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MetLife Stadium is making history this year as host of Super Bowl XLVII: the sporting complex will be the first ‘green dining’ stadium in history. It has gone through a number of strict stipulations set out by the Green Restaurant Association (GRA) in order to be certified.
“The degree to which the stadium has taken on the green certification process is outstanding,” Michael Oshman, CEO of the GRA, told us, as the stadium has more than 200 on-site eateries that feed up to 100,000 people per game.
“I know it took a real team effort – lots of work and lots of cooperation – to get this done in time for Super Bowl XLVIII,” Jack Groh, Director of the NFL Environmental Program, said in a press release. “Being a Certified Green Restaurant Stadium tells the fans that this stadium and its food service partners are committed to doing things in a way that is efficient and sustainable.”
The minimum requirements for receiving this certification included going Styrofoam-free, having a full recycling program, reaching 100 ‘GreenPoint’s total and reaching 10 GreenPoints each in energy, water, waste, chemicals, food, and packaging. “They implemented 61 Steps across all categories above, plus Green Building; earning a total of 132 GreenPoints,” Oshman told us. “One exciting highlight is shifting their grease to 100% biodiesel.”
The 200-plus food service stations within the stadium each received a two-star certification which takes into account the food, energy, water, waste, disposables, chemical and pollution reduction and furnishing and building materials to make sure they all comply with the GRA’s standards.
Talks began back in 2013 between MetLife and the GRA to implement the necessary requirements to make the stadium green in time for the Super Bowl. What’s interesting, noted Oshman, is that this large-scale operation took the necessary steps to achieve certification in a shorter time than many mom and pop restaurants and food services companies. “From the very beginning, our owners committed to build and operate one of the most environmentally responsible stadiums in the National Football League,” Brad Mayne, MetLife Stadium President and CEO, added in the release.
While most fans on game day might not notice the changes in the lighting, recycling or food, they might take notice that the stadium has in fact gotten rid of all its Styrofoam. “Most changes at any Certified Green Restaurant, large or small, are invisible to the consumer,” he added.
As for what’s next, the GRA is currently working with another unnamed stadium and in discussions with a couple more to go through the green certification process. Perhaps the 2015 Super Bowl will be just as green as this one.
Help rank 5 most memorable NFL games played on Thanksgiving
Nothing says Thanksgiving like turkeys, stuffing and pigskin.
Yes, a football tradition since 1945 will continue this Thanksgiving with the annual slate of NFL games.
Thursday's trifecta of games concludes with the Baltimore Ravens and South Florida native Lamar Jackson taking on the undefeated Pittsburgh Steelers at 8 p.m. on WPTV.
To commemorate another year of turkey day gridiron action, we want your help in choosing the five most memorable games played on Thanksgiving in NFL history.
We've selected seven notable games from which to choose.
Here are the seven nominees, from most recent to back in the day.
We'll share the top five, as voted on by you, before you carve up the turkey on Thanksgiving.
New England Patriots 49, New York Jets 19Nov. 22, 2012MetLife Stadium | East Rutherford, N.J.
This Thanksgiving battle of AFC East Division teams shall forever be known as the "butt fumble" game. After a scoreless first quarter, Jets quarterback Mark Sanchez collided with the gluteus maximus of offensive lineman Brandon Moore, causing him to fumble the football. It was recovered by Patriots safety Steve Gregory and returned for a touchdown. The mishap was the centerpiece of a calamitous series of events for the Jets in the second quarter, during which time they lost three fumbles and the Patriots found the end zone three times -- one each on offense, defense and special teams -- in a span of 52 seconds. New England outscored the Jets 35-3 that quarter on the way to a 49-19 victory in the first Thanksgiving prime-time game on a broadcast network.
