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Tampa lands Super Bowl in 2021

Mike Tomlin celebrates with LaMarr Woodley and Troy Polamalu after the Steelers beat the Cardinals in 


Super Bowl XLIII on February 1, 2009 at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa. [Times files (2009)
Published May 24, 2017

TAMPA — Record rainfall in Los Angeles ultimately may end Tampa Bay's drought of hosting the Super Bowl.

NFL owners voted unanimously in a one-day meeting in Chicago on Tuesday to shift Super Bowl LV, which will be played in February 2021, from Los Angeles to Tampa.

The decision came five days after the Rams and Chargers announced that heavy rainfall in southern California had delayed construction and pushed the opening of the stadium they will share in Inglewood, Calif., back one year until 2020.

The league has a rule prohibiting stadiums from hosting a Super Bowl until they have been operational for at least two seasons. As a result, Los Angeles is now scheduled to host Super Bowl LVI in February 2022.

It will be the first NFL title game held in Tampa since 2009, when the Pittsburgh Steelers used a last-minute touchdown pass from Ben Roethlisberger to Santonio Holmes in the final minute to beat the Arizona Cardinals 27-23 in Super Bowl XLIII. Tampa also hosted Super Bowl XVII (1984), XXV (1991) and XXXV (2001).

"The Tampa Bay area has enjoyed great success over the years hosting Super Bowls and we look forward to working with our local leaders in the coming months to meet the requirements for hosting Super Bowl LV in 2021," Bucs co-chairman Bryan Glazer said. "Today's announcement offers us the opportunity to showcase Tampa Bay's unique ability to come together as a host for world-class events."

GOOD TRACK RECORD:NFL rewards Tampa Bay's preparation with another Super Bowl

Both Tampa Bay and Los Angeles have 90 days to meet certain conditions for hosting the game.

Because the area was turned down in their bid for a Super Bowl for 2019 and 2020, which went to Atlanta and Miami, respectively, the Tampa Bay Sports Commission must receive renewed commitments for the bid package, which includes the use of Raymond James Stadium, hotel rooms and considerations presented by the city and county.

Tampa received rave reviews when the city hosted the College Football National championship game in January. But by the time Super Bowl LV will be played in February 2021, the $150 million renovation of RJS will have been completed.

"Certainly, we're ecstatic about the possibility of hosting Super Bowl LV but we still have to get our ducks in a row," Hillsborough County commissioner Ken Hagan said. "Coming off the extremely successful college football national college championship game, I don't think there's another city in the country better positioned to host world class events like the Super Bowl. The city comes alive."

Hagan said it was "easy to get frustrated" on initially not getting any of the recently announced Super Bowls. With so many new/renovated stadiums popping up and new markets, plus the league's stated interest in an overseas game and the possibility of more cold weather Super Bowls, Tampa could have been on the outside looking in for a while.

But Tampa's aggressive efforts to bid on all Super Bowls gave them an advantage when L.A.'s weather problems pushed back the stadium's availability.

More from Rick Stroud

The NFL and Bucs chief operating officer Brian Ford broke the news in simultaneous calls Tuesday to Rob Higgins, executive director of the Tampa Bay Sports Commission, a non-profit that put together Tampa's bid for the Super Bowl.

"Hosting our fifth super bowl has been a top priority for quite some time," Higgins said. "It's something we monitor on a daily basis in terms of the national landscape for future years and certainly we had seen some of the reports bubble up and the conversations became much more tangible in the last few days."

Times staff writer Steve Contorno contributed to this report. Contact Rick Stroud at rstroud@tampabay.com. Follow @NFLStroud.

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