Different people like different Super Bowl sites for different reasons.
The NFL loves renovated or redone stadiums with loads of luxury suites, in warm-weather cities with an abundance of hotels and golf courses. Reporters love Super Bowl sites that are convenient, condensed, centralized -- places where travel and traffic are not issues. Fans love -- as former Red Sox pitcher Curt Schilling might put it -- mystique and aura, not to mention an all-around super atmosphere.
This week, the NFL awarded the 2014 Super Bowl to New York/New Jersey, which has many strengths and one big weakness (brrrrr). But it got us thinking: What are the top 5 Super Bowl sites, cities that should be under consideration each year? Here's one man's opinion:
1. New Orleans: It is as unique as it is convenient. Everyone can walk everywhere, from downtown restaurants to the Super Bowl itself. Like New York, it's a city that never seems to sleep, at least not when football's Mardi Gras comes to town. It will next host the Super Bowl in 2013, one year before New York/New Jersey.
2. San Diego: The league doesn't like it because the stadium isn't big enough, and the suites aren't plentiful enough. But the locale and the weather cannot be beat. San Diego has beaches, golf, a downtown nightlife, everything that an ideal Super Bowl site can offer -- except a super stadium.
3. Phoenix: It's a little too spread out for some, but it is such a perfect scene. The desert typically brings hot days, cool nights and memorable times. The last Super Bowl there was one of the best ever played, when New York pulled a Giant upset over the then-unbeaten New England Patriots.
4. Miami: It has the nightlife, the restaurants, the history. Its drawback is that it is even more spread out than Phoenix. The media center this year was in Fort Lauderdale while the Super Bowl experience was in South Beach. Plus, the only time it ever rained for the Big Game was in Miami, where Indianapolis beat Chicago in 2007.
5. Houston: Any city that gets to host a Super Bowl for the first time, or the first time in a long time, goes all out. Houston went 30 years between Super Bowls -- its first in 1974, its next in 2004 -- and it was a first-class event. Houston made people want to come back for more.
There are no bad Super Bowl sites, just some that are better than others. The guess here is that Dallas will shine for next season's Super Bowl, as it never has hosted one; Indianapolis will do the same the year after (assuming a work stoppage does not short-circuit that season); and Los Angeles will do the same when it is expected to host Super Bowl 50.
And there will be so many people working on the New York/New Jersey Super Bowl that it doesn't have a snowball's chance of failing. Now, whether it can crack the list of the top Super Bowl sites is another issue ...