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Jacksonville Super Bowl editorials

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Get ready to grow some thick skin guys, its about time for the visiting media to talk about the city. So I figure this can be the thread to post the editorials "before" and "after" the game.

***Take these articles for what they're worth...opinions. So don't get to upset over the critical editorials.

HYDE: Top 10 super hype entries

Dave Hyde

January 24, 2005

I don't come today to belittle anyone, especially the village of Jacksonville and it's wind-chilled yokels, nor the dateline-challenged Super Bowl XXXIX -- all of whom take center stage now to demonstrate how the much-derided No Fun League can spring a practical joke on America.

No, I'm here to warn what you'll be reading, watching, listening to, regurgitating, nauseated by and ultimately bored to tears about during these two most overdone and over-hyped sports media weeks since those preceding last year's Super Bowl.

Because the story lines are booked solid now, just as New England and Philadelphia are for the Feb. 6 kickoff in Jacksonville.

But, come on, Jacksonville?

Was Hooterville booked?

Again, that's no putdown. It's an example of what's coming these next two weeks. Jacksonville jokes. Yahoo-ville puns. And the thing is, everyone knows Jacksonville is a nice town -- just ask anyone on shore leave.

See how easy it is? How constant it will be?

In fact, strictly as a public service, here are the top 10 stories of Super Bowl XXXIX that will come to you over and over and over and over and -- how many days is that? -- over and over and over and ...

*New England coach Bill Belichick, defensive chessmaster, vs. Philadelphia coach Andy Reid, offensive mastermind. Who wins, the chessmaster or mastermind? And is it splitting football gray matter to analyze the difference between the nouns? More importantly, will either of these sleep-talking, cliche-riffing, microphone-distrusting coaches talk for two solid weeks and say one thing -- just one! -- that's mildly stirring?

*JanetJacksonville. Get it? Well, get used to that dateline. Often. As well as the whole rehashed wardrobe malfunction from last year's halftime show. No doubt this year's halftime performer, Paul McCartney, will be asked again and again about it, and you can only hope at some point he cuts off a question by breaking into the chorus of Let It Be.

*A Dynasty to Die For. The big-picture theme of this game will be how the Patriots can win their third Super Bowl in four years. That means they'll be written right up there with the Ming, Roman, Tudor and Blake Carrington dynasties -- at least if they win. If they lose, just move along, sons, and make way for the champs.

*Donovan McNabb. He's the third black quarterback in the Super Bowl. And the big story will be how no one's making a big deal that he's the second black quarterback in the Super Bowl. For that matter, McNabb and Atlanta's Michael Vick were the first two black QBs to start a championship game. Look how we've grown! How the NFL has matured! Just don't look for any explanation on why the black coach hasn't made many inroads.

*Dan the Hall of Fame Man. OK, this one's strictly local. But, finally, the Dolphins fan gets something to cheer about! And, finally, Dan Marino gets back to the Super Bowl, if just for being voted into the Hall of Fame. The odds of this not happening are equal to Paul McCartney having a wardrobe malfunction.

*Terrell Owens and Corey Dillon. Watch your fun-loving media swab thick brush strokes of revisionism on these two problem-personalities-turned-good-guys. So their old teammates couldn't say good-bye fast enough in San Francisco and Cincinnati, respectively? So Owens questioned the sexuality of a teammate and dirty-danced at midfield in Texas? So Dillons said, "It's all about me" and threw his driver's license at a convenience-store clerk after asking, "Don't you know who I am?" Hey, they're on winning teams, in new cities, and have produced, so they surely must be hail-fellows-well-met.

*The Big Perspective Piece. Here, a few enterprising reporters venture out into parts of hurricane-damaged northern Florida and ask them what they think of the Super Bowl. This is to show the pathos of natural tragedy amid the glut of man-made festivity. Of course, most of these people will roll their eyes at the comparison and say ...

*Patriots 27, Eagles 17. They're the best team with the best coach with the best story line in sports. No too-big stars. No overblown egos. Nothing but an organization that carries itself with class, a front office that consistently makes the right decisions and a team that goes out and wins in a manner every sports fan should cherish or envy.

*Defense wins championships. Such an old, tired, currently untrue but soon-to-be repeated cliche. You'll hear how the Eagles rank tied for second in the NFL points allowed. You'll hear how the Patriots are here because they shut down Indianapolis quarterback Peyton Manning and Pittsburgh rookie Ben Roethlisberger. Never mind Philadelphia scored 27 points and the Patriots did 41 on Sunday. Never mind the Patriots won last year's Super Bowl, 32-29. Never mind the truth is you have to be able to win any way the big game bends -- with offense, with defense or with special teams.

*Jacksonville. As if the yee-haw factor won't be enough for the media to write and talk home about, it was 43 degrees at 6:18 p.m. on Sunday, which is the time of the Feb. 6 kickoff. Again, I figure holding this game here is the NFL's version of a practical joke.

But let me offer an upbeat slogan for the Jacksonville Chamber of Commerce:

"It Could Be Worse -- Detroit Hosts The Next Super Bowl!"

Dave Hyde can be reached at [email protected]

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Ouch, that smarts. I'm trying to take this with a grain of salt, but it's hard, lol.

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Of course, at least when the visitors haul into Jax, all the yokels in the service industry will be able to speak English. That's a whole lot more than the south florida sun-sentinal can claim.

But jokes aside, I'm not even remotely concerned with what sportswriters say about Jax beforehand. All that's going to be based on existing stereotypes from people who haven't been here in decades, if ever.

What I'm justifiably frightened about, is that people might be making the same jokes after they leave ...

