Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Indy Loses Super Bowl Bid To Arlington

LET THE FINGER POINTING BEGIN
Shortly after the NFL announced this afternoon that it had chosen Arlington, Texas for the site of the 2011 Super Bowl over Indianapolis and Phoenix, GOP mayoral hopeful Greg Ballard fired off a press release blaming Indianapolis' rising crime rate for the NFL owners' decision. Ballard's press release reads, in part:

While many factors were considered by team owners in determining the site of the future event, Republican Mayoral Candidate Greg Ballard believes the massive increase in Indianapolis crime tipped the scales toward Dallas. “I am disappointed, but not surprised,” said Ballard. “Indianapolis is seeing record levels of violent crime in the past year, which must certainly weigh heavy in the minds of those selecting a Super Bowl site.”

According to the most recent FBI statistics, the murder rate in Indianapolis shot up nearly 55% between 2005 and 2006. In the same period, the murder rate in Dallas decreased nearly 5%. Similarly, Indianapolis showed an increase in nearly every crime statistic- violent crime, property crime, burglary, theft, and auto theft – while Dallas showed significant decreases.

Ballard concluded, “We are building a $675 million stadium. The Colts won a Super Bowl. But we will not be hosting the Super Bowl, an event that would pump more than $260 million into our local economy, because Mayor Peterson’s lack of leadership and poor planning has led to an epidemic of crime in Indianapolis."

Personally, I think it is preposterous to think Indy's crime rate had anything to do with today's decision by the NFL owners. And I would remind Ballard that it is Arlington, Texas and not Dallas which will be hosting the 2011 Super Bowl. Dallas officials, in fact, almost refused to back Arlington's bid to host the Super Bowl at the Cowboys' new stadium because of hard feelings over Cowboys' owner Jerry Jones' decision to accept a stadium deal in Arlington instead of Dallas. The NFL owners, in a backhanded way, may have actually been doing us a big favor choosing Arlington. Perhaps this may serve as a wake up call to city leaders to get their priorities straight. You have to ask why the mayor and every major city leader have been working day and night for the past several months raising money and developing plans for an event four years off when the city is being ravaged by crime and is teetering on bankruptcy from decades of accumulated debt it has no clue how it's going to repay?

The consensus seems to be that money made the difference. The new stadium in Arlington will hold nearly 100,000 compared to the 70,000 Lucas Oil Stadium will hold. That equated to an additional $16 million off the top in ticket sales, plus the Texas stadium has far more suites than Lucas Oil Stadium. So are we already back to where we started with the RCA Dome? Remember how we were told we could never host a Super Bowl because the dome just wasn't big enough and didn't have enough luxury suites?

Let's also take another stroll down memory lane. Remember when former NFL Commissioner Paul Tagliabue came into town to wine and dine Indiana lawmakers to convince them to approve the $675 million publicly-financed stadium for the Colts? And remember his assurances that Indianapolis would be given an opportunity to host a future Super Bowl if the new stadium was approved? Did that promise die with his departure as NFL Commissioner? As Field of Schemes observed at the time of Tagliabue's visit to the city:

If you were wondering how much it costs to buy an Indiana legislator, apparently the price is one $40 ribeye steak. The Indianapolis Star reports that when NFL commissioner Paul Tagliabue breezed through town to pump for Colts stadium subsidies last week, he took in a late-night dinner at the cleverly titled Mo's - A Place for Ribs with some special guests: Colts coach Tony Dungy, city stadium booster Fred Glass, and state legislators Brian Bosma, Jeff Espich, Robert Garton, Robert Meeks and Luke Kenley. The tab for the dinner, which a Mo's owner bragged was in a "completely private" room that hosts "a lot of celebrities," was paid by the Colts. What, no movie?

To be fair, we don't know if the steaks - or even the $7.75 "Joey's 'Ol Fashion' Old Fashioneds" - actually helped buy any stadium votes from Bosma & Co. But it certainly doesn't hurt, and it's not the kind of access that average citizens are likely to avail themselves of. If you doubt this, just try ringing up your state assemblyperson and asking them out for surf 'n' turf to discuss legislation you'd like passed - say, a $700 million extension to your sun porch - and wait for
the reaction
.

It would be interesting to hear Glass, Dungy or any of the others who met with Tagliabue to honestly relate what assurances he gave the lawmakers in attendance at that dinner about a future Super Bowl bid. One look at the long faces of Glass and Dungy today made it clear they were shocked by today's decision. I suspect if they were to be candid with us, they would concede they believe the city was double-crossed by the NFL.

