ATLANTA -- Super Bowl LII, where are you? Minneapolis, that’s where.
NFL owners Tuesday awarded the league’s Feb. 4, 2018, championship game to Minnesota, which beat out competing bids from Indianapolis and New Orleans.
Landing the 52nd Super Bowl for the Twin Cities and its weeklong festival of football and commerce was a major coup for Vikings owners Zygi, Mark and Leonard Wilf, who are in their 10th season as team stewards.
"Very humbled, grateful and exhilarated at the same time," said Mark Wilf, the Vikings president. "It’s a huge sense of relief. It’s nerve-racking going through those votes, but we felt good that we put our best effort in as a host committee through the bid communicating to the other owners where we were at. Just very grateful for the opportunity and responsibility to put this even together."
The Wilfs successfully lobbied the state legislature in 2012 for $498 million in taxpayer money to help build a futuristic $1 billion indoor stadium on the old Metrodome site. The yet-to-be-named venue was the centerpiece of Minnesota’s bid, but local star power helped.
Legendary coach Bud Grant and star running back Adrian Peterson headlined a cast that included Olympic skier Lindsey Vonn and chef Andrew Zimmern. Their videotaped speeches brought Minnesota’s detailed bid to life.
The Minnesota delegation was the first to make its 15-minute presentation to the 31 other owners and their staff at Atlanta’s Ritz-Carlton Hotel.
Richard Davis, CEO of U.S. Bancorp, and Marilyn Carlson Nelson, former CEO of Carlson Cos., made the pitch from the podium. Mark Wilf delivered the closing argument.
It marked the first time New Orleans lost out on a Super Bowl bid after winning its previous 10. Indianapolis, which was host to Super Bowl XLVI in 2012, lost the previous year.
In the end, owners decided to return the Super Bowl to wintry Minneapolis 26 years after Super Bowl XXVI was staged at the Metrodome, which was demolished over the winter to make room for the new stadium.