Seattle could surely host Super Bowl if Indianapolis can

SATURDAY, FEB. 4, 2012

The Super Bowl

in Indianapolis: Revenge of the Agri-Nerds.

Into the grills of everyone who ever mocked Naptown, its hosting of America’s most corporate extravaganza is the ultimate tomahawk dunk. Wish I were there to see the party features: Tractor ice sculpture, Rules Violations Exhibit at NCAA headquarters and A.J. Foyt’s Salute to the Left Turn Booth at the NFL Experience.

I bet they’ll pull off a worthy week. Hoosier Daddy, indeed.

So, if America’s premier cultural blank spot can host a Super Bowl; if New York, where the  February weather is at least as wretched as Seattle’s, can host the 2014 Super Bowl outdoors, then as Seahawks coach Pete Carroll might be apt to ask Seattle:

“What’s your deal?”

By putting Naptown and Gotham on the honor roll of host cities, the NFL no longer is the deal. We’re the deal. Our civic inertia is the impediment to hosting America’s annual salute to coma-inducing excess.

Sloth. Fear. Too tragically hip to know we are sillies. Crippled by the paper/plastic debate. Whatever Seattle’s excuses are for not pursuing a Super Bowl, none is good enough.

The largest variable is one man – Seahawks owner Paul Allen, said by Forbes to be the NFL’s richest owner. Does he want to do it? Hard to know. He has plenty of things to occupy him, including his health, and the earliest that the NFL would entertain a bid from a northern city likely would be for the 2018 game, or as we like to say in the sport’s circle of pretension,  SB LII.

Above all, the awarding of a Super Bowl is a matter of clubhouse politics. The owners of the 32 franchises allow themselves to be as arbitrary and capricious as they want. They tend to reward their best long-term friends.

The team’s original owners, the Nordstroms, were, from Paul Tagliabue to Al Davis to the Mara family, trusted and respected. The Nordstrom ownership began pursuit of a game for the Kingdome in 1992, but in 1988 sold the team to Ken Behring, a California real estate mogul of low order who impressed no one in Seattle or the league meetings.

The franchise became a political non-factor until it was purchased in 1997 by Allen, already an NBA owner and one of the world’s richest men. Early on, Allen kept a low NFL profile, even after he helped steward the franchise to its first and only Super Bowl appearance in 2006.

But he took a more active role in the labor lockout, resolved in August and now considered more of a win for the owners than the players. Whether that has whetted his appetite for more NFL engagement isn’t known. But if he said yes, Seattle’s application would quickly rise to the top.

Imagine Seattle by 2018: Light rail will be finished, a tunnel will have replaced the viaduct, the Mercer Mess will be half-unmessed and the Mariners will be just a season away from contention in the American League West after they acquire one more bat.

What a time to celebrate a civic renaissance. In the run-up, the power brokers behind a new arena will have all of their kids finished with college and desperate for jobs. So dads could hand kids shovels and say, “Here, dig a hole big enough for an arena.” What a satisfying bonding experience, and Seattle gets a building big enough to host all the related events, just as Naptown is doing.

Bringing a Super Bowl to Seattle is a splendid, low- public-cost, pollution-light idea whose time is upon us. The chance to be Naptown Northwest is here. We can even promise Uncle Paul it’s the last time we’ll bug him for a civic handout.

Either that, or make them the Seattle Trail Blazers.

Art Thiel is a columnist for Follow him on Twitter @Art_Thiel.

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