Baltimore Ravens 16, San Francisco 49ers 6Nov. 24, 2011M&T Bank Stadium | Baltimore
The "Har-bowl" paired the coaching wits of Baltimore's John Harbaugh against San Francisco's Jim Harbaugh. Much of the first three quarters was a defensive battle before the Ravens broke a 6-6 tie with an 8-yard touchdown pass from quarterback Joe Flacco to tight end Dennis Pitta in the fourth quarter. Billy Cundiff tacked on a 39-yard field goal late in the fourth en route to a 16-6 victory. The Harbaughs would meet again in Super Bowl XLVII to conclude the 2012 season, with big brother John once again getting the best of little brother Jim.
Detroit Lions 19, Pittsburgh Steelers 16 (OT)Nov. 26, 1998Pontiac Silverdome | Pontiac, Mich.
This game is perhaps best remembered for what happened during the coin toss to determine whether Detroit or Pittsburgh got the ball first in sudden-death overtime. Steelers running back Jerome Bettis claimed he called "tails," but referee Phil Luckett insisted that Bettis had called "heads-tails." NFL rules dictate that a team's first call must be used, so Luckett awarded the ball to the Lions, who won on a 42-yard field goal on their first possession in overtime. As a result, the NFL now requires that the team captain call heads or tails before the coin toss.
Miami Dolphins 16, Dallas Cowboys 14Nov. 25, 1993Texas Stadium | Irving, Texas
The defending Super Bowl champions were facing the Dan Marino-less Dolphins on a snow-covered field in what has since become a Thanksgiving classic. Trailing 14-13 with 15 seconds remaining, Dolphins head coach Don Shula sent kicker Pete Stoyanovich onto the field to attempt a 41-yard field goal. The kick was blocked by Dallas defensive tackle Jimmie Jones, but while his teammates were celebrating, fellow lineman Leon Lett ran toward the football, past a few Dolphins players, slipped on the frozen turf and kicked the ball. The Dolphins recovered the loose ball and Stoyanovich made a 19-yard field goal with three seconds left to give Miami a 16-14 victory. It was the final loss for Jimmy Johnson as head coach of the Cowboys, who won out on their way to back-to-back Super Bowl trophies. The Dolphins didn't win again for the rest of the season.
Philadelphia Eagles 27, Dallas Cowboys 0Nov. 23, 1989Texas Stadium | Irving, Texas
This game has been dubbed the "Bounty Bowl" because of allegations that Eagles head coach Buddy Ryan had placed bounties on Cowboys kicker Luis Zendejas and rookie quarterback Troy Aikman. First-year Dallas head coach Jimmy Johnson claimed that there was a $200 bounty on Zendejas, who had been cut by Philadelphia earlier in the season, and a $500 bounty on Aikman. "I have absolutely no respect for the way they played the game," Johnson told reporters after the lopsided loss. "I would have said something to Buddy, but he wouldn't stand on the field long enough. He put his big, fat rear end into the dressing room." Ryan denied the accusation. "I resent that," he said. "I've been on a diet, lost a couple of pounds. I thought I was looking good."
Green Bay Packers 44, Detroit Lions 40Nov. 28, 1986Pontiac Silverdome | Pontiac, Mich.
This remains the highest-scoring Thanksgiving game since the NFL merger in 1970. Green Bay wide receiver Walter Stanley netted 207 all-purpose yards and three scores, including an 83-yard punt return for a touchdown to win the game. Stanley, who had an otherwise undistinguished NFL career, went on to play for the Lions in 1989.
Chicago Bears 23, Detroit Lions 17 (OT)Nov. 27, 1980Pontiac Silverdome | Pontiac, Mich.
The Lions led the Bears 17-3 headed into the fourth quarter of the first Thanksgiving overtime game. Chicago outscored Detroit 14-0 in the final quarter and forced overtime when quarterback Vince Evans scrambled and dove into the end zone on the last play of regulation. But it didn't last long. Bears running back Dave Williams returned the opening kickoff 95 yards for the game-winning touchdown in an overtime that lasted just 13 seconds -- the shortest in NFL history.
A trip down Super Bowl Halftime Show memory lane courtesy of YouTube
The Super Bowl Halftime Show is just as memorable as the Big Game – if not more memorable in some years, if we’re being totally honest.
