posted on May, 21 2003 @ 07:58 AM
The Super Bowl will be returning to the Sunshine State in 2007.
NFL Commissioner Paul Tagliabue has announced that Miami and Tampa are the finalists to host the Championship game in four years' time.
Only New Orleans has hosted more Super Bowls than Miami, who have been home to football's premier spectacle eight times.
If the game returns to South Florida, it would be held at Pro Player Stadium - the home of the Miami Dolphins.
Tampa are vying for their fourth Super Bowl and first since 2001.
The game would be played at Raymond James Stadium, home of the Buccaneers.
Final approval is expected when the owners meet on September 17.
If Tampa fails to win the 2007 game, it will have the chance to host the contest the following year.
Tampa are also a finalist for the 2008 game along with Washington DC, New York and Arizona.
Tagliabue's announcement came at the League's spring meeting.
The Commissioner has made it known that he would eventually like to see the Super Bowl played in a cold-weather city like Washington or New York.
The Redskins have a state-of-the-art facility in Landover, Maryland.
The New York game would be played at Giants Stadium, across the Hudson River in East Rutherford, New Jersey.
But Tagliabue has indicated previously that Giants Stadium would need renovations before it could host a Super Bowl.
If Arizona gets the game, it would be played at the Cardinals' new stadium in Glendale, which is scheduled to open in 2006.
"This is what we were hoping for in terms of timing," Cardinals vice-president Michael Bidwill said. "It is a big step forward."
The 2008 site is expected to be announced in October.
Houston, Jacksonville and Detroit will stage the next three Super Bowls.
Play-off expansion could also be discussed at the meetings, which conclude on Wednesday.
Earlier this year, the competition committee voted 8-0 against a plan to expand the play-offs from 12 to 14 teams.
Several owners reportedly consider the topic a dead issue, but it could still come up for a vote.
If the post-season is expanded, only the AFC and NFC teams with the best record would receive a first-round bye and there would be six games on the
first play-off weekend.
But Tagliabue is reportedly to be against post-season expansion.
Several League officials also fear only one bye would cause too much of an competitive disadvantage, one reason the decision did not come in March at
the winter meetings.
But the issue was tabled for further study.
The Kansas City Chiefs and New England Patriots made the proposal to increase the number of play-off participants.
Other topics on the agenda this week are the status of the NFL network, NFL Europe, the Pro Football Hall of Fame Class of 2003, the League's
workplace diversity initiatives and the stadium financing program.