17 comments:

Wilson46201 said...

Matt Tully wisely observes that Ballard may be shooting blanks about the NFL shunning Indianapolis because of crime -- after all, the 2 previous SuperBowl cities were Detroit and Miami, neither known to be oases of peace, quiet and tranquility.

Aside from opposing crime, what other defining issues does Ballard have a position on? God? Motherhood? Apple pie? Pro or con?

ProCynic said...

Actually, I don’t remember Tagliabue offering Indianapolis a Super Bowl if a new stadium was built here. And I would be very surprised if he did.

What I do remember is that Tagliabue said the NFL had “never approved” a team in Indianapolis, a rather shocking admission from someone allegedly seeking a new stadium from Indianapolis. The NFL has never thought highly of Indianapolis as a football market. Though they use euphemisms like “small market,” they don’t think Indianapolis cares all that much about football, not compared with most other cities with NFL teams at any rate. Basketball and auto racing dominate here, and the Irsay family was chided both inside and outside league circles for moving the team to a place where the NFL would rank third at best. Even in the midst of the Colts’ recent success here, the fan base is seen as probably the softest in the league – except for the last few seasons they have struggled to sell out the RCA Dome, the smallest stadium in the league, and there is little doubt that once Peyton Manning retires Lucas Oil Stadium will be ½ to 2/3 empty.

The perceived softness of the fan support complicated the planning for the new stadium. Several years ago, Irsay did a marketing study on the Colts to help determine financing options. But the results of that study were never released, and the speculation has been that the reason for that was the results were not complimentary to Indianapolis as a football market. Personal Seat Licenses have been used as a funding mechanism for stadiums in other cities and, while odious, they at least have the users of the stadium pay more for its construction. That option could not be tried in Indianapolis, because the season ticket holders would for the most part simply walk away. Furthermore, the new stadium had to have a roof, in part because Colts fans are not believed to have a tolerance for inclement weather. Even now, people joke that the retractable roof on the new stadium will never be retracted. So while the cost of the stadium went up because of the roof, the funding options were limited.

On top of that, the Colts seem to underperform in the merchandising department given their success, and appear to have built up very little of a national fan following since moving here. Spending the two weeks leading up to the first Indianapolis Colts Super Bowl talking about Indianapolis’ chances of hosting a Super Bowl rather than the Colts’ chances of winning the one they were in probably did little to help the city’s image as a very soft football market.

Tagliabue and the NFL had been very public in offering (or “promising,” if you will) Super Bowls to cities that built new stadiums. To the best of my knowledge, they did not do so for Indianapolis, and if they did, they weren’t very public about it like they were in other cities. It does not suggest the NFL was trying to build up public support for the stadium, not that any such support was needed here since no public vote was required on the stadium, a rather unusual phenomenon.

Furthermore, compared to the deals offered in other cities, Irsay’s demands for the new stadium were, to put it mildly, excessive. I suspect the NFL had a hand in that, because they the team would make more money elsewhere, like Los Angeles, than it would here, unless perhaps Irsay got the moon. So Irsay asked for the moon and Bart Peterson gave it to him. For all the criticism of Peterson for giving away the store to the Colts, he had no choice. If Indianapolis wanted an NFL team, that was the price they had to pay, because the NFL did not and does not want them.

When you combine that opinion of the city with the more agreeable climate in other cities (albeit not as much so in the case of Dallas) and the lack of corporate sponsorship to pressure the NFL into putting a Super Bowl here like GM and Ford did with Detroit a few years ago, you get a very slim chance of Indianapolis ever hosting Super Bowl.

Advance Indiana said...

Procynic, At the time of Tagliabue's visit, the promise of hosting a Super Bowl event was certainly part of the hype associated with him lobbying state lawmakers for the new stadium. What he actually said behind closed doors is another matter, but the Mayor et al. certainly led people to believe there was a commitment of some sort. I disagree with you that we were in danger of losing the Colts. To whom? Irsay pitched the idea to LA's Reardon and he told him to get lost. There was no other viable place for the Colts to go when we gave away the store to him. Irsay got a better deal than any other NFL team owner to date as far as a new stadium deal. The economic benefit of the Colts team is a fraction of the economic benefit from the Speedway. How much have we subsidized the Speedway over the years? ZERO.