Janet Jackson’s infamous wardrobe malfunction alongside Justin Timberlake? The legendary and late Prince? Shirtless and heavily tattooed Maroon 5 frontman Adam Levine?
And then there is Beyonce in 2013 in New Orleans and 2016 in the San Francisco Bay Area.
It’s mere hours before pop superstar the Weeknd, who announced a 2022 tour date at the Spokane Arena last week, takes the spotlight during the Super Bowl LV Halftime Show at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa, Florida, amid the continuing coronavirus pandemic.
(BTW, I’m predicting a Tom Brady and Tampa Bay Buccaneers victory, versus Patrick Mahomes and the defending Super Bowl champion Kansas City Chiefs, partly because it is the first time in NFL history that the host city’s team has made it to the Super Bowl.)
Meanwhile, let’s take a trip down Super Bowl Halftime Show memory lane courtesy of YouTube to revisit the over-the-top performances since 2012.
Super Bowl LIV at Hard Rock Stadium in Miami Gardens, Florida, on Feb. 2, 2020: Jennifer Lopez and Shakira featuring Bad Bunny, J Balvin and Emme Maribel Muniz (J.Lo and Marc Anthony’s daughter)
Has there ever been a more diverse, multicultural and Spanish-language halftime show? J.Lo and Shakira are stunning. Let’s get loud in Miami, indeed!
Super Bowl LIII at Mercedez-Benz Stadium in Atlanta on Feb. 3, 2019: Maroon 5 featuring Travis Scott, Big Boi and the Georgia State University Marching Band
Again, heavily tattooed Maroon 5 frontman Adam Levine goes shirtless. At 12:30 in the video during show-closer “Moves Like Jagger.” You’re welcome.
Super Bowl LII at U.S. Bank Stadium in Minneapolis on Feb. 4, 2018: Justin Timberlake featuring the Tennessee Kids and University of Minnesota Marching Band
Justin Timberlake is a phenomenal live performer – one of the best – but what’s probably most remembered is the young fan who took a selfie with the superstar during “Can’t Stop the Feeling!”
Super Bowl LI at NRG Stadium in Houston, Texas, on Feb. 5, 2017: Lady Gaga
Lady Gaga is also a phenomenal live performer – her underrated voice is often overshadowed by her theatrics and spectacle – and she included LGBTQ+ lyrics without blinking a big, black false eyelash.
Super Bowl L at Levi’s Stadium in Santa Clara, California, on Feb. 7, 2016: Coldplay featuring Beyoncé, Bruno Mars, Mark Ronson, Gustavo Dudamel, the University of California Marching Band and Youth Orchestra L.A.
This gets my vote as one of the best halftime shows of all time because it includes one of my favorite singers, Beyonce, and one of my favorite bands, Coldplay. And the message of love and unity, in San Francisco, no less, was perfect.
Super Bowl XLIX at University of Phoenix Stadium in Glendale, Arizona, on Feb. 1, 2015: Katy Perry featuring Lenny Kravitz, Missy Elliott and the Arizona State University Sun Devil Marching Band
Katy Perry is a talented and super-fun singer-songwriter, but she was overshadowed by Lenny Kravitz’s guitar, Missy Elliott’s rapping – and an inflatable shark.
Super Bowl XLVIII at MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, New Jersey, on Feb. 2, 2014: Bruno Mars featuring Red Hot Chili Peppers
An electric live performer as a singer and dancer, Bruno Mars shared the stage with the equally electric Red Hot Chili peppers. Their halftime show was red hot.
Super Bowl XLVII at Mercedes-Benz Superdome in New Orleans on Feb. 3, 2013: Beyonce featuring Destiny’s Child
This also gets my vote for one of the best halftime shows of all time because Beyonce is queen. In an understated and classy end, she exited the stage saying, “Thank you for this moment. God bless y’all!”
