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2008 Super Bowl to L.A.?

NFL will get a recommendation this week to award a game to area, which could set other things in motion.

October 28, 2002|T.J. Simers | Times Staff Writer

Los Angeles does not have a team, still does not have a new stadium in the works, but this week the NFL is going to take a giant step forward with a break in tradition and recommend to the league's 32 owners that they award a Super Bowl to Los Angeles.

The proposal, which has already received the stamp of approval from the league's influential Super Bowl committee, will not include a specific date, although it's known the 2008 game is being targeted by NFL officials.

A formal vote to award the game to Los Angeles would not come until next year -- after L.A. officials have submitted a bid with available hotel rooms, party facilities and other NFL needs.

"We're looking at this as a momentum builder in Los Angeles," a high-ranking NFL official said. "We're talking about playing the game in the Rose Bowl unless a new stadium is built someplace else."

The NFL owners will hear the recommendation from the Super Bowl committee at a three-day meeting this week in New York, which also will include a favorable report placing the 2007 game in New York or Miami.

The 2003 Super Bowl will be played in San Diego. The next three games are scheduled to be played in Houston, Jacksonville and Detroit, and if the 2007 game goes to New York, a warm-weather site probably will be the NFL's No. 1 priority in 2008.

The NFL is making it clear that a new stadium in L.A. is not a prerequisite to receiving a Super Bowl, but this unusual move suggests the league might already have a team in mind to fill the L.A. void and will be using the lure of a Super Bowl to kick-start a new stadium deal before a team officially announces its intentions to move here.

The NFL's track record in placing Super Bowls in new stadiums suggests the league will want a new one here up and running for the 2006 season, which would certainly catch the fancy of the San Diego Chargers, Indianapolis Colts and New Orleans Saints, who will be in position to move at that time.

There have been reports the Colts could move here as soon as next season, and the Chargers after the 2003 season.

The Rose Bowl's announced intentions to meet NFL needs, and if necessary, investigate the possibility of building a new stadium to replace the existing facility, is one of the primary reasons the NFL is turning its Super Bowl attention to this area again. The Raiders and Rams left after the 1994 season, and the last Super Bowl to be played here was in the Rose Bowl on Jan. 31, 1993.

"The Rose Bowl effort has certainly given us something to think about," the NFL official said. "We're hearing several optimistic things in L.A., but this Super Bowl proposal represents a different approach. We're trying to get past the argument of who needs whom more. We would just like to be there, and this might start the process."

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