Advance Indiana said...

The problem is Jim Irsay. If Indianapolis law enforcement had done its job, Jim Irsay would probably no longer own the Colts. His reputation among the team owners couldn't stand up to Jerry Jones. Don't forget this from Irsay's past. He's very lucky law enforcement swept this under the rug. The story would have turned out differently if it had been me or you.

By Scott MacGregor
The Indianapolis Star
Published: November 14, 2002


The Drug Enforcement Administration is investigating local physicians and pharmacies suspected of providing excessive prescriptions for painkillers, law enforcement sources said Wednesday.

Indianapolis Colts owner Jim Irsay and a handful of associates may be questioned in the investigation, sources said -- even though Irsay's lawyer and the NFL said they don't believe Irsay is the target. Sources said no current Colts players are part of the investigation.

Marion County Prosecutor Scott Newman acknowledged the DEA investigation and said a member of the Marion County Sheriff's Department was assisting federal authorities.

Officials would not publicly reveal the names of doctors or pharmacies, citing the ongoing investigation. But sources said one of the pharmacies being investigated is Nora Apothecary at 1101 E. 86th St. on the Far Northside.

The store's owner, Charles H. Lindstrom, declined to comment Wednesday.

Irsay admitted Tuesday he has sought treatment for addiction to prescription painkillers. Through a spokesperson, Irsay declined an interview request by The Indianapolis Star on Wednesday.

Days after Newman's office learned of the federal investigation, Newman's chief deputy, John Commons, and Marion County Sheriff Jack Cottey met with Michael Zunk, who was then security director for the Colts, at a restaurant on West 38th Street.

Newman, who says his office is no longer involved in the investigation, said the purpose of the Aug. 26 meeting was to find out if Irsay had an attorney and to confirm information that Irsay was in a drug rehab program at the time.

"The meeting is no big deal," Commons said, noting the discussion was mostly social.

Commons, Cottey and Zunk, the former Indianapolis police chief, are former U.S. Marines and have been friends for more than 20 years, Commons said.

"We went to Zunk for a practical reason. We were all friends," Commons said. "It was an easy way to find out what we needed to know."

Commons said Irsay's attorney, James Voyles, called the next day to confirm Irsay was in rehab. Voyles said Wednesday he is no longer representing Irsay.

Zunk declined to comment Wednesday. He left the Colts in September to become deputy federal security director at Chicago's O'Hare International Airport.

Commons said Irsay appears to have had a prescription for the painkillers. State law says having or using prescribed drugs is legal unless the patient lies to the doctor or forges a prescription.

"We don't charge people who get valid prescriptions," Commons said. "We were satisfied that we had no need to go any further."

Irsay did not get special treatment, Commons said. In similar cases, prosecutors say, the target of such investigations is usually the doctor who prescribed the pills.

And in the cases where an addict with no criminal history is charged with a crime, Commons said, the courts often sentence them to some kind of rehabilitation program rather than prison.

Cottey recalled another meeting six to eight months ago with a Sheriff's Department narcotics investigator, representatives from the U.S. attorney's office and DEA. The group decided the federal authorities would conduct the investigation.

The DEA's top regional official, Rick Sanders, refused to say whether the DEA is investigating any case involving Irsay. U.S. Attorney Susan Brooks also would not comment on the investigation.

While refusing to comment about Irsay, Brooks said a person's stature in the community would not affect any decision about whether to press charges.

Sources said Brooks was overseeing the investigation. However, the federal prosecutor said she oversees all federal cases.

Brooks said she was unaware that Irsay had donated $4,500 to Lawrence Mayor Tom Schneider's unsuccessful campaign to become Marion County sheriff.

Her husband, David Brooks, was a top Schneider campaign adviser.

"I have no idea who Tom Schneider's campaign contributors are, or who (his opponent) Frank Anderson's campaign contributors are," she said.

Asked hypothetically whether she would recuse herself from a prosecution involving a top contributor to Schneider's campaign, Brooks said, "I would really need to discuss that with our ethics officer. I was not involved in any way, shape or form with any campaigns."

NFL Commissioner Paul Tagliabue knew about Irsay's drug problem before Irsay made it public, an NFL spokesman said Wednesday.

"Jim Irsay has discussed his medical issues with Commissioner Tagliabue on several recent occasions, including that he voluntarily sought professional treatment to help overcome his dependency on certain prescription drugs," NFL spokesman Greg Aiello said in a statement.