Super Bowl XLVI at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis, Indiana, on Feb. 5, 2012: Madonna featuring LMFAO, Cirque du Soleil, Nicki Minaj, M.I.A., Cee Lo Green, Andy Lewis, Avon High School Drumline, Center Grove High School Drumline, Fishers High School Drumline, Franklin Central High School Drumline, Southern University Dancing Dolls and a 200-person choir of Indianapolis residents
Madonna brought it in 2012 with a ginormous supporting cast – and despite M.I.A.’s post-Super Bowl fine for flipping off the camera, which the Queen of Pop deemed was “out of place.”
Go, Bucs! Go, Chiefs! Go, the Weeknd – just look at those blinding lights!
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Almanacs Foresee a Super Bowl to Test Fans’ Resolve, and Snow Gear
When the N.F.L. owners met near Dallas three years ago and chose to hold Super Bowl XLVIII in New Jersey, it was a balmy 90 degrees and dry as a bone. The 80,000 fans who attend the game in February may be happy if it is half as warm.
This season’s Super Bowl will be the first played outdoors in a cold climate, and if all goes well, cities like Boston, Chicago and Denver may bid to host future games. But in voting to reward the Jets and the Giants for spending $1.6 billion to build MetLife Stadium, the N.F.L. owners sparked a host of prognostications, some of which call for Snowmaggedon on game day.
Almanacs, in particular, outhouse companions to many a farmer long ago, have been boldly predicting a grim Super Bowl. Using mathematical and astronomical formulas that take into account sunspots, tides, the position of the planets and other factors, Caleb Weatherbee, the pseudonym of the forecaster at the Farmers’ Almanac, is “red-flagging” early February and expects “copious wind, rain, and snow” around the time of the game.
“They should have checked with us before they scheduled the game in New Jersey,” said Sandi Duncan, the managing editor of the almanac. “If I was paying that much for a ticket, I might not want to sit in the snow.”
Not to be outdone, the Old Farmer’s Almanac, which is about a quarter-century older than the Farmers’ Almanac, said a nor’easter could hit the New York-New Jersey metropolitan area at the beginning of February and, depending on the storm’s track, dump snow or rain on the stadium.
“We’re doing something that’s damn near impossible and doing it for a long time,” said Tim Clark, a contributing editor. Unfortunately, he said, “we haven’t directly determined the correlation between the solar cycles and the Cover 2 defense.”
Both almanacs said their weather outlooks were accurate about 80 percent of the time, so fans at the game could certainly end up dry, if not chilled. Since 2003, the temperature at Newark Liberty International Airport at kickoff on Super Bowl night has been 23 to 47 degrees Fahrenheit, and there was precipitation on only three of those days.
Most mainstream meteorologists who rely on satellites and other high-tech wizardry sniff at these outlooks and contend that it is nearly impossible to predict with any precision what the weather will be on a specific date months in advance. Historical averages are useful, they say, but it is a fool’s errand to forecast anything beyond about two weeks.
“It’s silly to say we can predict a snowstorm three months
in advance,” said Jack Boston,
a long-range meteorologist at AccuWeather.com. “One out of 10 times, you’ll get lucky.”
Frank Supovitz, the N.F.L. senior vice president for events, is hedging his bets. The owners knew what they bargained for when they picked MetLife Stadium to host the game, he said. The New York-New Jersey area is the country’s largest media market and an appealing destination for executives and fans who, he said, will be able to ride toboggans down Broadway.
“Embrace the cold,” said Supovitz, who suggested that the almanacs predicting snowstorms were publicity hounds. “I hope it snows on game day a little bit so it’s captured on TV against the stadium lights.”
Just in case, the N.F.L. will give all fans at the game “Warm Welcome” kits that include lip balm, foil blankets, hand warmers and earmuffs stuffed into a seat cushion. It is unclear whether Bruno Mars, the halftime act who hails from Hawaii, will perform with gloves and earmuffs. Perhaps he was picked in the hope he would bring warm weather with him.
