College Football Playoff director on Tampa: 'What a great success story'
There wasn't any major news in Tuesday's news conference regarding the 2017 College Football Playoff national championship game at Raymond James Stadium.
One takeaway came from Bill Hancock, the CFP's executive director. As I wrote in today's Tampa Bay Times, Hancock first got to know Tampa Bay when he worked with the Final Four before it came to Tropicana Field in 1999. He said he was struck by the area's sincere excitement for landing the big event.
Two decades later, the positivity remains, even as the area exploded.
"That passion is still here," Hancock said. "Downtown Tampa is just almost a different place. When I first came here, we were looking at the bid for (the title game), I thought, what an awesome job you guys have done in downtown Tampa. It's remarkable.
"What a great success story you have. Please, please, don't take it for granted, and don't be ashamed to talk about it."
Hancock said events like the Final Four, Frozen Four or national championship can help bring pride to a city as visitors see the city in a different perspective.
"It's just a reminder that hey, we are a cool place," Hancock said. "Let's not forget that. Let's don't take it for granted. People who live here probably do take it for granted too often. But believe me, we outsiders don't."