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last i checked we are southern and who cares if some no name reporter makes fun of that. im proud of it, hopefully we'll prove that to the world come feb 6.

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well, i'm not really concerned about the southerner bashing. that WILL happen. but, like you said, i'm a southerner and quite proud of it.

i would be more bothered by complaints of jax being too "small town" or uninteresting. (which are, of course, the most common complaints by visitors).

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Let me at him! I want a piece of him. But in all seriousness, Jacksonville will be fine. My dad addressed this concern and told me that all you really need to pull off the Super Bowl are rooms for people to stay in and land for the SB committee to do their thing. Also, Jacksonville is in a boom right now and if things continue to go on the upswingand we pull it off, Jacksonville can be in the running for another Super Bowl sometime soon. It's just a gut feeling.

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Why Jacksonville?

Hot Flash

By David Damiani

The American Enterprise Online

In recent years the NFL has more ambitiously pursued making its season-opening Thursday night game into a major national event, setting a matchup between two glamour teams and concerts both in the city where the game is played and in the year's Super Bowl host city. Fans were treated to a barnburner of a Patriots-Colts game and an Elton John concert in Foxboro, Massachusetts.

At the other end of the eastern seaboard, Jessica Simpson performed in the Super Bowl city of Jacksonville. Her show coincided with both the kickoff of promotions for the Super Bowl and with increased mumbling from the media and certain NFL officials as to why that site should be hosting the game in the first place.

Fairness and full disclosure compel me to admit my fondness for Jacksonville. I admire its natural scenery, its warm and unpretentious people, and most of all its pugnacious creativity in the face of crisis. Jacksonville has weathered a yellow fever epidemic, the largest urban fire in southern history, a corrupt political machine that led to its schools' being disaccredited, and a negative reputation among I-95 travelers for the pungent paper mills that once operated in the area. (As one St. Petersburg columnist put it, the last city to have so many indignities inflicted on it was Pompeii.) Each time the city emerged on stronger footing in an unexpected fashion. Equally unexpected were its winning an NFL expansion team and then Super Bowl host city status.

Fairness also compels the admission that Jacksonville is an unlikely host. Its downtown area--though resplendent on the banks of the wide St. Johns River in the broad strokes of blue and orange that color the skies, buildings, and bridges--is still a work in progress. For the game the city will resort to building a temporary entertainment district and docking cruise ships downtown for additional luxury guest rooms. It is not the standard tourist playground that usually hosts the Super Bowl. As the often witty local paper, the Florida Times-Union, joked in reference to a major downtown thoroughfare, New Orleans is the home of Bourbon Street, while Jacksonville is the home of Water Street.

And if the media is asking "Why Jacksonville?" now, one can only imagine the endless jibes that will arise in January. Other than New Orleans, Miami, and San Diego, few Super Bowl cities get a free pass from the press, whose petulant whines about amenities make for an easy column (with all the appeal of rancid mayonnaise). Even Tampa, with some world-class attractions, scenic bayfront, bizarre festivals, and distinctive Ybor City entertainment district, was caricatured as a redneck strip-club town. Last year's host, Houston, drew ire even from writers who rarely resort to such shopworn gimmickry.

There's no lack of precedent for the shots at Jacksonville either--it was pilloried when it competed for an expansion team in 1993. A St. Louis writer wondered "Do they have cable TV in Jacksonville yet?" A Baltimore writer, after making ridiculous Old South stereotypes of Charlotte, remarked that Jacksonville is a city where people dream of having enough money to someday visit Charlotte. The Washington Post was positively obsessed with the scandal of the NFL in Jacksonville, recycling the slew of 1993 insults the first time the Redskins played the Jaguars several years later. Typical of the snobbery, Tony Kornheiser called the city a "backwater hellhole" where the most frequently heard words are "Welcome to Waffle House. Smoking or non-smoking?" (Michael Wilbon thought it fixated more on Shoney's.)

More so than Houston, Tampa, or the similarly lambasted Minneapolis, the media's reactions to a Jacksonville Super Bowl will illustrate well the divide between the fabled blue and red areas of America. (Jacksonville falls solidly in the red camp.) Through its media mouthpieces, the blue-staters will lament their boredom and manufacture stories of their horrors at having to encounter blue-collar institutions. Those who are willing to open their minds and move beyond lazy analysis might enjoy the general felicitousness, hospitality, and openness of the atmosphere as they stroll a Riverwalk lit by the neon splendor of Friendship Fountain. They might, like Jaxophilic artist Louise Freshman Brown, notice that the area is one where "the sky seems larger and the colors more intense." They might decide that the sense of community and traditional values that pervade make it a fine tableau for the NFL's focus on work ethic and a family-friendly image. Perhaps even that the relaxed pace of life is a nice change from the typical showy, carnival atmosphere of a Super Bowl city.

Jacksonville might surprise some people. It wouldn't be the first time.

Sports aficionado David Damiani works as a tax accountant for Witt Mares in Newport News, Virginia.

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What's that Super smell? Jacksonville

NFL is crazy to put title game in this stinking city

COMMENTARY

By Tony Kornheiser

Columnist

The Washington Post

Updated: 2:05 p.m. ET Jan. 26, 2005

Right after Chad Lewis caught that touchdown pass with about four minutes to go, the touchdown that cemented the victory and ensured the Philadelphia Eagles would be in the Super Bowl, some guy in the stands joyfully held up a sign that said, "We're Going To Jacksonville."

And I thought: What on earth is second prize? You have to build there?

How did Jacksonville get the Super Bowl? What, Tuscaloosa was booked?

