Could Britain be in Bengals Future? - Cincinnati News, FOX19-WXIX TV

Could Britain be in Bengals Future?

By BARRY WILNER

AP Pro Football Writer

HOUSTON (AP) - Back to the desert, and back to Britain, for the

NFL.

The league awarded the 2015 Super Bowl to Arizona on Tuesday and

also committed to playing regular-season games in Britain through

2016 - with more than one game a year likely.

Owners approved a resolution to play

regular-season games in Britain for at least five more seasons.

Teams can volunteer to play at least one regular-season home game

per year in Britain for up to five years. Goodell said several

teams have expressed interest and there are financial incentives

for hosting games overseas. Visiting teams can play abroad only

once in five years.

Tampa Bay will host Chicago on Oct. 23 in London, the fifth

straight year the NFL has held an October game there. The

Buccaneers will be making their second London appearance in three

years; they lost to New England 35-7 in 2009.

Several teams that struggle to sell out home games, such as the

Jaguars, Raiders, Bengals and Chargers, could be in line for more

frequent trips overseas. Houston Texans owner Robert McNair said

he'd be interested in a trip to Britain as the visiting team.

No specifics on venues, dates or teams for future games have

been set, but Goodell made it clear more games in London are

coming, perhaps two as soon as next season.

"We are very pleased with the reception to the game and the way

our business has grown over there," he said. "Can it be sustained

for multiple games?"

The first owners meeting since the lockout focused almost

exclusively on big events, with the biggest of them all heading to

the Phoenix area in four years. Arizona beat out Tampa, the only

other candidate, on the second ballot.

"We are thrilled to be back in Arizona," Commissioner Roger

Goodell said. "I will say it was a difficult choice."

Though not a unique one like the Super Bowls that will sandwich

2015. In '14, the league makes a frosty foray into the New York/New

Jersey area for the first outdoor title game in a cold-weather site

since the merger. And in 2016, the 50th Super Bowl will be,

according to Goodell, "a significant event for us" and could wind

up in Los Angeles.

"I don't think there is anything off the table on who would

host it," Goodell said, noting that the league is keeping close

tabs on two potential stadium projects in Los Angeles.

"We think there are two opportunities in Los Angeles and we are

going to pursue both of them aggressively," Goodell said.

Neither Arizona nor Tampa received the required 24 of 32 votes

on the first ballot Tuesday, meaning a simple majority was needed

on the next vote. The University of Phoenix Stadium in Glendale got

the nod, prompting screams of joy from the Arizona committee.

"Everyone pulled together throughout the Phoenix area to put

together a terrific package we were able to present to the

owners," Arizona Cardinals President Michael Bidwill said. "We

are delighted."

It's difficult to be critical of the choice weather-wise:

average temperature in early February in Glendale is about 60

degrees. In East Rutherford, N.J., site of the 2014 game, the

average is a slightly chillier 31 degrees.

The NFL also set Feb. 2, 2014, as the date of the Super Bowl in

New Jersey; that date will not conflict with the Winter Olympics in

Sochi, Russia.

"It's historically warmer on Feb. 2," Giants owner John Mara

said with a smile. He didn't mention the possibility of snow,

freezing rain, blustery winds and all the accompanying elements.

That will not be a factor in Arizona. The NFL has seemed eager

to return to the Valley of the Sun since the Giants' upset of the

then-unbeaten Patriots on Feb. 3, 2008. Tempe, Ariz., was the 1996

host, with Dallas defeating Pittsburgh 27-17.

"This is huge for Arizona," bid leader Mike Kennedy said. "It

feels really satisfying."

Tampa hosted the game in 1984, 1991, 2001 and 2009.

"Both cities are great sites for the Super Bowl and both had

impressive bids," added Mara, whose team has won championships in

both places. "They've each been to the altar a few times recently

and were denied. They both deserve to host a game again."

Next year's game is indoors in Indianapolis, followed by New

Orleans in 2013 and then the Big (possibly frozen) Apple.

Goodell spoke with the Tampa Bay group immediately after it lost

the bidding.

"Anytime we are invited to participate, we will do so," said

Paul Catoe, outgoing CEO of Tampa Bay & Co.

Bidwill said the estimated economic impact in Arizona in 2008

was more than $500 million, and he expects it to be higher in 2015.

While that number seems high because subsequent Super Bowls didn't

reach that level, it's still a major boon to local business.

The meetings began with a five-minute NFL Films tribute to Al

Davis after the Oakland Raiders owner died on Saturday.

 

(Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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