Oakland News Now - As Atlanta Preps For Super Bowl LIII, A Polo Shirt From Super Bowl XXXIV
Not much talked about during the preparation for Super Bowl LIII is the fact that Atlanta hosted a Super Bowl 19 years ago: Super Bowl XXXIV, January 30th, 2000.
Super Bowl XXXIV itself was an excellent game that pitted the St. Louis Rams against the Tennessee Titans. The contest made up for what turned out to be the worst preparation for weather during a Super Bowl week, ever.
The Atlanta Super Bowl Bid Committee told everyone to expect sunny skies and a 72 degree temperature. The only time anyone experienced that warmth was inside the Georgia Dome; outside, Atlanta faced one of it's worst ice storms in history.
How do I know? Well, how do you think I got the polo shirt? I was a guest of the National Football League for what's called a "Super Bowl FAM Trip", where we get to see, up-close, how the Super Bowl was done by the Atlanta Super Bowl Host Committee, and also attend the contest.
The "we" were members of my Oakland Super Bowl XXXIX Bidding Committee: including legendary Oakland entertainment producer Lionel Bea, Marketing Consultant J. Randy Gordon, Oakland Developer Phil Tagami, and San Francisco Transportation Entrepreneur Gary Bauer (we added Sports Marketing Consultant Beth Schnitzer after meeting her at the Leigh Steinberg Super Bowl Party in Atlanta). We were working on a bid for Oakland to host the 2005 Super Bowl, and while we eventually lost to Jacksonville later that year 2000, we learned a lot about how to present events in bad weather conditions. But we had to go through a lot during the learning process.
Phil arrived late because of the weather and wound up driving in from Macon, Georgia; the rest of us who came early were treated to a daily challenge of getting around Atlanta in very dangerously slippery conditions.
This wasn't Minnesota, which is used to snow, this was Atlanta, which didn't even think it would have to deal with ice, let alone snow, for a Super Bowl.
The weather was so bad that it even hampered the NFL Commissioner's Party. The event was held in a North Atlanta venue that was a fair taxi-cab or bus or car ride to get to - there was no mass transit to use. (And this was before Uber and Lyft, ok?)
Rather than stop during the two-hour-long NFL Commissioner's Party, the weather got worse, with freezing rain being the new problem. The freezing rain made conditions so bad, it took a full three-hours for the buses that were to carry the NFL Owners back to their hotel to arrive.
That, alone, pretty much killed Atlanta's chances to get a Super Bowl again. It wasn't the Ray Lewis incident, or anything else; it was the scores of lawsuits that came about because of the weather, the accidents it caused, and the simple fact that the Atlanta Host Committee wasn't ready for the conditions.
Let's hope that doesn't happen this time.
Hopefully, unlike 2000, the Super Bowl events are close together, and walkable (I've not looked at their plan, yet). That way should the weather decide to have a 19-year-flashback, Super Bowl patrons won't have as hard a problem getting around.
I got the polo shirt, did you?
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Zennie Abraham is the CEO of Zennie62Media