is this application the start of a renewed bid for public dollars?
Despite still-strong political opposition, Ross appears undaunted. Last month, Ross told reporters that he’s prepared to improve on his 2013 offer to the public.
Before Florida House Speaker Will Weatherford declined to put the matter up for a House vote in May, Ross pledged team and NFL dollars for about 55 percent of a proposed $350 million renovation, with Miami-Dade and Florida contributing yearly tax dollars to fund debt on the rest.
“I offered the best deal that’s ever been offered by an owner of a professional sports team,” Ross said in September.
As for Super Bowls, the Dolphins’ position has been to aggressively pursue them, whether or not their stadium is improved.
Even after the renovations deal fell through in the spring, they still went through the bid process. Their argument: bringing the nation’s biggest sporting event to South Florida benefits the community in many ways, not the least of which economic.
Miami has hosted 10 of the first 47 Super Bowls — tied with New Orleans for the most in history. The game was last held in South Florida in 2010.