If going to Jacksonville for a week is the reward New England and Philadelphia get for being the best teams in the NFL this year, Peyton Manning ought to be happy he didn't get there. Imagine how Manning would have felt, having to play all year in Indianapolis, and then landing in Jacksonville? Which gods would he have offended to get that killer quinella?

The NFL must see itself as handing out some sort of charity when it awards the Super Bowl to any place other than New Orleans, Miami and Southern California. Because, believe me, nobody wants the game to be anywhere but there. So when the NFL insists on putting it in outposts like Detroit, Houston or Minneapolis, people ask, "Are you guys nuts?" But when you pick Jacksonville, people are agape and say, "Who in Jacksonville has a photo of Tagliabue with a goat?"

At least these other places are big cities, with some history and a longtime affiliation with the NFL, as opposed to Jacksonville, which has now been in the league for about 15 minutes. Detroit is where American cars are made, and where Motown music originated. Minneapolis-St. Paul is the home of 3M and General Mills. Houston is the home of NASA, and, thanks to Enron, the gold standard in white-collar corporate crime. Jacksonville is what? (I'm just taking a shot here, Tony, a dump? No. Cut that out. It's a 'Ville! The only good 'Ville is a Coupe de Ville.)

Have you ever been to Tampa? It's heaven, if you like Waffle Houses.

Jacksonville makes Tampa look like Paris!

Jacksonville has this one great thing, the TPC course with the island green on No. 17. (Which is actually in Ponte Vedra.) And the rest of it can be described with this phrase, "Welcome to Hooters."

People in Jacksonville will be very upset with this piece. They will say it's a cheap shot by an effete Northerner who didn't want to be the 28th person on his own paper to write about how great and smart and handsome Tom Brady is. (Which is true, but come on, we kid because we love.) They will yell and scream that their city is hardly a backwater

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Jacksonville gets flair, millions of dollars by hosting Super Bowl

MIKE SCHNEIDER, Associated Press Writer

(01-26) 12:17 PST JACKSONVILLE, Fla. (AP) --

When it comes to economic pizazz, Jacksonville long has been overshadowed by flashier Florida spots -- the international trade hub of Miami, the theme park juggernaut of Orlando, the popular beaches and cruise ships of Tampa Bay.

Reliant on no-nonsense industries such as the military, insurance, banking and transportation, Jacksonville's economy promises to get a boost of flair -- not to mention a direct economic impact of more than $175 million -- by hosting the Super Bowl on Feb. 6.

Better yet, the Super Bowl gives locals the opportunity to sell thousands of visiting executives on the idea that Jacksonville is a grand place to do business.

"This event really is probably the largest single event ever to come to Jacksonville," said Robert Peek, a spokesman for the city's Port Authority. "We're using the whole week to market the port to potential customers."

More than a dozen cruise line and shipping executives have been invited to the Super Bowl in hopes of showing them what the city offers. In addition, port officials hope the thousands of visitors staying on cruise ships in the port will like what they see and perhaps think about moving their businesses here.

"These are people -- none of whom would normally come to the city," Peek said.

Unlike recent Super Bowl host cities, such as Houston, Atlanta and Miami, Jacksonville never has hosted a major national event such as a political party convention, an international trade conference or a sporting event of this magnitude.

The biggest event the city hosts is the annual Florida-Georgia football game, which bills itself as "the world's largest outdoor cocktail party" and can attract 80,000 people. The Super Bowl is expected to draw 100,000 fans.

"We know how to do a special event," said Jacksonville Undersheriff Frank Mackesy. "It's just that the scope of this event is so much larger and different than we've ever done before. It is unbelievable."

In the past five years, Super Bowls have brought an average of $181 million in direct spending and a total economic impact of $338 million to their host cities. That type of munificence is huge for Jacksonville because, with 1.2 million residents in the metro area, it's the smallest city ever to host a Super Bowl.

The big game likely will leave its economic mark in other ways on this river town that is home to only three Fortune 500 companies -- Winn Dixie, Fidelity National and CSX -- and where the military is the largest employer.

Long-neglected brick buildings along downtown's Bay Street have been spruced up and will be converted into nightclubs and party space during the Super Bowl, the first step toward creating a downtown entertainment district after the fans go home.

"The Super Bowl played a role because we didn't have a concentrated entertainment area," said Jean Moyer, a spokeswoman for the Jacksonville Economic Development Commission. "The Super Bowl is a catalyst."

The city's almost 30,000 hotel rooms were nowhere near what was needed for the influx of Super Bowl visitors, so some are staying in hotel rooms as far north as southeast Georgia and as far south as Orlando. The host committee also compensated by inviting five luxury cruise ships to dock along the St. Johns River, setting a precedent that could allow Jacksonville to host other big events.

Even small businesses are getting a piece of the action.

Tracey Phillips, who owns a 3-year-old personalized gift company in Jacksonville, spent $10,000 and filled out a 38-page application for the NFL to produce commemorative china plates that show the Super Bowl logo over a nautical map of the St. Johns River. She hopes to sell 1,000 plates at almost $50 each at upscale restaurants, shops and at dozens of corporate parties.

At Jacksonville Landing, a two-story retail and restaurant center in the heart of downtown, developers hope Super Bowl success will fuel future growth. They've invited executives from giant retailers and restaurant companies to the Super Bowl in hopes of snaring tenants for a planned multimillion-dollar expansion.

The Hooters restaurant at the Landing plans to increase its waitress staff from 50 to 65 and expects to make as much as $300,000 during Super Bowl week, a threefold increase over normal.

"This is an opportunity of a lifetime," said general manager Cindy Railey. "Whether they make a lot of money or not, they still have bragging rights to say 'Hey, we did the Super Bowl!"'

