Rabalais: Come on, Super Bowl. Come home to the Superdome

Dear Roger Goodell,

As you roll out of bed Sunday in your suburban New York mansion and take your limo ride across the Hudson River to MetLife Stadium and the Super Bowl you brought to New Jersey’s Meadowlands, I’m sure you’re going to be feeling pretty good about yourself.

The weather looks like it will cooperate; the TV ratings for the Denver Broncos vs. Seattle Seahawks will be typically huge; and the profits will be even bigger. And because your Super Bowl looks like it won’t fall victim to Snowmageddon or some other ice-entombed natural disaster, I’m sure there will be plenty of other northern NFL cities and owners lining up to get their shot at the Super Bowl, too.

You know what they say, Rog. If you can make it in New York, you can make it anywhere.

Philadelphia Eagles owner Jeff Lurie said Friday on the NFL Network he wants the Super Bowl in his stadium. I’m sure Boston, Chicago and Washington will clamor for the big game as well. And we know deep down you really, really want to play a Super Bowl in London, don’t you Roger?

Of course, not everyone is thrilled with the idea of a Super Cold Bowl.

“There weather’s going to be a big problem,” said “Iron” Mike Ditka, the former Saints and Bears coach who made his bones in cold-weather football games, to the Detroit Free Press. “They made a big mistake. The game shouldn’t be there. I mean, it’s stupid.”

So before you take America’s biggest annual sporting event overseas or ship it off to some other snowbound locale where snow is bound to come crashing into the party one of these days — or risk the wrath of Ditka — there’s something we want you to remember:

We want you back here in Louisiana. And soon.

We know the Super Bowl was just here in New Orleans last year, and we know you said the Super Bowl will return to The Big Easy, but we wanted to A) give you a little reminder and B) hold you to your word.

That’s because if you pull off a Super Bowl in New Jersey — let’s call it what it is, not really in New York, it’s Jersey — we know the competition for future Super Bowls will never be fiercer. Cold-weather cities like Cleveland (well, maybe not Cleveland) and warm-weather cities like Phoenix (site of next year’s Super Bowl in suburban Glendale, Ariz.) will line up to compete with New Orleans.

It’s all about top-of-mind awareness, isn’t it? That’s why you’re moving the draft from April to May. You want to keep your NFL at the top of the sports headlines as much as possible.

Hence our friendly reminder.

We’ve fixed the lights in the Mercedes-Benz Superdome, long fixed the levees ringing New Orleans and fixed the streets. Well, the streets will never not be bumpy, but there are more streetcar lines than ever, so that’s got to count for something.

It just makes sense, Roger. The Super Bowl is America’s biggest party, and no one does a big party better than us folks in Louisiana. Just watch any movie ever set in our laissez-faire state. It’s always Mardi Gras here, or so they tell us.

Ten times the Super Bowl has been in New Orleans, and 10 times the city has proven it’s the best place to have the game. The only places you could possibly have as compact a Super Bowl experience for your league, your corporate sponsors and your fans (remember them?) are Minneapolis and Indianapolis, but come on. Those are nice towns, but neither one has the food, the excitement, the heat (literally) that New Orleans has.

We know, you weren’t exactly shown Southern hospitality here last year, Roger. We remember the signs hanging in New Orleans restaurants with your picture on them that read “Don’t serve this man.”

Well, we’ve mellowed over the past year. The Saints making it back to the playoffs a year after Bountygate helped. So give us another Super Bowl, and we promise to take those pins out of the neck of those Roger Goodell voodoo dolls.

Seriously, though, for all our shortcomings and faults, our venue is the best you’ve got for the Super Bowl. Everything — the Superdome, the French Quarter, the NFL Experience at the Morial Convention Center, almost all of the big hotels and restaurants — are within walking distance of one other.

New York is a renowned walking city, but there’s no walking to this Super Bowl. There’s no taking taxis or tailgating, either. There are just $51 shuttle rides from designated points in the New York/New Jersey area.

Oh, Roger, Roger, Roger. Face value of $500 to $2,500 per seat wasn’t enough? You’d think for that price, you could throw in bus fare.

Having the Super Bowl events in Manhattan was no doubt an allure. We’ve seen Super Bowl Boulevard, and it looks like fun.

But your media day was in Newark, N.J., an hour’s bus ride from Manhattan. The logistics of New York, a megalopolis stitched together with $13 toll bridges and tunnels and ferries, are nightmarish.

Yes, you need bridges to get to New Orleans, too. But once you’re there, you don’t have to go anywhere.

It’s been said the Super Bowl should never go anywhere but New Orleans. We’re a party-hearty bunch, and we’d be game for something like that, but we’re realistic, too. We know it’s too politically unpopular to have the most popular sporting event in the same city year after year, but we want you back as often as you can come.

Feb. 4, 2018, Roger. That’s the date we’ve circled. That’s the date Super Bowl LII will be played. That’s the game we want.

We know we’re up against Indianapolis and its relatively new Lucas Oil Stadium, and Minneapolis and its nearly $1 billion stadium that’s about to be built. We know the Superdome will be a ripe old 43 by then.

But you know we’ll show you a better time than anyplace else you could possibly go.

Partial blackouts be damned. Having the Super Bowl in New Orleans is like New Orleans native Peyton Manning himself:

A proven winner.

Thanks for reading, Roger.

We’ll be seeing you.