NFL rules say owners can be disciplined by Tagliabue for conduct detrimental to the league. Any action from the league would come only after a review from the commissioner.

Irsay's dependence on painkillers has raised questions before.

About six years ago, a representative of Irsay called Dr. Henry Roenigk, then a determatologist at Northwestern University, asking him to prescribe the narcotic painkiller Percodan to Irsay, Roenigk said Wednesday. Roenigk said he was told Irsay needed the drug for an old football injury.

Roenigk, a friend of Irsay's father, the late Robert Irsay, said he didn't think much of it -- until Irsay asked again.

The doctor said he thought it was odd that Irsay would contact a dermatologist for pain medication.

"I did it the second time, and I said, 'He's not using this for his knee. He's using me,' " Roenigk said. "I felt very uncomfortable about it. When they keep asking over and over again, the first thing in your mind is that they're addicted to something, that they're using you."

Roenigk said he stopped writing Irsay prescriptions and told Michael Chernoff, then the Colts' lawyer, about his suspicions. Chernoff declined to comment.

A year earlier, in 1995, Irsay's relationship with Indianapolis physician Dr. James Dickerson was scrutinized during an investigation by Indianapolis police looking into Dickerson's potentially inappropriate prescription writing.

Retired Indianapolis Police Department Detective Irene Conder, who handled the case, said her criminal investigation grew into a noncriminal administrative matter involving only the doctor. She said there was not enough probable cause for any charges.

During that investigation, Conder said, she spoke to Irsay but treated him "as a victim."

"When I interviewed him, I was not interviewing him on the stance that he was a perpetrator, but as a victim. . . . That's very typical when you have a doctor as a target."

The state medical licensing board suspended Dickerson's license in 1996, but not for writing questionable prescriptions. Records show he was disciplined for alcohol and marijuana use.

Dickerson could not be reached for comment Wednesday.

Conder said she reminded Irsay about the pitfalls of addiction.

"He's already admitted he's had a prescription abuse problem," she said. "He should have done this months ago."

ProCynic said...

Gotta disagree with you on the hype about the Super Bowl. I was watching for that specifically and didn’t see it. While the local media may have talked about it, Tagliabue himself did not, as he did in other cities, San Diego for instance. And I would again point out his comment about the NFL never approving a team here, which floored me.

The Colts were indeed in danger of moving. Make no mistake that the NFL wants in Los Angeles more than Los Angeles wants the NFL, especially after Los Angeles was burned by the likes of Al Davis and Georgia Frontiere. But the NFL was more willing to cut Los Angeles some slack on any stadium and even help them out, as they have done in the past (see, e.g. Cleveland). The NFL has been looking for a team to move into Los Angeles, and the Colts were a natural fit. The mistake the NFL may make is in trying to move two teams there. Furthermore, San Antonio, Las Vegas and Birmingham are eyeing NFL franchises. The Colts could have ended up in any one of those cities.

As for Irsay’s drug use, I am no fan of the Irsays by any stretch of the imagination, and there are many, many reasons to dislike them, but drug use is not among them. Considering what skeletons have been revealed from the NFL owners collective closets (for instance, do you remember how Frontiere got the Rams?), I doubt the NFL considers it an issue, either.

Finally, the vote was closer than I expected, 17-15, which probably speaks to the amount of corporate support if not NFL sponsorship a la Detroit. Since places like Phoenix, Tampa, Miami, New Orleans and San Diego make these bids on an almost routine basis (though New Orleans ability to host post-Katrina is open to question and San Diego has been told it will not host another Super Bowl until it builds a new stadium) without letting failure of a single bid crush their egos, shouldn’t the city be talking about making a future proposal?

Anonymous said...

We'll never really know if that was a factor, because the NFL surely wouldn't come out and tell the world that they were tired of coping with safety issues in venues with high violent crime rates like Miami and Detroit. But Ballard's argument passes the smell test with me... Tully also points out that we need to address those issues before we go making another bid. Hardly a slam on Ballard's viewpoint, if not a wholehearted endorsement...

Advance Indiana said...

From the Star archives:

March 28, 2006 •• 525 words •• ID: ind96543307
National Football League Commissioner Paul Tagliabue told this to anyone who would listen last year: If you build a new stadium, Indianapolis will get a shot at hosting the Super Bowl. Now the stadium's growing out of a big hole at Capitol Avenue and South Street, and city officials are honing their pitch to the NFL team owners who will make the decision.

