Miami Dolphins

First round of cuts next week as South Florida hopes to end Super Bowl drought

Katy Perry performs during halftime of the NFL Super Bowl XLIX football game in Glendale, Ariz. The dancing sharks that stole some of the spotlight during Perry's Super Bowl halftime show have taken a bite out of an artist's bid to sell small figurines of them.
Katy Perry performs during halftime of the NFL Super Bowl XLIX football game in Glendale, Ariz. The dancing sharks that stole some of the spotlight during Perry's Super Bowl halftime show have taken a bite out of an artist's bid to sell small figurines of them. AP

The Dolphins are about a quarter of the way through their $400 million overhaul to Sun Life Stadium, a renovation project paid for by private funds.

The good news for team owner Stephen Ross, who’s footing most of the bill: He might soon get the first return on his hefty investment.

At next week's league meeting in San Francisco, the NFL is expected to announce which cities can bid on Super Bowls 53 and 54.

As expected, Miami Gardens is in the mix.

Rodney Barreto, who runs South Florida's Super Bowl host committee, has already offered up Sun Life Stadium for the 2019 and 2020 games -- plus the next three after that.

And if the league doesn’t, at the very least, let the region bid on upcoming Super Bowls after all the Dolphins have done to land the game -- paying for the stadium renovations and surrendering their Jets home game this year so it can be played in London -- it would be a stunning rebuke.

“I think football fans in South Florida should be very grateful that Steve Ross has invested back into the stadium,” Barreto told the Miami Herald. “And at the end of next year, we will basically have a brand new stadium that will position us to once again host Super Bowls.”

Ten of the first 44 Super Bowls were held in South Florida, but none since 2010 -- with the next three already promised to Santa Clara, California, Houston and Minneapolis. But the area’s drought hasn’t been from lack of effort.

Barreto and his committee have raised their hands plenty of times since, reaching the final round for Super Bowl 50. But South Florida ultimately lost out to the Bay Area -- and the deteriorating conditions of Sun Life Stadium were a determining factor.

A year later, the league wouldn’t even let Miami bid on Super Bowl 52, the clearest sign yet that the Dolphins had been removed from the rotation until significant improvements were made to their 28-year-old facility.

After years of political wrangling on both the state and county levels, Ross ultimately decided to bankroll the fixes with personal and league funds. But with a caveat: Miami-Dade County will pay the team a bonus for hosting national and international events. Landing an 11th Super Bowl would earn the Dolphins $4 million.

Barreto recently notified the league that the region wants to be considered for all the games between 2019 and 2023, agreeing to a preliminary list of basic requirements.

Assuming, as most do, that Sun Life Stadium survives the first round of cuts next week, Barreto’s team will put together a detailed bid. The league’s 32 owners will vote on those bids during their May 2016 meetings.

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