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Hill: Sorry, haters. Tremendous Super Bowl week terrible for Vegas critics

Updated February 13, 2024 - 10:37 am

The Sphere was ripped from its foundation by a group of drunken fans in the wee hours of Monday and rolled by the rowdy mob down the Strip, destroying everything in its path.

Fortunately, it didn’t cause much damage because most of the city already had been burned to the ground throughout a horrifying week of carnage caused by NFL fans descending on a den of sin that simply couldn’t figure out a way to function under the stress of a major event.

Of course, none of this actually happened. That was just the scenes envisioned in the minds of some national media folks who love complaining about everything new.

The first Super Bowl week in Las Vegas came and went with only a few minor hitches, and by all accounts was one of the smoothest and most efficient championship games the league has run.

A return to Las Vegas will be announced sooner rather than later. In fact, one of the only critical questions that would be fair to ask at this point is, “What took so long?”

But don’t expect any apologies from the Phil Mushnicks of the world.

The notorious curmudgeon of a columnist from the New York Post predicted doom and gloom for the NFL’s week in Southern Nevada.

“Las Vegas will have again proven to be a rotten choice of venue as for some strange reason crime has a nasty habit of visiting ‘Sin City’ and that what happens in Vegas stays in Vegas police files,” Mushnick wrote last week.

Then he cited a few well-known criminal cases that were extensively covered over the years, which seems to go against his oh-so-witty line suggesting mass cover-ups when bad things happen in town.

There was something about his column that only people in the business would notice but is important context for what he wrote.

The column didn’t have a dateline.

For those who aren’t familiar, when a story opens with the name of a city, it indicates the author is there. So, of course, Mushnick wasn’t in Las Vegas while he was bashing the city. His response to that, I’m certain, would be that he wouldn’t want to be in such a horrible cesspool and doesn’t need to be to read about what’s going on here.

But if he had been here, he would have seen a logistical marvel except for some traffic snarls. Those never happen in New York.

Of course, no city is more equipped than Las Vegas to host massive events, and last week was no exception.

Yes, it was a little more complicated than usual to get to the stadium on Sunday, and traffic was heavy on Friday and Saturday nights. That’s not breaking news.

As someone who went to multiple events at different properties Friday and Saturday, was at official Super Bowl functions every day for more than a week and covered the game at the stadium on Sunday, it was remarkably smooth as compared to other host cities.

Sure, lessons were learned. The need for an organized system of mass transit has never been more clear.

And, to be fair, there were some alcohol-fueled incidents of violence around town. Not that there is an excuse for that, but that’s not the NFL’s fault and can obviously happen anywhere. It just happens in casinos instead of bars, and there are a lot more cameras here. Again, zero incidents are acceptable. But they do happen in every city in the world.

Should we do a list of all the crimes that have taken place in New York? Miami? New Orleans? Would you like to host the Super Bowl in Weiser, Idaho?

Mushnick wasn’t alone. Former NFL quarterback Boomer Esiason, a studio analyst for CBS and a radio personality, said there was a potential for Chiefs and 49ers players to find “trouble” in Las Vegas, though he failed to mention his teammate Stanley Wilson missed a Super Bowl in Miami when he was caught using cocaine on the eve of the game at the team hotel.

This is one of the arguments that always infuriates me. Trouble can be found in Las Vegas. No doubt. And we have even marketed it at times as being acceptable and overlooked. But that’s not what this city is really about. It’s just fun to wink and nod at that part of “Sin City.” What we are is a thriving community with the best restaurants, best nightclubs, best entertainment and pretty much best everything.

And we provide a 24-hour experience, which is rare and can put people who can’t handle it in tough spots. But it’s such a small part of what we are, and only the laziest in commenters focus on that part of what we have to offer.

Esiason’s radio producer, Al Dukes, probably thought he was hilarious when he referred to Las Vegas as “skid row with nicer hotels.” Sorry I missed the Bellagio fountains last time I was in downtown Los Angeles.

Sports Illustrated’s Albert Breer posted on social media that Las Vegas was “bursting at the seams” and not a great host for the Super Bowl. He followed it up with traffic complaints. Yawn. This is the best city to host any major event, and the Super Bowl just proved it. Full stop.

The NFL has to allow other cities in their rotation, but there is no reason we should go more than four years without hosting the Super Bowl again.

Sorry, haters.

Contact Adam Hill at ahill@reviewjournal.com. Follow @AdamHillLVRJ on X.

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