In less than 24 hours, the city of Indianapolis will come to life. It will be the Mecca of all media outlets, celebrity sightings, and one great football finale`. In the middle of all this; mix in concerts, private corporate events, zip-lines, extravagant dinner parties, interactive fan zones, and behind-the-scenes tours. Weeks, months, and years of tedious planning will finally come to life, and is being promised to be the best football festival on Earth.
Cue Super Bowl XLVI in Indianapolis, Indiana. Years ago, this moment would be laughable to the common sports fan. The city didn’t even land an NFL franchise until 1984, decades after the league was formed. Our first stadium was a primitive bubble-of-sorts, and was quickly surpassed by all other venues in seating capacity, accommodations, and flair. The home team, to put it lightly, took 10 seasons to figure out how to be victorious and claim relevance in the league.
Until the late 1990’s, Indianapolis was solely a basketball town. Bob Knight’s Hoosiers and Reggie Miller’s Pacers captured the local headlines for years, and reinforced the state as the Basketball Capitol of the World. Around this time, a notable football decision was made to bring Peyton Manning to the Colts, as opposed to heavily favored Ryan Leaf. This player acquisition triggered the Colts to bigger and better levels as a franchise. The rumors to pack up and move to Los Angeles were no more, and after the team’s new found success, a brand new state-of-the-art stadium was in the works.
In 2008, the city unveiled Lucas Oil Stadium, and the sports world was in awe. Retractable roof and all, the venue was flocked to by tens-of-thousands of fans weekly, and quickly was host to the NCAA Men’s Basketball Final Four in 2009. After a thrilling Final Four, the bid to host a Super Bowl was pitched to the NFL. Indianapolis’ first inquiry was halted by Jerry Jones and the city of Dallas. Disappointed, but not defeated, the local committee pitched again to the NFL. Finally, rights were given to Indianapolis to host the 2011 Super Bowl. Another roadblock surfaced in 2010, when the labor lockout hit, putting the entire football season in jeopardy.
Through all of the what-ifs, setbacks, rejections, and bleak early beginnings; the stage is now finally set for the super show to go on in Indianapolis. The New England Patriots, New York Giants, their faithful fans, families, and employees will begin to embark on The Circle City in the coming days. “Hoosier Hospitality” will be in full force, as we take the national spotlight to entertain and celebrate.
So whether you’re a resident, local business owner, visitor, casual fan, or have no interest in sports at all – do yourself a favor to soak up the moment. Step away from the daily monotony of work, bills, and stress to enter Indianapolis’ Super Bowl Village. There will be something from everyone to enjoy and partake in, and that is a fact. The holidays flew by, and summer is still an eternity away; what perfect fix to bridge the gap between the two.
The future couldn’t be brighter for Indianapolis. We are proud of our teams, venues, suburbs, and residents. The innumerable volunteers, committees, planning groups, and executive boards have risen to the occasion to make this special time possible. All Hoosiers, in some form or another, can be attributed to this defining moment for Indianapolis. So let’s enjoy the stage we’ve set, and be fortunate for the community we live in. And thank you Peyton Manning for your community involvement, stellar play on the field, and dedication to the Colts franchise. Your tangible and intangible qualities have been contributing factors to this Super Celebration, too… just a little.