Despite the hand-wringing about this Super Bowl — which coincidentally will be played on Feb. 2, Groundhog Day — the weather in other cities has been anything but predictable. The Super Bowl in Atlanta in 2000 was played indoors, but ice storms created havoc for travelers and revelers. In Texas in 2011, snow slid off the roof of the stadium and hit a few people. Fans at the Super Bowl in South Florida in 2007 dealt with strong wind and heavy rain.
Fretting about the Super Bowl aside, fans endure plenty of cold and wet weather during the playoffs, especially in places like Chicago, Denver and Seattle. In fact, some of the most memorable playoff games were played in bad weather, including the so-called Ice Bowl between the host Green Bay Packers and the Dallas Cowboys in 1967 and the Snow Bowl in 2002 between the Oakland Raiders and the host New England Patriots.
Other than the obvious inconvenience for fans, inclement weather only marginally affects the game. In a study commissioned by MetLife, Stats L.L.C. determined that since 1991 there was only a 5-percentage point difference in quarterback ratings between games played in temperatures above 70 degrees and those below 40 degrees. The gaps in points scored and turnovers a game were also fairly narrow. Only field-goal percentages for attempts of 40 yards or longer were noticeably different.
“It’s liable to be below freezing and the colder you get, the more difference there’s likely to be for numbers like this,” said Don Zminda, the vice president for research at Stats, referring to game statistics.
Some meteorologists, like Irv Gikofsky, who is known as Mr. G to television viewers in the New York area, said that not enough attention was being paid to the days before and after the Super Bowl, when tens of thousands of people will be traveling to and from the metropolitan area.
Though reluctant to provide a specific forecast for game day, Gikofsky said the normal low temperatures for the first four days of February were about 25 degrees, cold enough for snow.
“It could be a four-day drama,” he said. “Believe it or not, this story could be bigger than the game itself.”
Some Southland Time Warner customers lose Super Bowl telecast
Football fans across a large swath of Southern California were deprived of live coverage of the Super Bowl on Sunday evening when Time Warner Cable’s feed appeared to cut out in the second quarter for about an hour.
The outage, which began shortly before 5 p.m., appeared to affect customers in and around Los Angeles County, from Hacienda Heights and Hancock Park to Santa Monica, and in some parts of Ventura County.
In South L.A., Merv Evans said after his screen went black, he called his aunt, who was also watching in the area and became convinced it was a conspiracy to deprive the neighborhood of the Super Bowl.
“It’s an important game. Very important game,” said Evans, 60.
Frustrated viewers called newspaper tip lines and turned to the Web, complaining on Twitter. “I’d rather have cable in North Korea than Time Warner Cable,” user Paige Graham wrote. Many offered tips for viewing, suggesting that people switch to the Spanish-language channel or the high-definition one.
Some were upset about missing more than just the game: “Time warner cable went out and made me miss David Beckham’s commercial. I will never get over this,” user Kristin Schuppert tweeted.
Time Warner representatives said through their Southern California Twitter account that they were investigating an issue with the feed. “We’re working to resolve,” they wrote.
In an email, spokesman Dennis Johnson said the high-definition signal was available, and officials were working to restore the regular signal “as quickly as possible.” Customers reported signals had returned about 6 p.m.
“We were watching it, enjoying it and then it went out,” said Cindy Kimura, who was watching with family in Orange. “Unhappy. That’s an understatement,” she said.
The best Super Bowl halftime shows of all time
Super Bowl halftime shows used to be just a good excuse for an extended bathroom break. For years, fans endured the unctuous Up With People vocal group or a rash of clunky marching bands. But since the early '90s, hot pop stars and classic rockers have put their stamp on the longest midgame break in sports. Here are the best performances - including Janet Jackson's wardrobe malfunction, which stands as either the best or worst, depending on your perspective:
1) Prince (2007): The funkiest, fastest and all-around best halftime show of all time came from the Minneapolis icon at Super Bowl XLI.