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Jacksonville seizes chance to revamp image

By ANDREW LYONS

Staff Writer

Last update: January 26, 2005

JACKSONVILLE -- This city will never mirror South Florida's oozing opulence or match Orlando's niche for tourism and manufactured adventure.

Its river is far too murky to draw paradise seekers from Florida's West Coast; the birth of stock car racing has already been claimed.

One of Jacksonville's greatest claims to historic fame was the fire of 1901 that leveled 140 blocks and left thousands homeless.

But like a phoenix rising from the proverbial ashes, Jacksonville has grabbed the ball and is preparing to drive downfield in the ever-so-critical economic game for national recognition. The spotlight is flipped on Feb. 6 when Jacksonville hosts what will become one of the world's most-watched sporting matches -- Super Bowl XXXIX. A billion people are expected to tune in worldwide.

Now is the city's chance to overcome some nasty stereotypes.

"The Super Bowl is, by no means, the be-all,-end-all," Jacksonville Super Bowl Host Committee President Michael Kelly said. "But it's certainly a huge step in getting more credibility."

The theories go like this: Super Bowls draw tourists and influential executives from powerful companies. The local economy gets a boost to the tune of $300 million and the rest of America finally learns the difference between Florida's Jacksonville and the ones in New York, Arkansas, Missouri and Alabama.

SHEDDING A BAD IMAGE

Longtimers say Jacksonville has yearned for a big break -- a chance to proclaim its existence and relevance.

Jacksonville already stands as Florida's most-populated city, with more than 800,000 residents. At 840 square miles, it's the largest geographical city in the continental United States. But for decades, the city that brought us Lynyrd Skynyrd had been stigmatized by obnoxious odors protruding from a now-closed paper mill. Out-of-towners barreling down Interstate 95 recall the city for its once inconvenient drawbridge.

Getting a professional football team a decade ago helped with name recognition. Taxpayers agreeing in 2000 to pump $2.2 million in lipstick-type infrastructure improvements -- new bridges, roads, bike paths and municipal buildings -- also helped soften the city's rough edges.

These days, roads are paved and buildings are being pressure-washed while the Super Bowl logo is as prominent around town as the neon-lit bridges. Banners with the Super Bowl emblem hang from streetlights, across Alltel Stadium and on insurance and attorney offices. Temporary tents are being erected to house an interactive theme park, along with multiple outdoor stages and food venues.

Inside the English pub, at the bank and around the office water cooler, the big game is big news.

"We're planning for the game larger than any host city has," Mayor John Peyton told The News-Tribune. "Jacksonville, collectively, is working to make sure this is successful."

But don't count on Sam Hamidi for a lot of support.

Sure, like most downtown businesses, the Super Bowl logo is sprinkled throughout his Italian restaurant. A banner hangs from the front window; a Super Bowl clock is nailed to the wall in the corner under the Bud Light sign.

Still, Hamidi is reluctant to jump on the Bowl bandwagon or its cousin -- the economic gravy train.

A downtown business pioneer, Hamidi was one of the first restaurant owners to stay open at night, intrigued by the city's hopes that people would flock to newly converted loft apartments. That has happened in recent years. Yet downtown, he said, is still not conducive to urban living. Barbershops, grocery stores and ice-cream parlors are absent. Meanwhile, he said, millions of dollars are dropped into the riverfront, that other part of town, all for one game.

"There's no excitement here at night," Hamidi said one recent weekday after the busy lunch rush. "I really think that after the Super Bowl, everything goes back to normal. This is a blue-collar town. People don't have $30-an-hour jobs. This is middle-class, working-class, that's it.

"I don't think the city is ready for the Super Bowl -- bottom line."

Three blocks away, Tim Rose embodies the very image Jacksonville is striving for. He's smooth, hip and confident. Image, in fact, is Rose's business. He helps wealthy and oftentimes prominent black men dress and care for high-dollar clothing and accessories, right down to the $1,600 leather briefcase. His clients include a Jacksonville Baptist minister, a Volusia County circuit judge and South Florida businessmen.

"I think Jacksonville has always been known for golfing, fishing, the Florida-Georgia (football) game," Rose said. "But we've never had an event that gave the city some consistency. It sure gives us national recognition -- a city to be reckoned with."

MAKING IT WORK

Looking back, getting to host the Super Bowl was always considered a long shot. Host committee spokeswoman Heather Surface recalled the day in November 2001 when NFL owners met in Atlanta to announce which city would get the 2005 game.

Miami officials were also gunning for the game, and Surface remembers NFL Commissioner Paul Tagliabue walking into the room and whispering into quarterback-great Dan Marino's ear. Marino, who was representing Miami, shook his head, and immediately Surface began collecting her packets of information to head for the door. Then the announcement came: Jacksonville had won.

Everyone was shocked.

Problem was, the city was shy 3,000 rooms needed to host the game. Jacksonville leaders had pitched the idea of cruise ships along the St. Johns River. The tricky part was making that fantasy a reality.

In 2003, the host committee signed contracts with three cruise lines to secure five ships for the game to serve as floating hotels. Most will be docked within two miles of the stadium and will arrive the Thursday before the game and leave the Monday after.

Clever planning was needed to pull off the game in the market that is the NFL's second-smallest, behind Green Bay, Wis. But after all, Jacksonville is used to being the underdog.

It has survived the yellow fever epidemics of 1857 and 1888, one of the largest urban fires in Southern history and a series of corrupt politicians that led to the Duval County school system being stripped of its accreditation in the 1960s.

