Super Bowl Stadium Standards Spiral Out of Control

Land Shark Stadium can't host the 2013 Super Bowl because it's "outdated." Huh?

The Dolphins' stadium is only 22 years old, and has already undergone a quarter billion dollars in renovations and upgrades.  Yet according to NFL commissioner Roger Goodell, it can't compete with "state-of-the-art facilities" and isn't a good candidate for hosting Super Bowls anymore.

Geez. What do they want, an LCD sky?  Massage chairs?  Beer-serving robots? 

Apparently they do. And we would actually like beer-serving robots ourselves.

Goodell told Dolphins owner Stephen Ross that other league owners told him Land Shark Stadium "lags behind" the best venues in the league.  Hmm...wonder if those owners were also vying for the 2013 game, which went to New Orleans.  Either way, the news certainly shocked Ross, as it should have.

"Yeah, it surprised me," he told the Palm Beach Post. "But I haven't been focusing on that because you go into the stadium and it's pretty damn good. But hearing it from other people, we really have to look at it."

Really?  Joe Robbie-Pro Player-Dolphins-Land Shark Stadium has already hosted four Super Bowls and will have its fifth in 2010.  It's got huge screens, comfy seats, and a glamorous cosmopolitan setting with all the right infrastructure to host and host well. That's not enough?

To be fair, Miami has hosted 10 Super Bowls already, the others in the Orange Bowl; it's okay for another city to get a turn. The 2011 and 2012 games will be hosted at new Cowboys Stadium, which opens this season, followed by the year-old Lucas Oil Stadium, and that's as it should be.  It's great to show off new venues on national TV, and give fans the treat of experiencing a new stadium.

But are we really expecting owners to shell out a half-billion dollars every five years or so, just because someone else put in an extra concession stand or a pirate ship?  Obviously, as the league's premier event, the Super Bowl's host stadium should be nice. But there are two points to be made: a good stadium, which doesn't necessarily mean "new", is just the bones on which the game is hosted (extra toilets won't make that big of a difference so long as the game is good and someone whips out a breast during the halftime show); and the people who ultimately pay for fancy stadiums and upgrades are the fans.  America's in a recession, and ticket sales are down. How about some realistic expectations?

After all, we've already got handheld wireless devices down here. What more can one ask for?

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