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San Francisco awarded Super Bowl L; Houston lands LI

The Super Bowl is headed back to the Bay Area for the first time since 1985. Houston didn't have to wait so long.

NFL owners voted Tuesday to award Super Bowl L in 2016 to San Francisco, and the game will be played in the 49ers' new Levi's Stadium in Santa Clara, Calif. The result came as no surprise: San Francisco beat out South Florida, which had stadium issues, for the honor of hosting the 50th championship game.

"It's a testament to everybody in the Bay Area," 49ers owner Jed York told NFL Network. "The city of Santa Clara came together, obviously San Francisco stepped up for the Super Bowl; San Jose has been a big part of this, and I think you're going to see everybody from Napa all the way to Monterey step up for this. ... Sports are supposed to bring people together; they bring communities together, and nothing emphasizes that more than the Bay Area hosting Super Bowl L."

After the Super Bowl L announcement was made Tuesday at the NFL Spring Meeting in Boston, owners voted whether to award Super Bowl LI to Houston or South Florida. Houston, which hosted Super Bowl XXXVIII between the New England Patriots and Carolina Panthers in 2004, won the bid for the 2017 game.

"We had a wonderful time in 2004. ... I think we are even better prepared this time," Houston Texans owner Bob McNair told NFL Network. "It is just going to be a wonderful celebration. We just look forward to having people from all over the world come to Houston."

Winning the Super Bowl L bid helped cap a thrilling four-year run for the 49ers franchise. In 2010, Santa Clara voters approved plans for a new stadium. Coach Jim Harbaugh took over the reins of the team in 2011, swiftly bringing them back to the top of the league. Groundbreaking began on the stadium in 2012, with Levi's officially coming on board this month in a naming-rights deal.

The Bay Area has hosted only one previous Super Bowl, with Joe Montana's crew defeating Dan Marino and the Miami Dolphins 38-16 in Super Bowl XIX at Stanford Stadium. Tuesday's result had a familiar ring.

South Florida was a severe underdog to win the rights to host Super Bowl L or LI after the region failed to secure public funding for stadium upgrades.

The day's events send a clear message to cities and teams: If your stadium is out of date, you aren't going to host a Super Bowl.

Follow Gregg Rosenthal on Twitter @greggrosenthal.

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