REVITALIZATION

Aware of the city's checkered past, Jacksonville leaders have recently spent millions to tidy things up. Bridges have been lit and old buildings torn down. Nearly $100,000 alone was spent on hiring a public relations firm to develop a new marketing campaign.

The city recently shed the city's older, dowdy slogans: the "River City," and "The Bold New City of the South." The new catch phrase: "Jacksonville. Where Florida Begins."

"It's more than a slogan," Surface said. "It's a feel, a look. I guess what we're trying to do is create a sense of place."

At the same time, the city, and its developers, have made strides to shed the sense that the city is unsafe.

For years, Jacksonville has carried a high crime rate. But developers, and new residents, believe times are changing -- just in time for the big game.

Once infamous for drug deals and other crime, Jacksonville's oldest subdivision, the Springfield neighborhood, has seen booming growth and revitalization.

Developers like Mack Bissette have left larger cities and swooped in to purchase run-down properties and build new row-style homes, complete with high ceilings and front porches. Artists have opened galleries, along with new restaurants and pubs. Property values, Bissette said, have skyrocketed in the past year while crime is being driven out.

"Jacksonville has a lot to tell the world," said Bissette, chief executive officer of S.R.G. Homes and Neighborhoods. "It's got government that wants to reinvest in the area instead of letting it go.

Bissette likens Jacksonville to Atlanta, only with cheaper property, less traffic and a closer beach.

Atlanta had its chance to host Super Bowls in 1994 and 2000. Jacksonville leaders, meanwhile, hope their first shot goes so well, another chance to host the game is on the horizon.

"Weather is our biggest risk," Mayor Peyton said. "If the weather is good, Jacksonville will be the most beautiful city to ever host a Super Bowl.

"But we need good weather."

[email protected]

The Daytona Beach News

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A river runs through it: Jacksonville and the Super Bowl

MARK LONG, AP Sports Writer

Monday, January 24, 2005

(01-24) 12:43 PST JACKSONVILLE, Fla. (AP) --

New Orleans has Bourbon Street, Miami has South Beach and Jacksonville has the St. Johns River.

The river may not have the cachet of the others, but it is nevertheless the city's centerpiece and will be featured prominently during Super Bowl week.

"The river is just a perfect backdrop for the Super Bowl in Jacksonville," said Karen Chastain, a city attorney serving as the mayor's liaison to the Feb. 6 championship game. "It's an important item that we want to highlight and showcase."

Organizers hope the river makes a lasting impression during the city's first Super Bowl. The 310-mile, north-flowing river cuts directly through downtown Jacksonville and is just a Michael Vick pass away from Alltel Stadium. It also will provide the setting for most Super Bowl festivities.

"From an event standpoint, the river really draws everything together," said Reid Sigmon, vice president of operations for the Super Bowl host committee. "It's the focal point of all the activity."

The Super Bowl's two most prominent attractions -- the NFL Experience and Superfest -- have been set up along the downtown riverfront.

The NFL Experience is an interactive theme park that features more than 50 games. Superfest is a street festival that spans both sides of the river and has three main stages for three nights of free concerts.

There will be four luxury cruise ships docked in the riverfront area. The Radisson Seven Seas Navigator will be downtown. Three ships from Holland America will be about a mile north, but still visible from the area. And a Carnival cruise ship will be at the terminal, about 10 miles north of downtown.

The cruise ships will provide the additional 3,000-plus hotel rooms needed to give Jacksonville enough accommodations to satisfy NFL requirements for hosting a Super Bowl. The game will draw about 100,000 visitors to the River City.

"The cruise ships were a creative solution to our hotel problem," Chastain said. "They display the river nicely and create a temporary infrastructure for hotel rooms."

The river will be lined with boats and yachts, and a fleet of water taxis will shuttle people around downtown. Organizers expect the dozen or so water taxis to be a main source of transportation. They also anticipate that people will use a recently constructed riverwalk, which offers miles of paved walkway along both riverbanks, to navigate downtown.

The riverwalk will provide prime viewing spots for the Feb. 3 boat parade. The football-themed parade will feature illuminated boats of all sizes traveling through the St. Johns River and will be followed by the first of three nights of fireworks.

"Because of the river's historical importance to the city, it's obviously a huge focal point of everything we're going to do," Sigmon said.

Jacksonville's four bridges near the downtown area -- Main Street, Acosta, Hart and Fuller Warren -- will be lit throughout Super Bowl week, enhancing what organizers believe will be the primary visual during pregame and game-day telecasts.

Dubbed the "Super Bowl on the River" since Jacksonville first bid for the big game, the city has backed up its campaign. But some worry that the traffic from cruise ships and hundreds of boats and yachts could harm the river.

"We'd like to make sure the river doesn't become just a trash dump," said Neil Armingeon, a spokesman for St. Johns Riverkeeper, a nonprofit organization that advocates preservation of the waterway.

Riverkeeper will have a boat on the river during the week, monitoring any problems and trying to educate people about the river.

"People need to remember that if it was not for the river, we probably wouldn't have the Super Bowl," Armingeon said.

Organizers agree, which is one reason they showcased as much of the river as they could for the biggest annual event in sports.

"The river is absolutely a unique factor to this Super Bowl with the cruise ships, the lighted bridges, the water transportation," Sigmon said. "All of those are things people will always remember about this game. People are going to be very impressed with the beauty of the river and it's importance to this community."

www.sfgate.com

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Welcome to Jacksonville

By Steven Wine

MIAMI - CEOs and VIPs from around the country are ready for some NFL fun in the Florida sun. Their surprising destination: Jacksonville.

Forgive Miami and Tampa for being envious and dubious. Both cities have hosted multiple Super Bowls, but this year the game found a new Florida home -- the smallest market yet for the biggest bash in sports.