A Super Bowl at Lambeau? No way, says Cardinals president
Phoenix — Could Lambeau Field be a Super Bowl venue?
Forget about it, said Michael Bidwell, president of the Arizona Cardinals and host of the 2015 Super Bowl.
The Green Bay area is simply too small and doesn't have adequate facilities needed for such a massive event that continues to grow, Bidwell said Friday when asked about the prospect of a future game coming to Lambeau.
"There's got to be a certain amount of infrastructure in place," Bidwell said.
The NFL staged its first Super Bowl in a cold-weather outdoor stadium in February at MetLife Stadium in New Jersey.
Bidwell said factors beyond the weather work against a game on the frozen tundra at Lambeau. There aren't enough hotel rooms in the Green Bay area, and the transportation infrastructure isn't in place for that kind of event, he said.
Bidwell noted that when the game was played in Indianapolis several years ago, some people had to stay as far away as Chicago.
"It was a challenge for them," he said.
He said organizers of the 2015 Super Bowl expect to draw some 150,000 people to the game and related events. Some 6,000 members of the media from 60 countries are expected.
Bidwell also noted that "tens of thousands of people" arrive weeks before the game to set up the event.
Ten square blocks of downtown Phoenix will be roped off as Super Bowl Central for national television broadcasts and a variety of events leading up to the game. That's all part of the Super Bowl becoming far more than just a game for the host community.
A vote of NFL team owners determines the Super Bowl venue.
The 2008 Super Bowl had a $500 million economic impact to the Phoenix area, and next year's will be even larger, Bidwell predicted.
"In five years, it will be even bigger," he said.
Bidwell made his comments at the annual conference of the Society of American Business Editors and Writers held at Arizona State University.
About James B. Nelson
James B. Nelson is a reporter for PolitiFact Wisconsin and a deputy business editor.
Eli Manning, NY Giants snap slump with romp over Green Bay Packers at MetLife Stadium
All it took for the Giants to make a statement was a statement from a 15-year-old kid battling cancer.
On Friday, two days before the reeling Super Bowl champs faced the Green Bay Packers, the Giants received a visit from Adam Merchant, a Vermont youngster who is fighting non-Hodgkins Burkitt's lymphoma. Merchant's message to the Giants: "Play like champions."
And that's exactly what the Giants did on Sunday night at MetLife Stadium, busting out of a month-long slump to dismantle the red-hot Packers, 38-10, before a prime-time audience in their most complete performance of the season.
"We've had good quarters, halves, what not," linebacker Mathias Kiwanuka said. "But I think this was our most complete game."
It was a razor-sharp performance that served notice to the NFL that the Giants (7-4) may finally be putting it all together, just as they did late last season. The Packers arrived in MetLife on Sunday night riding a five-game winning streak and a red-hot quarterback in Aaron Rodgers. The Giants? Coming out their bye week, there were questions about Eli Manning's "tired arm," the invisible pass rush and a slumping offense.
By the end of the night, all those questions were gone, Manning stood alone in the Giants history books, and Big Blue had beaten the fearsome Pack (7-4) for the second time in less than a year.
A matchup of the last two Super Bowl champions – and the Pack's chance to avenge January's NFC divisional playoff loss – had turned into Big Blue's show.
"It was a huge win coming off the bye facing a team like Green Bay," wideout Victor Cruz said. "You could easily come in and falter and be lackadaisical, but we came out firing and we understood this was a game we needed to win and you could see it in the way we played."
You saw the pass rush awaken, sacking Rodgers five times and forcing him into two turnovers (one interception and one fumble).
You saw Ahmad Bradshaw shake off the foot and neck injuries that had slowed him for nearly a month, spearheading a running game that gashed the Packers for 147 yards and two scores.
And you saw Manning become the franchise's all-time leader in TD passes with 200, passing Phil Simms when Hakeem Nicks took a short toss and turned it into a 12-yard score midway through the third quarter.
