The NFL is moving forward with a change to its Super Bowl schedule, as Raymond James Stadium has been selected to host Super Bowl LV.Slated for 2021, Super Bowl LV was originally awarded to the new Inglewood stadium that will be home to the Los Angeles Rams and Los Angeles Chargers, but delays to that facility’s construction put in line to host Super Bowl LVI in 2022.
The unanimous vote by NFL owners on Tuesday would allow Raymond James Stadium–home of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers–to take the game in 2021, while Los Angeles would claim the game the following year. This shift in the Super Bowl schedule is contingent on officials from each team providing sufficient evidence within 90 days that their venues are prepared to meet this schedule.
Last May, the NFL rolled out a three-year schedule for the Super Bowl that covered the years 2019-2021, with the games slated for Atlanta, Miami, and Los Angeles. However, circumstances in Los Angeles have forced the league to adjust, as record rainfall in the area surrounding the new Rams’ and Chargers’ stadium created delays in construction that will push the venue’s opening back from 2019 to 2020.
That delay weighed on the minds of NFL officials, and Rams owner Stan Kroenke was reportedly agreeable with the league’s new plan. More from ESPN:
NFL commissioner Roger Goodell said Kroenke was “incredibly cooperative on this” and remains focused on “creating a quality stadium for the long term for the fans in Los Angeles.”
“So what we felt is the right thing, is don’t put any risk to the Super Bowl, which is an incredibly complex event,” Goodell told the media from Chicago. “God forbid if there’s some other natural disaster, or some other thing that might affect the schedule — which [Kroenke] does not obviously anticipate and feels comfortable with the time frame. It would put an undue risk to the Super Bowl and to our fans. So from our standpoint, we thought this was the appropriate thing to do.”
NFL rules dictate that a stadium must be completed and operational for at least two full seasons prior to hosting a Super Bowl. A waiver, which must be approved by NFL owners, can negate that, but this case resulted in a compromise.
Raymond James Stadium has undergone significant renovations in recent years, and the Buccaneers have more changes on tap at the facility for the 2017 season. Perhaps as an added bonus for the NFL, Raymond James Stadium and the Tampa market are well versed in hosting the game. The city has been the site of the event four times, with two of those games–Super Bowls XXXV and XLIII–played at Raymond James Stadium. Super Bowls XVIII and XXV were staged at its predecessor, Tampa Stadium.
RELATED STORIES: Opening of Inglewood Stadium Delayed to 2020