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NFL AM: Atlanta, Miami And L.A. Win Super Bowl Bids

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NFL Awards Super Bowls to Atlanta, Miami and Los Angeles:

The NFL’s annual spring meetings are underway, and one of the big items on the docket was naming the host cities for Super Bowls, LII, LIV and LV. While there were other organizations in play, there’s no surprise that the NFL chose to host games at the brand new stadiums that will be erected in Atlanta and Los Angeles.

The Falcons will host the Super Bowl in 2019; just two years after they will open Mercedes Benz Stadium (not to be confused with the Mercedes Benz Dome) which came as little surprise.

“I’m thrilled for Atlanta, thrilled for our bid team, thrilled for all the political leaders who have supported us along the way with a difficult (stadium) project in downtown Atlanta,” said Falcons owner Arthur Blank.

Blank must be happy his new investment is already paying off, as Atlanta had been rejected to hosts Super Bowls in 2009 and 2010. While the city may have had trouble landing the big game in the past, Blank knows it’s a very different situation this time around.

“I think the difference this time is that we have a new stadium with a significant public-private partnership,” Blank said.

While the Miami Dolphins aren’t building a brand new stadium like Arthur Blank and the Falcons or Stan Kroenke and the Los Angeles Rams, owner Stephen Ross secured another Super Bowl for the city of Miami by investing almost $500 million to renovate Dolphins Stadium, or whatever they’re calling it these days.

“The only thing better than winning the 2020 Super Bowl is playing in it and winning it,” Ross said after learning Miami would once again be home to the big game.

For the Rams who are moving back to Los Angeles to play in the city for a second time, securing the Super Bowl was a forgone conclusion. You wouldn’t have found one football analyst who would have suggested Los Angeles wouldn’t get to host the league’s biggest event, because everyone knew that a return to football in L.A. would mean a return to hosting some of the league’s premiere events with the Super Bowl being atop that short list.

For the owner who fled St. Louis and invested heavily to get his team to Los Angeles, and Inglewood specifically, the bid represents a signal from the league that his investment was a wise one.

“It shows that the communities and the owners who are willing to make these investments and stick their necks out, if you will, that it is worthwhile and they believe in them long term,” Kroenke said.

It took three ballots for the Dolphins to finally secure one of the three Super Bowl bids over the Tampa Bay Buccaneers who are also in the process of renovating Raymond James Stadium before hosting the College Football National Championship game this upcoming season.

Considering that two of the three winning bids came from cities where they will have brand new stadiums, and the way the Dolphins snuck one out against the Bucs for the third bid, it’s clear that having a new stadium or a stadium that’s been newly renovated to meet new standards, it’s a message to the other teams in football that it will take more than a nice host city to earn the league’s crown jewel.

NFL tweaks instant replay:

The NFL has made some small changes to their replay rules, but they’re minor enough that the casual fan likely won’t even notice. While some like New England Patriots head coach Bill Belichick believe absolutely everything should be reviewable by replay (and regardless of what you think about him, he’s right) the league isn’t quite ready to go there.

Where they have decided to go is to a place where NFL officials on the field can consult with the league office in real time so that “The Replay Official and designated members of the Officiating Department at the League office may consult with the on-field officials to provide information on the correct application of playing rules, including appropriate assessment of penalty yardage, proper down, and status of the game clock.”

This upcoming season, play that are now reviewable will include:

– Plays involving possession.

– Plays involving touching of either the ball or the ground.

– Plays governed by the goal line.

– Plays governed by the boundary lines.

– Plays governed by the line of scrimmage.

– Plays governed by the line to gain.

– Number of players on the field at the snap.

– Game administration: penalty enforcement, proper down, spot of a foul, status of game clock.

Jaguars rookie Jalen Ramsey will be ready for training camp:

Jacksonville Jaguars fans got a collective lump in their throats after their first-round pick Jalen Ramsey went down with a knee injury as worried fans had flashbacks of a rookie season lost when first-rounder Dante Fowler tore his ACL on his first day of practice with the team.

While Ramsey suffered a torn meniscus in his right knee that some believed could cost him significant time, NFL Media Insider Ian Rapoport reports that the Florida State Seminoles rookie corner’s agent David Mulugheta says the rookie will be ready for training camp.

After losing Fowler for the season a year ago, Jaguars head coach Gus Bradley sounded relieved to learn Ramsey shouldn’t be out an extended time.

“It sounds like come training cap he should be ready to go, full go,” Bradley said. “I’m grateful that it turned out the way it is. I think we all appreciate the news that we got.”

When he’s ready, Ramsey will join Fowler and many other new faces on what should be a vastly improved Jacksonville defense. If the team can take a step forward defensively like the offense did a year ago, the Jaguars could be one of the most improved team in football. Just don’t call them a surprise team, because literally everyone is saying this!


About Pat Donovan

Pat Donovan

Pat Donovan has covered the NFL for almost a decade and is a host and producer for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers radio flagship 620WDAE/95.3FM. Pat covers the NFC South and NFC East for Football Insiders. Follow him on Twitter, @PatDonovanNFL.