Owners vote Arizona as Super Bowl host for third time

HOUSTON -- Ah, Arizona. Just the place for the Super Bowl to thaw out after a frosty foray into the New York/New Jersey area.

NFL owners on Tuesday awarded Super Bowl XLIX to the Phoenix area, which beat the only other candidate -- Tampa, Fla.

It will be the third time the Phoenix area has hosted the game, which will be played in Glendale in 2015.

"We are thrilled to be back in Arizona," NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell said. "I will say it was a difficult choice."

Arizona won the right to host the 49th Super Bowl on the second ballot at the NFL Fall Meeting, prompting screams of joy from the committee.

"Everyone pulled together throughout the Phoenix area to put together a terrific package we were able to present to the owners," Cardinals president Michael Bidwill said. "We are delighted."

It's difficult to be critical of the choice weather-wise: The average temperature in early February in Glendale is about 60 degrees. In East Rutherford, N.J., where the first outdoor Super Bowl in a cold-weather climate will be played in 2014, 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 New England Patriotson Feb. 3, 2008 at University of Phoenix Stadium.

Tempe, Ariz., was the 1996 host, with the Dallas Cowboys defeating the Pittsburgh Steelers 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.

Next year's game is indoors in Indianapolis, followed by New Orleans in 2013 and then New York. There is speculation that the 50th Super Bowl, in 2016, will wind up in Los Angeles, where the first such championship game was played in 1967, if a suitable stadium is available.

"That is a significant event for us," Goodell said, "and we want to make sure we do it right. I don't think there is anything off the table on who would host it."

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.

Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press

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