Why the NFL doesn't need San Francisco (or Santa Clara) for the Super Bowl


It’s now been three years since we congratulated ourselves about hosting Super Bowl L, it’s now going to be at least six years until it comes back, and the smartest money says that it won’t be back until the 49ers build a new new stadium to replace their old new stadium.
This was the argument one humble typist (well, me) made at the time to must finger-wagging and shame-on-you-ing, and the obvious evidence is bearing that out.
The San FranClara Super Bowl was clearly a one-off eased into the momentary vacuum of suitable West Coast Super Bowl sites. And now, as we re-survey the landscape, the West Coast is lousy with Super Bowl sites. So, unless the Raiders move again, Las Vegas is a disaster, or the cost overruns in Los Angeles start to rival the space program, the NFL doesn’t need San Francisco at all. Or for that matter, particularly want it.
Barring massive glitches, Las Vegas will be an automatic Super Bowl rotation regular, and the same for Los Angeles. Arizona has a growing amount of history on its side as a preferred place to hold a corporate bacchanal, New Orleans is everyone’s ideal of the perfect place for said bacchanal, plus there’s Dallas, plus there’s Atlanta and/or Miami, plus there is the next new stadium game to be played in other cities.
And, we should mention this, Jed York is not a power broker among the owners. He is too young, not rich enough (relatively speaking, of course), and is also considered by the powerful and hardliners among the owners having been too conciliatory on the Great Kaepernick AgonyFest.
This last point matters because the owners have no earthly notion of what to do about social justice or what the league’s position should be on employee protest, but they are excellent at delegating blame. That’s why Kaepernick has no job, and why owners are being deposed, and why they are gathering at meetings to figure out ways to punish players without having the right to deport them. The other owners won’t say so publicly, and maybe not even to York personally, but they think to themselves that a stronger owner would have stopped the Kaepernick train before it got started.
This is not the main reason San Francisco won’t get the Super Bowl, though. It’s money, and there is more money to be made and fewer complications to endure in all those other venues. The Bay Area is the one thing it cannot stand being – insufficiently desirable to billionaires.
But that’s the landscape in the post-modern NFL – an aging and increasingly reactionary world in which the San Francisco geography, the Silicon Valley caricature, even Oakland’s dismissive rejection of the NFL’s take-it-and-leave-it offers viz. the Raiders all work against getting perks like a Super Bowl.
And the same almost certainly will prove to be true for the college football national championship as well. Santa Clara is getting this one, but when L.A.’s stadium is done and the NCAA comes to peace with the money fountains of Las Vegas, San Francisco will have seen the last of those as well.
This is not a tragedy, either, but the reality of a sporting landscape that no longer even tries to pretend that the business serves the games rather than the other way around. This is evolution, kids, and evolution wins every time . . . at least until the meteor hits and the best available Super Bowl site will be a tar pit.

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