"Obviously they're going to have a few problems," Tampa's Leonard Levy said.

"It could be 20 degrees there," Miami's Dick Anderson said.

"People are going to be staying on cruise ships -- how many are going to be satisfied with that?" Levy said.

"Cruise ships with little bitty rooms," Anderson said.

Jacksonville overcame such skepticism about its ability to throw a party and won the bid for the game. The Philadelphia Eagles will face the defending champion New England Patriots on Feb. 6 at ALLTELL Stadium. If the week goes well, the city once known as Cowford could join Miami and Tampa in the rotation of Super Bowl sites.

After all, the NFL loves Florida. No state has more teams than Florida's three, and no state has hosted more Super Bowls. The game in Jacksonville will be the 12th for the Sunshine State.

"Fortunately two other communities in the state have set the standard for how Super Bowls are viewed," said Michael Kelly, president and chief operating officer of the Jacksonville Super Bowl host committee.

Miami has hosted the Super Bowl eight times, fewer only than New Orleans' nine, and the game will return to South Florida in two years. Tampa hosted the game in 1984, 1991 and 2001. Miami and Tampa are among four finalists for the 2009 game.

"When you host a Super Bowl, most people feel you can host any event," said Levy, a Tampa businessman who helped first bring the game to that city. "You can't buy the visibility. It puts you on the map."

That's a big appeal for Jacksonville, a pro sports town only since Jaguars owner Wayne Weaver founded the expansion team 10 years ago.

Jacksonville is different from other Super Bowl sites, and not just because the river through town flows north. Lacking the restaurants and night life of larger cities, Jacksonville created an entertainment zone that organizers hope will be permanent. Super Bowl visitors will outnumber hotel rooms, so cruise ships will be used for accommodations.

"Tongue in cheek, I'll tell you: Be careful what you wish for, because sometimes you get it," Weaver said. "It's a Herculean task to pull one of these things off. We have hurdles because of the size of the market.

"But a real transformation is taking place in our city. You can see the increased self-esteem of the population as this thing has gotten close."

Weaver said Jacksonville today reminds him of San Diego -- another city with a large military population -- when it first hosted the game in 1988. The Super Bowl has returned to San Diego twice.

NFL vice president for special events Jim Steeg, who has overseen 26 Super Bowls, drew a comparison between Jacksonville and Tampa when it first hosted the game.

"Look at how Tampa evolved in the past 20 years, from a town people didn't know much about to what it has become," Steeg said. "I think the Super Bowl had a lot to do with that."

Like Jacksonville, Tampa was hampered by a shortage of hotel rooms in 1984. Many fans attending that Super Bowl were forced to stay 60 miles away at Disney World.

But the situation triggered a hotel industry boon, with 5,500 rooms added in Tampa in the first 18 months after the 1984 game, Steeg said.

"The Super Bowl creates an infusion of capital and business opportunities," he said. "It will be interesting to see how that happens in Jacksonville."

Anderson, who played in three Super Bowls with the Miami Dolphins and chaired the Super Bowl host committee for Miami in 1989, is skeptical about Jacksonville's chances of becoming a regular site.

"The decision-makers, who are the NFL owners, decided to be nice to Wayne Weaver for getting a renovated stadium and voting with them on all the other issues," Anderson said. "That to me is the only reason Jacksonville got a Super Bowl. They're thanking Wayne Weaver for being a good guy."

The NFL's Steeg was noncommittal about Jacksonville's chances of hosting another Super Bowl.

"It's tough to say you're going to get another one until you succeed with the one you've got in front of you," he said. "The owners' evaluation is going to be based on how the sponsors and fans and media respond to the site. They're going to tell you."

There's more competition than ever to host the game. The first 10 Super Bowls were played in four cities; counting this year, the past 10 games have been in eight cities, with San Diego and New Orleans the only repeat sites.

"One smart thing we've done in the NFL is move the Super Bowl around a little bit more," Weaver said. "We've helped cities get new stadiums, using it as leverage to accomplish things that benefit our league. But clearly we're going to have a rotation of warm-weather cities, and I think Jacksonville will be in that rotation."

In at least one regard, the odds favor Jacksonville. Twelve other cities have been Super Bowl sites, and only two haven't been chosen a second time: Stanford and Minneapolis.

"This is our moment to shine," Jacksonville's Kelly said. "We're doing everything we can to make that first opportunity work, so we can make our next bid that much more attractive."

www.contracostatimes.com

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Whew, a lot to read.

Does anyone know which restaurant this Sam Hamidi guy owns? I want to be sure I don't patronize it.

I expect that sportswriters will disrepect the city, but a local merchant should either be positive or say nothing. If Jacksonvillians can't show some pride in their home, you can't expect outsiders to. I get so tired of hearing/reading the same old negativity rhyme from the locals. If you think Jax if so bad, either move or help do something to improve it. Noone wants to listen to a whiner.

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Actually, Sam Hamidi is not a bad guy; I'm in his restaraunt at least once every 2 weeks.

He really didn't say anything bad about Jacksonville, just that it is a blue collar town and it isn't ready to host the Super Bowl. I totally agree about the blue collar thing, and I really don't see that changing, until we get a university with a prominent graduate program (not evening MBA's). To me, this is one of the biggest things that separate us from Atlanta (Without Georgia Tech, Atlanta doesn't get a lot of the things it has today).

As far as him saying we are not ready for the Super Bowl, he is simply speaking his mind. If we were to give a kick in the rear to every one that feels that we are not ready to host the game, we would probably be kicking a ton of people. He is not alone in feeling that way. Just because someone is wrong, doesn't make them a bad person.