Manning's pass to Nicks was his third TD throw of the night, and it ended a career-worst three-game stretch without one. But by then, the game had been long decided the Giants had sealed the game by halftime.
"We came out from the very first drive and put points on the board," Cruz said, "and we never looked back from there."
Bradshaw got things started on the first possession, taking a screen pass 59 yards to set up a 2-yard Andre Brown TD run.
Green Bay would briefly answer, tying it on Jordy Nelson's 61-yard touchdown catch, but the Pack had no answers after that.
After a missed 55-yard Mason Crosby field goal on Green Bay's next possession, Manning officially roused himself from his three-game nap, capping an eight-play 55-yard drive with a 14-yard TD pass to Rueben Randle. A quarter later, he hooked with Cruz on a 9-yard strike over the middle, tying Simms' record and giving the Giants a 24-7 lead.
The win put the Giants firmly in control of the NFC East, with a two-game edge over next Monday's opponent, the Redskins (5-6), and the Cowboys. And perhaps more importantly, defensive end Justin Tuck said, it reminded the Giants of just how dangerous they can be.
As Manning said, the Giants had plenty of reasons for the two-game losing streak that preceded Sunday night's demolition.
Hurricane Sandy had terrorized the entire area, and it hit the Giants too.
"There was a lot on people's minds," he said. "A lot going on besides football."
But the Giants are once again focused on football. And now they must carry this through the rest of the season.
"I feel very confident in where this team is at," Justin Tuck said. "Yeah, we slipped a little bit, but I think we're refocused now, and I think that showed tonight.
"And hopefully we're done with the roller-coasters. And we just continue to excel."
Seattle Seahawks Super Bowl MVP Malcolm Smith Stars in Latest Edition of Famous Disney Parks Commercial
As confetti cascaded tonight at MetLife Stadium following Super Bowl XLVIII in East Rutherford, N.J., Seattle Seahawks linebacker Malcolm Smith looked into television cameras and shouted two of the most famous celebratory lines in ad history: “I’m Going to Disney World!” and “I’m Going to Disneyland!”
Smith, voted the Most Valuable Player of Super Bowl XLVIII, joins a who’s who of athletes and celebrities who have shouted those same words as “When You Wish Upon A Star” played in the background. (Depending on the region the commercial airs, the player either says “I’m Going to Disney World!” or “I’m Going to Disneyland!”). He is the NFL’s first defensive player to star in the commercial.
And Malcolm Smith’s next stop? Magic Kingdom Park, to make good on his post-game proclamation. Current plans (subject to change) call for a celebratory parade through the park on Monday afternoon (parade time TBD, pending final travel details from New York/New Jersey).
Also, there is another special twist to the iconic commercial this year. In a “Frozen first,” Idina Menzel, who voiced Elsa in Disney’s Academy Award®-nominated film “Frozen” and on the hit soundtrack, sings the classic song, “When You Wish Upon a Star,” to accompany the iconic ad.
Take a look for this year’s advertisement in programming across multiple networks, including ABC’s “Good Morning America” and on ESPN’s “SportsCenter.”
Sorting through some 2026 World Cup questions
Soccer’s international governing body, FIFA, voted last week to play the 2026 World Cup in the United States, Mexico and Canada. And while the announcement raised much excitement in North American soccer circles, it left open questions that won’t be fully answered for years. Here are some of them that affect Atlanta:
WHICH CITIES WILL HOST MATCHES?
Sixteen North American cities – at least 10 in the U.S. – will be chosen by FIFA in 2020 or 2021 to host matches. Those 16 choices will come from 23 “candidate cities.” FIFA will have negotiating leverage in whittling the number.
