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Graney: Las Vegas should be in rotation for hosting Super Bowl

Updated February 12, 2024 - 2:41 pm

It’s a no-brainer the size of what will happen if you give Patrick Mahomes the football with a chance to win the game.

Las Vegas should and will be in the regular rotation for hosting the Super Bowl.

Whether the NFL wants to refer to such things or not. It doesn’t, by the way.

But the city did that fine a job with the season’s biggest game during the past week. It pulled things off at a supreme level.

Apologies to those media types who had predicted all doom and gloom and Sin City catastrophes. You were dead wrong.

“The hospitality here, you outdid it,” NFL commissioner Roger Goodell said Monday when addressing local leaders. “I think it’s safe to say the NFL looks forward to coming back.”

I think it’s safe to say it should.

A home run

Southern Nevada offered such a memorable experience that it will undoubtedly move into a cornerstone role of hosting the game. It was the first opportunity to do things right. Hit it out of the proverbial park. It really was business as usual.

I can see it happening every five or so years now. Can see Las Vegas joining other warm-weather cities as those the NFL sends its premier event to annually. Makes too much sense.

Here’s a reported plan, and it’s a good one: Los Angeles — traffic issues aside — will also remain in a rotation for the game, along with Miami and Arizona. New Orleans, which hosts the 2025 Super Bowl, could also find itself as a continuing regular. Dallas and Atlanta have been mentioned.

But nobody is better at hosting such events than Las Vegas. Nobody knows how to put on a show like it. Nobody is better at handling the enormous responsibility of making sure things go off smoothly.

“No place has the infrastructure or experience or creativity like Las Vegas,” said Steve Hill, CEO and president of the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority. “Every one of the things that it takes to do this well, we did it. This is what we do on a regular basis with lots of people who are great at it. The city comes together really well.

“I don’t know if the NFL will call it a rotation, but as I told them often — and I know the city agrees with me — we will take the Super Bowl as often as the NFL would like to have it here. That’s for sure.”

You couldn’t have asked for a more thrilling conclusion Sunday, a 25-22 overtime victory by the Chiefs over the 49ers at Allegiant Stadium. And while that has little to do with whether a city gets a second Super Bowl after its first, a little drama on the field and how the crowd reacts off it never hurts.

The Super Bowl always has been massive in Las Vegas, whether the game is present or not. It will continue to be so. But as we just witnessed, there’s nothing like acting as host for the entire week. Especially when things go so well.

Pulling it off

There were doubters out there, those who were sure the city would fail in some manner. That there would be a forgettable incident or two or more that would attach a large stain to the entire production. Dead wrong.

“There’s always an anticipation that raises your nerves a little bit, but that keeps you on your toes,” Hill said. “We talked a lot about the job we could do, but then we had to actually go do it. I knew we could pull it off, but stuff happens. It’s great to have made it happen.

“It’s going to leave a mark — however we perform — and that was as good as we could have possibly done. When that happens, it will resonate across sports and other events, and it will resonate for years to come.”

Whether it officially refers to a set rotation or not — it won’t be doing so — the NFL has made things quite clear:

Las Vegas is in it now.

Did its job and then some.

Ed Graney, a Sigma Delta Chi Award winner for sports column writing, can be reached at egraney@reviewjournal.com. He can be heard on “The Press Box,” ESPN Radio 100.9 FM and 1100 AM, from 7 to 10 a.m. Monday through Friday. Follow @edgraney on X.

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