By the way, Sam Hamidi owns Casa Dora, on Forsyth near the Florida Theatre.

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I wish people wouldn't forget that Jacksonville has such outstanding history. We're the First Coast, and Jacksonville along with St. Aug have some of the oldest European settlements in America! Not to mention the natural beauty, the RIVER, and the historic buildings. Even though Miami will have an outstanding collection of buildings in the near future, currently, it has some crappy architecture. Miami's first substantial building boom was in the 60's/70's, whereas Jacksonville's building boom was in the 20's/30's. Not to rag on Miami, but I love Jacksonville's historic buildings. I'm still hoping to see some really good articles, that paint the city for all of its impressive aspects.

Jacksonville is more than the Northside, lol.

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Actually, Sam Hamidi is not a bad guy; I'm in his restaraunt at least once every 2 weeks.

He really didn't say anything bad about Jacksonville, just that it is a blue collar town and it isn't ready to host the Super Bowl.  I totally agree about the blue collar thing, and I really don't see that changing, until we get a university with a prominent graduate program (not evening MBA's).  To me, this is one of the biggest things that separate us from Atlanta (Without Georgia Tech, Atlanta doesn't get a lot of the things it has today).

As far as him saying we are not ready for the Super Bowl, he is simply speaking his mind.  If we were to give a kick in the rear to every one that feels that we are not ready to host the game, we would probably be kicking a ton of people.  He is not alone in feeling that way.  Just because someone is wrong, doesn't make them a bad person.

By the way, Sam Hamidi owns Casa Dora, on Forsyth near the Florida Theatre.

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

"There's no excitement here at night," Hamidi said one recent weekday after the busy lunch rush. "I really think that after the Super Bowl, everything goes back to normal. This is a blue-collar town. People don't have $30-an-hour jobs. This is middle-class, working-class, that's it.

"I don't think the city is ready for the Super Bowl -- bottom line."

Like everyone, this guy is entitled to his opinion, but he is just giving aid to the outsiders who are trying to kick this city. This is the time for Jax to shine and put it's best foot forward, not perpetuate it's inferiority complex. To say no one in the town makes $30 an hour is inaccurate and ignorant. I guess all those folks in oceanfront homes and corner offices at Fidelity are just spending their inheritance or something. It's one thing to say negative things among a small group of friends, but it's another to say something that is going to get published.

How can he expect things to improve if he is telling everyone (including people that have never visited) that there is nothing here. I understand Downtown isn't where we all want it to be YET, but that doesn't mean it can't change or that great things (like ARTWALK) aren't happening.

I have eaten at that establishment a few times, and have liked it, but I think I would rather patronize an establishment owned by residents who want Jax to be it's BEST, not tear it down and add to the inferiority complex. Fortunately, with Burrito Gallery opening up, and Boomtown and Heniretta's in Springfield already open, such choices are readily available.

Scongro, you make a valid point about the need for more university and graduate offerings. I don't dispute facts, just negative, non-factual diatribes. Hopefully Mr. Delaney can help UNF expand it's offerings. Additionally, Florida Coastal School of Law is growing and gaining a solid rep, when it didn't even exist ten years ago. Also, Charlotte is a prime example of a city with high income, and a excellent economy without a major legacy university.

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here is the link for this article:

http://g.msn.com/0MNBUS00/2?http://www.msn...=EmailThis&CE=1

What's that Super smell? Jacksonville

NFL is crazy to put title game in this stinking city

COMMENTARY

By Tony Kornheiser

Columnist

Updated: 7:15 p.m. ET Jan. 26, 2005

Right after Chad Lewis caught that touchdown pass with about four minutes to go, the touchdown that cemented the victory and ensured the Philadelphia Eagles would be in the Super Bowl, some guy in the stands joyfully held up a sign that said, "We're Going To Jacksonville." And I thought: What on earth is second prize? You have to build there?

How did Jacksonville get the Super Bowl? What, Tuscaloosa was booked?

If going to Jacksonville for a week is the reward New England and Philadelphia get for being the best teams in the NFL this year, Peyton Manning ought to be happy he didn't get there. Imagine how Manning would have felt, having to play all year in Indianapolis, and then landing in Jacksonville? Which gods would he have offended to get that killer quinella?

The NFL must see itself as handing out some sort of charity when it awards the Super Bowl to any place other than New Orleans, Miami and Southern California. Because, believe me, nobody wants the game to be anywhere but there. So when the NFL insists on putting it in outposts like Detroit, Houston or Minneapolis, people ask, "Are you guys nuts?" But when you pick Jacksonville, people are agape and say, "Who in Jacksonville has a photo of Tagliabue with a goat?"

At least these other places are big cities, with some history and a longtime affiliation with the NFL, as opposed to Jacksonville, which has now been in the league for about 15 minutes. Detroit is where American cars are made, and where Motown music originated. Minneapolis-St. Paul is the home of 3M and General Mills. Houston is the home of NASA, and, thanks to Enron, the gold standard in white-collar corporate crime. Jacksonville is what? (I'm just taking a shot here, Tony, a dump? No. Cut that out. It's a 'Ville! The only good 'Ville is a Coupe de Ville.)

Have you ever been to Tampa? It's heaven, if you like Waffle Houses.

Jacksonville makes Tampa look like Paris!

Jacksonville has this one great thing, the TPC course with the island green on No. 17. (Which is actually in Ponte Vedra.) And the rest of it can be described with this phrase, "Welcome to Hooters."