The U.S. host cities will be chosen from among these candidates: Atlanta (Mercedes-Benz Stadium), Baltimore (M&T Bank Stadium), Boston (Gillette Stadium in Foxborough, Mass.), Cincinnati (Paul Brown Stadium), Dallas (AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas), Denver (Broncos Stadium at Mile High), Houston (NRG Stadium), Kansas City (Arrowhead Stadium), Los Angeles (Rose Bowl Stadium in Pasadena, Calif., or the new NFL stadium under construction), Miami (Hard Rock Stadium), Nashville (Nissan Stadium), New York (MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, N.J.), Orlando (Camping World Stadium), Philadelphia (Lincoln Financial Field), San Francisco (Levi’s Stadium in Santa Clara, Calif.), Seattle (CenturyLink Field) and Washington (FedEx Field in Landover, Md.)
In addition, current plans call for matches to be played in up to three cities in Canada (Edmonton, Montreal and Toronto) and up to three in Mexico (Guadalajara, Mexico City and Monterrey).
"We are blessed with 23 really world-class stadiums -- some iconic, some brand-new cutting-edge and everything in between," U.S. Soccer president Carlos Cordeiro said. "I think it will be a very difficult decision to make … when we have to determine the final 16 cities. But it’s a high-class problem.”
Under current plans, 60 matches will be played in the U.S., 10 in Canada and 10 in Mexico.
WHAT ARE ATLANTA’S CHANCES?
All indications are that Atlanta enters the next round of the process in a very good position to host matches.
The successful North American bid proposed Mercedes-Benz Stadium and AT&T Stadium as the sites of the two semifinal matches, and those stadiums also could host matches earlier in the tournament. But while the semifinal recommendation legitimately boosts Atlanta’s chances of securing a prime role in the 2026 World Cup, it is not a guarantee.
A bid evaluation report by FIFA, which holds the ultimate decision on sites, also cites Boston and Washington as possibilities for a semifinal.
The North American bid names MetLife Stadium as a proposed site for the final, while the FIFA report also identifies Los Angeles and Dallas/Arlington as options. If MetLife doesn’t get the final, it would be a strong contender for a semifinal same goes for Dallas and L.A.
ANY ISSUES WITH ATLANTA BID?
The FIFA evaluation report mentions one potential obstacle for Atlanta, noting that a large annual event at AmericasMart Atlanta “is expected to fill many of the city’s hotel rooms” during some of the possible World Cup dates in 2026.
But it’s too early to know if the weeklong Atlanta International Gift and Home Furnishings Market in July 2026 will pose a conflict because the exact World Cup dates haven’t been set by FIFA yet. If the 2026 World Cup dates parallel this year’s in Russia, the semifinals would be completed slightly before the AmericasMart event.
“There are a lot of moving parts still going on,” said Mark Vaughan, executive vice president and chief sales officer of the Atlanta Convention & Visitors Bureau. “We have discussed the FIFA bid with the mart, and they have been very supportive. I think it’s a wait-and-see thing right now.”
Vaughan also noted that a significant number of new hotel rooms will be added to the city’s inventory over the next eight years.
Dan Corso, president of the Atlanta Sports Council and chairman of Atlanta’s World Cup committee, said that if the dates do overlap that might require a “workaround” but wouldn’t preclude Atlanta from getting World Cup matches.
The North American bid also proposed Atlanta as a possible site of the World Cup’s international broadcast center, which the FIFA report said “could place additional pressure on the city’s room inventory.”
Mercedes-Benz Stadium’s artificial turf would have to be temporarily replaced with natural grass to host World Cup matches, but that isn’t seen as an issue. Almost half of the candidate stadiums – 11 of 23 – currently have artificial turf. All have committed to install real grass for the World Cup, according to FIFA.
WHAT IS THE COST OF HOSTING?
It helps that no new stadiums will have to be built in North America for the event, but the costs of security, transportation and other requirements will be considerable in any host city.
“We’ve been told during the bid process it is on the level of (hosting) a Super Bowl,” Corso said last week. “We have not gotten into too much detail on that yet, but we will during this next phase of the process.”
If Atlanta hosts games, costs would be funded in part from a portion of the city’s hotel-motel tax that is designated for use in attracting major events, Corso said. The same tax will help fund Atlanta’s 2019 Super Bowl and 2020 Final Four.