Prediction: Miami will land 2020 Super Bowl as Ross’ dream comes true

Artist's rendering of the proposed Super Bowl park gathering area in downtown Miami.
Artist’s rendering of the proposed Super Bowl park gathering area in downtown Miami.

Larry Csonka was a 237-pound fullback who was getting the ball on third-and-short, who everybody knew was getting the ball on third-and-short, who still wasn’t denied on third-and-short.

So you think he’s going to let a bunch of NFL owners, whose pockets weigh more than they do, stop him this time?

Atlanta, Miami, Los Angeles.

That’s my prediction, in that order, for the next three Super Bowls to be divvied up Tuesday as owners meet in Charlotte, N.C.

(RELATED: Miami Dolphins hope Super pitch Bowls over NFL, lands host position)

Dolphins Hall of Famer Larry Csonka gets his point across. (Allen Eyestone / The Palm Beach Post)
Dolphins Hall of Famer Larry Csonka gets his point across. (Allen Eyestone / The Palm Beach Post)

It will be a day of celebration for South Florida, for the bid committee headed by Rodney Barreto, for the Dolphins and especially Dolphins owner Steve Ross, who tossed $450 million into the mix to bring the spectacle back to Miami for the first time since 2010.

After spending that much to renovate his stadium, Ross is taking no chances. He’s calling on Csonka, the Dolphins’ Hall of Famer, to deliver South Florida’s presentation to the 31 other owners.  Inside that conference room, Zonk will be making points as only Zonk can.

(OPINION: Stephen Ross, Dolphins deserve Super Bowl)

Remember, this was a 237-pound football player who had us believing he drank Miller Lite. With a kicker (Efren Herrera), no less.

But there are plenty of other reasons for owners to line up Super Bowls starting in early 2019 the way I’ve outlined.

Atlanta (2019)

Atlanta has college football’s national title game set for Jan. 8, 2018. The Final Four is headed there in the spring of 2020. So the 2019 Super Bowl slides nice and cozy into the Southeast’s new Title Town and into that new, $1.4 billion retractable-roof Mercedes-Benz Stadium.

Miami (2020)

Barreto says he’d prefer the 2019 game for the simple reason it would bolster his case when bidding opens for the 2022 game. Barreto, if you haven’t caught on, is a firm believer Miami should host every Super Bowl, and you can’t fault the guy for that. There’s one wrinkle that makes this scenario just a tad tenuous, which we’ll address in a minute.

Los Angeles (2021)

The NFL originally planned to award only two SBs in Charlotte. Logic tells you the change was to accommodate the Rams’ move from St. Louis to Los Angeles and to provide a shot in the arm to the 80,000-seat “NFL Disney World” in Inglewood, just outside of Los Angeles. The facility, which has a world-record price of $2.6 billion going in (and actual costs hardly ever exceed original estimates, right?), is scheduled to open for the 2019 season.

Owners could place the 2020 game in L.A., but that would mean committing before anyone has a clue on whether the Rams can quickly hammer out growing pains associated with new facilities (Are concession lines flowing? Restrooms? Security? And the biggie: L.A. traffic?). Most believe owners would prefer to play it safe, give the Rams a full season to break in the joint, then plop the SB there.

The wild card

It wasn’t until Barreto’s group pointed it out that everybody realized there’s a massive opportunity and responsibility attached to 2020: It marks the 100th anniversary of the birth of the NFL, in what was then called the American Professional Football Conference. Bill Belichick and the Patriots did not dominate that American Conference, possibly because neither had yet been invented. Ditto for inflation gauges.

Barreto attended this year’s Super Bowl, the 50th, in the San Francisco Bay Area. He came away feeling that if Miami gets the magical 100, his committee should capitalize to make it feel extra special.

The question is whether NFL owners might get visions of No. 100 amid the glitz and glamor of L.A. — Hollywood, movie stars, Ed Hochuli on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, etc. If you care to wager on a semi-longshot, L.A. in 2020 and Miami in 2021 would be it.

Me? I’m putting all my chips on Atlanta, Miami, Los Angeles.

Ross: Tannenbaum to lead search; Campbell is a candidate

Ross
Ross

Mike Tannenbaum will have a prominent voice in selecting the Dolphins’ new coach and Dan Campbell will be among the candidates in a search that will begin “immediately,” owner Stephen Ross said in a letter to season-ticket holders Friday.

Ross also didn’t sugarcoat this season, labeling it “disappointing” that the Dolphins are 5-10 entering Sunday’s finale against visiting New England.

Prominent on everyone’s mind, however, will be where the Dolphins go from here. Rebuilding will not mean Ross will clean house and part with Tannenbaum, who has spent about a year as the team’s executive vice president of football operations.

“We are going to conduct a thorough process led by Mike Tannenbaum to select our head coach that will not be constrained by convention in our approach,” Ross wrote. “This search will be thorough and we will take it wherever we need to go.”

Campbell took over as interim coach after Joe Philbin was fired amid a 1-3 start.

“I appreciate everything Dan Campbell has done this season and he has earned the opportunity to be considered for head coach,” Ross wrote. “We’ve also identified several promising candidates and will begin work immediately.”

The Dolphins are bound by the Rooney Rule to interview at least one minority candidate.

Ross thought he had assembled the right pieces entering this season, including the signing of free agent Ndamukong Suh to a $114 million contract. Despite the presence of the former All-Pro defensive tackle, Miami’s run defense actually took a step backward this season.

“I had high expectations headed into this year and the on-field results have been disappointing … for you, our staff, our coaches, our players and alumni players and certainly for me,” Ross said.

Ross went on to applaud fans’ “unwavering” support in selling out home games and traveling well.

“I look forward with optimism to more celebrations in the future together,” Ross wrote.

Injury update: The Dolphins listed linebacker Jelani Jenkins (ankle) and center Mike Pouncey (foot/ankle) as doubtful for Sunday. Questionable are guard Jamil Douglas (ankle), tackle Ja’Wuan James (toe), receiver Rishard Matthews (ribs), defensive tackle Earl Mitchell (calf) and receiver Kenny Stills (thigh).