Fort Wayne Fan said...

Isn't it just a matter of 30,000 more seats in Texas? In my opinion you can overthink this - doesn't it just come down to money for the NFL? If we were talking a seat difference of a few thousand, perhaps there is room for subtleties and politics, but 30,000 seats is a lot of ticket sales.

Anonymous said...

Procynic has bits and pieces of some of these stories, enough to be close to some of the action. But he doesn't have it all.

I'm not sure anyone other than Fred Glass, Jim Irsay and the Mayor have "all" the information. But take it from soneone who was in one of the rooms Tagliabue addressed during his visit: a Super Bowl was all but promised. No date was given, but the commish was adamant about the possibility.

His visit was primiarily to pump up the stadium deal. Because whine though we might, among other NFL cities, especially those in the second tier like Indy, Irsay's revenue would not have kept pace without a new stadium deal and all the nonsense that goes with it.

Without sufficient revenue, he wouldn't be able to attract top professional talent and management.

Without those, well, we'd be another Tennessee Titans. Flash in the pan once in awhile, but consistently not in the hunt, therefore, fans stop attending.
Revenue drops even further. The cycle continues and the team, thus the NFL, is in trouble.

THAT is what Irsay's famous market study showed. I've seen the Executive Summary. I'm told the full study is under lock and key.

Indy is a football town. We're smack-dab in the middle of NFL cities in that respect. But the sponsorships and related income in a market this size, for Irsay, cannot compare to the bigger markets. Union Federal's sponsorship deal with the Colts was cited in that study. A similar deal in Chicago would've netted the Bears five or six times what UF paid the Colts. Multiply that over all the product lines and endorsements, and you start to see how the cash cow gets milked.

(For what it's worth, UF insiders bicker over this, but their brass thinks their Colts endorsement deal heightened their profile, thus, made them more attractive, and perhaps more valuable, in their recent sale)

But the commish did all but promise a Super Bowl. And although he's gone, he was accompanied to Indy by several of his entourage, all of whom are still there.

There is NFL institutional knowledge about this deal.

And there is almost universal NFL institutional forgiveness for Jim Irsay's past personal problems. Make of that what you will. Maybe he's such a sharp contrast to his a--hole father that they're relishing in the change.

Second chances are easier to come by in the rarified air of sports gazillionaires.

Anonymous said...

Gary,
With regard to your statement to Procynic about taxpayers NOT subsidizing the Indianapolis Motor Speedway I will comment this: The Indianapolis Motor Speedway does NOT collect any State or Local sales taxes nor do they pay any State or Local sales taxes.
A substantial amount of money that IMS takes in from admission, concession sales etc. is in the form of CASH. That cash is ferried from various locations on the IMS via tunnels that lead to a vault where the IMS museum stands today. The tunnels and vault go way back to when Tony Hulman purchased the track and grounds.
So it is essentially untrue that we don't subsidize the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. IMS not paying taxes is a decent trade-off considering what dollars they bring in to this area with the 3 races.
If I am incorrect on these points about IMS please provide evidence to the contrary. A call to Ice Miller would work. The tunnels and vault? I've been in them.

Anonymous said...

Not to nitpick, but it's Mo's -- A Place for STEAKS (not ribs). And it's my favorite place in the city.

Advance Indiana said...

I know there isn't a tax on the 500 tickets. On the concession sales, I'm not sure about the sales taxes. I know that the Hulman family used to staff the concessions with volunteers from various nonprofit groups in exchange for money being contributed to their groups. I believe they're still doing this because my sister worked one of the concessions as a volunteer a couple of years ago. I don't think you'll ever see anything like that at Lucas Oil Stadium.

Anonymous said...

Gary,
I agree, you will not see any non-profits getting cut in at Lucas.
IMS having charity groups work IMS concession stands is relatively new in the history of IMS. IMS saves money working with the charity groups, the charity makes some money and IMS writes it off federal taxes. A win win for all but a shrewd business decision by IMS.
Indianapolis Motor Speedway does not collect local or state taxes off any sales nor does IMS pay any local or state income tax off those sales. Both of these are subsidies in a different set of clothes. Over the past several decades the Hulman family's wealth only inceased by these tax deals to the tune of hundreds of millions of dollars. The agreement that the Hulman's have had is that the money they make at the track stays at the track, tax free from local or state government.
The tradeoff is that IMS brings a lot of people to Indy and central Indiana. Not as many as in the past but still a lot of people.

