The Patriots were crowned Super Bowl LI champions to wrap up the 2016 NFL season on Sunday night in Houston, and now the football world will now turn its attention to Minneapolis, the host city for the big game in 2018.
Rochelle Olson of the Star Tribune wrote that the Super Bowl "won't so much be held in the Twin Cities as it will engulf them."
In the 26 years since Minnesota last hosted a Super Bowl, the event has exploded from a weekend football celebration focused on a single stadium into a 10-day extravaganza spread across dozens of spaces and cities. Minnesota planners expect a $400 million-plus economic impact.
Olson spent the week in Houston as the torch was passed to Minnesota for next year's festivities.
The Twin Cities region has seen marquee events in recent years — the Ryder Cup last summer and the 2014 Major League Baseball All-Star Game. While those drew tens of thousands of fans, they don't compare to what's going to happen next January and February.
Countdown clocks and activities will start as soon as this week in Minneapolis, and Olson said she expects Minnesota to do "more with less money, less infrastructure, less political support and much lower temperatures" than Houston.
According to Olson, Minnesota immediately will start arranging the puzzle pieces for the extravagant event. The task is a monstrous one, but one that's being embraced.
View the top 30 photos taken of U.S. Bank Stadium on gameday during it's inaugural season in 2016.
'Bold North' theme for Super Bowl LII invites guests to enjoy Minnesota winter
While Minneapolis will be well-equipped to offer Super Bowl guests a number of options in which to avoid the Midwest temperatures – including the light rail system and extended skyways – ESPN's Ben Goessling said that the motif of the week will be to come and enjoy Minnesota winter. Goessling wrote:
*The "Bold North" theme of Super Bowl LII reflects a community trying to rebrand itself around its active populace, nationally renowned parks system, vibrant theater scene and 17 Fortune 500 companies, rather than the hot dish-and-lutefisk clichés that are often attached to the state. *
Goessling quoted Minnesota Super Bowl Host Committee CEO Maureen Bausch, who said the following:
"We're going to show people that we don't hibernate in Minnesota — we enjoy the snow. Come and join us. Wear your parka or whatever you want, because it is going to be cold, but we do have fun in the North."
The eyes of the world will be on Minnesota, as the Super Bowl heads to the Vikings 1-year-old stadium that played to rave reviews during its first season because of the vistas created by 95-foot-high glass doors and a clear roof that allowed light to stream in during games. It's not lost on Wilf, either, that a team that won the NFC North in 2015 and started 5-0 in 2016 could rebound from an 8-8 record to become the first to play the Super Bowl in its home stadium.
"We'd love to win it anywhere, any place, any time," Wilf told Goessling. "But to do it that way would be icing on the cake. We're excited to host it, but to host it where we would participate would be incredible. That's what drives us every day, to win a championship. We have a lot of faith in [Vikings Head Coach Mike Zimmer] and Rick Spielman, our general manager, to get this thing where we want to go."