I will open by admitting that I am entirely biased in my opinion that Indianapolis is the best Super Bowl location in NFL history. With that out of the way, I believe there is a great deal of support for the claim.
Logistics is a huge key for any Super Bowl host. Downtown Indianapolis has been consistently designed to handle massive conventions and large sporting events. Lucas Oil Stadium and the newly remodeled convention center, along with other key locations such as Circle Center mall are connected by sky ways or tunnels. Bankers Life Fieldhouse is also located downtown just a few blocks away. NCAA headquarters and museum, Victory Field, the largest Children’s Museum in the world, the Indianapolis Zoo, dozens of restaurants, bars, and more monuments in any downtown location other than Washington D.C. means there are plenty of opportunities to find something to do downtown.
Key to making it all work is that the downtown area is surrounded by I-465, which means that there is convenient and fast way to get from anywhere around the city into the downtown area. Also key is that, unlike most other host locations, nearly all of the NFL festivities can be held within walking distance downtown - including a record-breaking attendance for Super Bowl village in 2012. The need to support huge conventions and sporting events has resulted in ample parking in downtown as well, something most other locations will lack.
New Orleans had its eye on how Indianapolis fared for the Super Bowl and noted:
Indy officials said the Super Bowl Village had 1.105 million visitors and the NFL Experience registered a record 265,039 visitors. A total of 10,429 people rode the wildly popular 800-foot zip line along Capitol Avenue.
It says a great deal when New Orleans, who may hold the crown as the all around most popular Super Bowl destination in NFL history, pays such close attention. Things went so well for Indianapolis that all anyone could do is make excuses that the weather was perfect and complain that there aren’t as many restaurants in the downtown area as there is in other locations. It put New Orleans on notice and made it very clear they had to step up their game or get overshadowed by a Midwestern city.
Another key is that downtown Indianapolis is aesthetically very nice, well taken care of, and thriving with businesses. It is very safe and did a whole lot of working to continue becoming more and more amenable for these large events.
And thanks to the army of friendly volunteers on every street corner, crime was almost nonexistent.
Only about 50 arrests for minor violations were reported Sunday, city officials said Monday. No homicides occurred during the 10-day event schedule.
The remodeling of Georgia Street and construction of the 33-story JW Marriott hotel are just a couple of the big projects Indianapolis worked hard to bring to the city in anticipation of the Super Bowl. It is quite likely that if the city were to win another bid to host the Super Bowl, more improvement would be made to take the experience to the next level.
Let’s put it this way, there are very few cities who have had the opportunity to host the Super Bowl in the northern part of the country. Weather will always be a concern in February and Indianapolis can very easily be subjected to difficult winter weather conditions, below freezing temperatures, and the possibility for dangerous travel conditions. Even despite that, it is ranked as one of the top Super Bowl host cities by Fox Sports.
It will never get the kind of credit it deserves because many will not be able to get around the fact that there is cold weather in Indianapolis. Media members, league officials, and travelers would like the idea of going to a warm weather location for a vacation-like atmosphere. This is understandable.
For Indianapolis to be rated highest on the list of host cities and not have this luxury says a lot. Frankly, if you could move Indianapolis to a warmer climate in the winter, I believe it would easily be considered the best Super Bowl host city in NFL history. If Indianapolis could be transplanted to Miami, Florida, the actual Miami wouldn’t have a chance.