I think you'll find that most people are not aware of the fact that IMS has a special tax situation that in effect, has kept tens of millions out local and state coffers for decades. IMS can afford to help a few charities, even more so when they make more money doing it.
Ever wonder why the attendance figures at IMS are always kept secret? They always just estimate.
You really need to see that vault and the tunnels Gary. Just think of all the tax free cash that's moved into that vault since the early 1920's. Those tunnels are Indy's best kept secret. The new museum was built over the vault. The hidden entrance there in the old days was a restroom and storage shed.

I'm not opposed to giving IMS tax breaks at all. I'm just upset when people say that IMS doesn't get any subsidies when they in fact, do.

Advance Indiana said...

Anon said, "Indianapolis Motor Speedway does not collect local or state taxes off any sales nor does IMS pay any local or state income tax off those sales."

I have to disagree that they have an exemption from paying income taxes. If the Speedway makes money from the sale of tickets, broadcasting rights, advertising deal, etc, there are taxes paid like any private business. Give me a tax law citation which exempts them from paying income taxes?Also, show me the sales tax exemption for the 500 souvenir sales?

Anonymous said...

Gary,
Contact IMS if you want verification. They are not collecting or paying local and state tax on sales. I don't know why this is a surprise to you.
When you do contact them ask what their attendance figures were for each of last years 3 races.
IMS is not just any old regular private business in Indy. They're a cash cow for the local economy.
Ask about the tunnels and the vault too when you contact IMS. Ask how cash is accounted for.

ProCynic said...

Anon 7:27,

You had me until you said “Indianapolis is a football town.” That statement is so off the mark that it throws doubt on the credibility of your entire version of events. No rational observer of the sports world believes that; most Colts fans don’t even believe that. Google “Worst NFL Town” and three cities come up pretty consistently: Los Angeles, St. Louis and Indianapolis (surprisingly, Jacksonville has not shown up before on the times I have run it). Pittsburgh is a football town. Chicago is a football town. Green Bay, Cleveland, Dallas, Buffalo, Denver, one could even argue Kansas City, Seattle, Oakland and Baltimore (unfortunately). Those cities have never had to beg people to sell out the stadium to keep the game from being blacked out like the Colts have. The local sports talks shows in those cities are dominated each fall by football, not the NASCAR points standings or whether Eric Gordon is coming to the local U. The fans in those cities don’t generally allow tens of thousands of opposing fans to enter their stadium for playoff games. Merchandising is better, TV and radio ratings are better, season ticket bases are larger. Finally, as I mentioned earlier, those cities don’t spend the two weeks leading up to the Super Bowl talking about hosting the Super Bowl when their team is in it, which to the normal NFL fan is much more important. Visiting NFL fans notice these things when they come here, and they go back home with these stories. Which is why the Colts in spite of their recent success do not have much of a national following.

Now, none of those cities is up for hosting a Super Bowl, you may say (except for Dallas, obviously). That is correct, which brings me to my second point.

You claim to have seen the executive summary of the marketing study, if not the study itself; I have not. But your characterization of the summary is most curious. The Colts need a Super Bowl to help their revenues or else they will descend into perpetual mediocrity like the Tennessee Titans have? Such an argument only supports the contention that Indianapolis is a soft NFL market. How many other NFL teams manage to stay financially viable without hosting a Super Bowl? Most of them. Lets leave aside the large East Coast markets (New England, New York, Philadelphia, Baltimore, Washington) as well as giant Chicago, Dallas and San Francisco for the sake of argument. The Denver Broncos and the Pittsburgh Steelers are consistently in the hunt for the playoffs, if not always in it, yet they cannot host a Super Bowl, nor do they wish to. The Cleveland Browns are (surprisingly) one of the top money makers in the league, in spite of their poor record since their return. They cannot host a Super Bowl, either; their fans specifically rejected that possibility when they insisted on an outdoor stadium instead of a dome. How about Kansas City or Green Bay? Why is it that NFL teams in these comparably-sized cities (except for green Bay, which as you know is far smaller) are able to remain financially competitive without a Super Bowl and yet somehow the Colts need that Super Bowl to stay viable? The logical answer to that is fan support.

ProCynic said...

AI,

I'll have to defer to your story, but that is not how I remember it, and it is inconsistent with Tagliabue's jaw dropper about the NFL never approving a team in Indianapolis.