People in Jacksonville will be very upset with this piece. They will say it's a cheap shot by an effete Northerner who didn't want to be the 28th person on his own paper to write about how great and smart and handsome Tom Brady is. (Which is true, but come on, we kid because we love.) They will yell and scream that their city is hardly a backwater

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Kornheimer got worked by Sam Kouvaris this morning on channel 4 from what I hear. Turns out (and this is a shocker) that he's never even been to JAX.

Thats nice. So many people from all segments of JAX working hard to build this thing and make it fun for our guests and this guy hasn't even been here and gets a column in the post.

Whatever.

They'll do it again next year and the year after because its easier than actually working.

:sick:

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Yeah, I saw it and he did get worked pretty good. He claims he visited the city by driving on I-95 through it on his way down south.

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Yeah, I saw it and he did get worked pretty good.  He claims he visited the city by driving on I-95 through it on his way down south.

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

And that is the extent of his visit that I will allow him to have in this city. If you don't like Jacksonville, don't come. Period. We don't need you here if you don't want to be. It is as simple as that.

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here's the link to sam tearing him a new one ... it's actually really good.

not only does kornheiser admit that he's never actually been to Jacksonville (he say's he's only "stopped for the free orange juice," which I assume refers to that I95 rest stop in Nassau and/or St. Johns county) he actually confesses that he won't even be coming here for the game!

http://www.news4jax.com/video/4135328/detail.html

as an aside, the video clip actually shows some great aerial shots of downtown while kornheiser is talking. so it might be worth checking out even if you don't care about the articles.

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check it

a positive editorial about the bowl being in Jacksonville, from Orlandosentinel of all places.

Super tally: Orlando dallies; Jacksonville does

Published January 28, 2005

This is a very bad time to be a sports columnist in Orlando.

I feel like I'm standing outside the big columnist party, nose pressed against the glass, watching the other scribes laughing and joking and having a blast at Jacksonville's expense.

"How did Jacksonville get the Super Bowl?" lampooned Tony Kornheiser, a columnist for the Washington Post and co-host of ESPN's Pardon the Interruption, earlier this week. "What, Tuscaloosa was booked? . . . Who in Jacksonville has a photo of Paul Tagliabue with a goat?"

Kornheiser claims Jacksonville does not have the sophistication to host a Super Bowl, which seems sort of odd coming from a guy who wears a turban on TV and yells a lot.

But, hey, Kornheiser can ridicule Jacksonville with impunity for one very good reason: He doesn't write in Orlando.

In Orlando, we don't put down Jacksonville; we look up to Jacksonville. We don't disparage our northern neighbors; we envy them. We don't call Jacksonville names; we just call Jacksonville, "Daddy."

Here's all you need to know: As Jacksonville gets ready for its Super Bowl next weekend, guess what big sports happening will be in Orlando this weekend? It's called "The Super Bowl of Motorsports," but actually it's just a glorified name for a tractor pull. Jacksonville gets the real Super Bowl; we get the Monster Truck Super Bowl.

Wooo-Weee, Merle, did you see that ol' boy flip his F-250 with the posi-traction rear end? He's so dumb he couldn't find his behind with both hands and a coon dog.

"The Monster Trucks are extremely popular here," confirmed Allen Johnson, director of the Orlando Centroplex. "We're expecting about 60,000 at the Citrus Bowl."

Need we say more?

This is why the rip-Jacksonville reindeer games will proceed without any notable input from this Orlando columnist. Let the writers from New York and Boston take shots at Jacksonville if they must, but not me. I used to live in Jacksonville; I know how hard that city worked and how much money it spent to become a sports town.

Would Orlando be a better spot for the Super Bowl? Of course, it would. We have a zillion hotels, an internationally renowned airport and infinitely more entertainment options. But Jacksonville has something more important: Vision.

Ignore the insults, Jacksonville. Be proud of where you came from and what you've become. Stand tall. You are a Super city, no matter what the knuckleheads say or write.

Jacksonville shouldn't be laughed at by the nation's media, it should be lauded. Jacksonville is what all sports writers say they love: The ultimate underdog story. It's the Rocky and Rudy of sports cities. It is the little town that could. And did.

Orlando dreams; Jacksonville does.

Orlando wanted an NFL team at one time; Jacksonville went out and got one.

Orlando wants a new downtown arena; Jacksonville just built one.

Orlando wants a minor-league baseball park downtown; you should see the one Jacksonville just built.

Orlando put in a half-hearted bid to get the Atlantic Coast Conference football championship; Jacksonville put in a serious bid and got the game.

"Jacksonville makes Tampa look like Paris!" Kornheiser wrote.

Unfortunately, as a sports town, Jacksonville makes Orlando look like Peoria.

Heck, we can't even make fun of Jacksonville's reputed love affair with Waffle House and Hooters. According to the Waffle House customer service hotline, Orlando and Jacksonville each has seven Waffle Houses. And are you ready for this? According to the Hooters Web site, Jacksonville has just four Hooters locations; Orlando has six.

So now you know why I'm going to leave the roasting of Jacksonville to other columnists. I have more important things to write about. Now if you'll excuse me.

Hey, Merle, did you see that wheelie?

Mike Bianchi can be reached at [email protected]

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The reason Orlando doesn't have a vision, I suspect, is because they haven't had to work very hard to grow. As a major tourist destiantion with a massive airport, their growth comes easily. Jacksonville never had either advantage, so the city fathers had to work extra hard to promote the city to outside interests.

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^And they seem to have done a good job, too! I'm glad we could finally see a good article. And I'm thankful that the columnist actually looked up the records for Waffle House and Hooters too, lol. But here's some disheartening news:

Super Bowl Sidelines: The scarcity of local top-shelf hotel rooms is forcing some musical headliners into more humble accommodations than they

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