New Orleans — In a ceremony Sunday befitting a football game, state and local officials formally handed off the responsibility of the next Super Bowl to New Jersey and New York, which will host Super Bowl XLVIII in 2014.
The New York Jets and New York Giants will co-host the game in MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, N.J. The two teams share the facility.
Government officials from Louisiana, New York and New Jersey addressed a crowd in front of Gallier Hall on St. Charles Avenue while standing next to a giant replica of the Vince Lombardi Trophy, awarded annually to the Super Bowl winner.
New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu told the crowd they were “witnessing one of the great resurrections and redemptions of one of the great American cities” with New Orleans hosting its 10th Super Bowl.
“A short time ago, (New Orleans was) 15 feet under water and on the bottom of every list that mattered,” Landrieu said. “Today, (the city is) on the top of the world and really moving forward.”
Landrieu also noted that the New York-New Jersey areas also suffered major hurricane damage — Hurricane Sandy struck a devastating blow to the northeast in late October.
“As fate would have it, it’s going to go to the place where Mother Nature once again beat down — to our brothers and sisters in the Northeast,” he said. “… I can’t think of a better place next year to help that part of the country rebuild as well.”
Gov. Bobby Jindal thanked the NFL for granting New Orleans the opportunity to host Super Bowl XLVII.
“It is an opportunity for us to send the message out there, loudly and clearly, that New Orleans is back and we are open for business,” Jindal said before he handed New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie a football decorated by Young Aspirations Young Artists, a nonprofit organization dedicated to arts education.
“New Jersey and New York have worked well together to put this Super Bowl host committee together,” Christie said. “The teams have worked together to make sure that we’re going to give you an incredible experience.”
Landrieu and Saints owner/Vice Chairman Rita Benson LeBlanc handed Mardi Gras masks, one black and one gold, to New York Jets owner Woody Johnson and New York Giants co-owner Jonathan Tisch, who will co-chair the NY/NJ Super Bowl Host Committee.
The weather in New Orleans on Sunday was sunny with a slight breeze, which likely will differ greatly from the conditions in New Jersey a year from now when the Super Bowl will be held in a traditionally colder winter climate in the open-air MetLife Stadium, compared to the enclosed Mercedes-Benz Superdome.
“We’re going to promise you weather just like this a year from today in New Jersey,” Christie said joking.
Johnson, the Jets owner, said New Jersey and New York have a “huge task ahead of us to equal what you’ve done here” in New Orleans.
“You have all of us focused to get our next New York-New Jersey Super Bowl to be the best that we can absolutely make it,” he said.
Beyond the St. Charles Avenue ceremony, the only activity — or lack thereof — in the city Sunday appeared to center around the big game.
Officer Hilal Williams, a New Orleans Police Department spokeswoman, said shortly before kickoff that there had been no major crimes reported. Nor were there any major unexpected traffic issues, she said.
There was, however, expected congestion around the Superdome and in parts of the Central Business District as people and vehicles converged on the stadium with the vehicles facing planned road closures.
The state Department of Transportation and Development said the Chalmette Ferry was running behind schedule because of heavy vehicular traffic, and the Algiers ferry, which usually moves people and cars across the Mississippi River, was reduced to pedestrian traffic.