There are tons of Super Bowl stories making the media rounds, but I couldn't care less for most of them. We've spent an entire season discussing the strengths and weaknesses of each team.
Instead, I like to read stories that delve into a little NFL history or discuss issues that the talking heads are not covering. I found a few of those stories, focusing mostly on Seattle and wanted to share them.
Apparently, the original Seattle NFL expansion bid was to be named the "Kings." Over at SportsLogos.net, there is a great story about that ill-fated expansion bid. It also takes a stab at guessing what the Kings logo would have evolved into after rebranding in the 1980s and 2000s.
And, even after being awarded a franchise after all, Seattle almost lost that franchise in the 1990s. The Seattle Times wrote a lengthy article on that issue back in October. It is also worth checking out.
I hope SportsLogos.net or some other site publishes an extensive history of the 1993 expansion that gave us the Panthers and Jaguars. Baltimore, Memphis, and St. Louis were the other candidates that year. While looking up information about that expansion era, I found a great site for archiving NFL expansion candidates for each state.
I highly recommend checking out that site and following SportsLogos.net if you're into the history and evolution of sports uniforms and logos.
Meanwhile, back in September, Cover32 ranked the franchises from most likely to relocate to least likely. Just shy of two decades after almost moving to Southern California, the Seahawks were listed as "untouchable" in these rankings. And the Broncos were listed as "pretty much untouchable." But Denver probably belongs in the "untouchable" camp for several reasons. Denver lives and breathes the Broncos. It's one of the fastest growing cities in the country and the top destination for young professionals. And it's not like they're truly competing for fans with the Nuggets, Avalanche, Rockies, and Rapids. The NFL is king. I've always had a soft spot for Denver because I was born there and used to visit often. I just don't see how it could lose its signature sports franchise.
As an aside, though, if I had to make an argument for a city where the Broncos could relocate, it's Oklahoma City. Broncos owner Pat Bowlen graduated from the University of Oklahoma with a business degree and then graduated from the University of Oklahoma College of Law. But he's not actually from Oklahoma, and it's unclear if he still has connections to the state. Plus, he owns two other professional franchises in Denver. So it doesn't look like he's a guy ready to pack up.
Still, I'm not the only one who thinks Oklahoma City could gain an NFL franchise. Cover32 lists 10 possible NFL cities on page two of its article and EliteDaily just listed 10 potential NFL cities back in November. And both lists include Oklahoma City.
The OIL is made up primarily of Oklahomans, so we know how much OKC has grown. An NFL team would be fantastic from a personal standpoint. Plus, it's not a stretch to think that it would attract season ticket holders from Wichita (closer to OKC than to Kansas City; metro population: over 600,000) Tulsa (metro population: over 900,000), and Fort Smith (closer to OKC than to Kansas City, New Orleans, Dallas, or Nashville; metro population: over 290,000) to the north and east and Wichita Falls (metro population: over 150,000), Lawton (metro population: over 120,000), Amarillo (closer to OKC than to Dallas or Denver; metro population: over 230,000) and the whole of western Oklahoma to the south and west. That's a pool of over 3.5 million people to sell tickets. Are you telling me savvy marketers in charge of an NFL franchise couldn't sell 50,000 tickets in a market of 3.5 million people?
What would be the name of this hypothetical NFL franchise? Cover32 lists the Raiders as a good candidate to relocate to OKC but I just don't see it. If the Adams family would allow it, I'd love to see a resurrection of the "Oilers" moniker. But the Titans still hold the rights to the Oilers name and, if they wouldn't sell those rights to the new Houston franchise back in 2002, odds are OKC doesn't stand a chance. The AHL's OKC Barons have a great logo, but that name is taken. Roughnecks? I'd be partial to that name. I like team mascots that tell you something about the people the teams represent. And for an OKC NFL team to succeed it will have to speak to the area as a whole. Oklahoma, north and west Texas, Kansas, and west Arkansas can all relate to the name "Roughnecks."
Plus, the major corporate sponsors in Oklahoma would love the name. Think of the branding and marketing opportunities sponsors like Chesapeake and Devon would jump all over. Oil field workers all across Oklahoma, north and west Texas, Arkansas and Kansas would feel "ownership" of the name. It would be Oklahoma's "Packers," "Steelers" or "49ers." But now I'm getting ahead of myself.
I'd love to see it happen. And the Thunder has shown that we have the corporate sponsors to support a professional sports franchise. The question is if we have enough to cover two, though. And you'd be naive to think that the Thunder ownership group would welcome an NFL team in their market. They would lobby and fight like hell to keep one away. Plus, the Thunder could always threaten to relocate if it's not the only game in town.
Would the powers-that-be in Norman and Stillwater block an NFL team from competing with the Sooners and Cowboys for football fans? Football is big business for both schools, so it's not crazy to consider what role the state's two largest universities would play in the politics surrounding an NFL expansion franchise.
And where would a stadium even go? Who would pay for it? These are all questions that pump the brakes on NFL ambitions. So, for now, my dream of an NFL franchise in Oklahoma City is just that: a dream.
Back to the playing field, UniWatch Blog has a piece about what, if any, effect the teams' uniform colors will have on visibility in a cold weather Super Bowl with possible snow showers.
Finally, I read that Super Bowl tickets aren't selling at normal prices because the teams aren't "sexy" (although the cold weather could have something to do with it). I just don't understand. I cannot wait for this matchup. It should be a fantastic game between two incredible teams. No one "lucked out" to get here. These are the teams we expected to be here, and the teams I wanted to be here. Enjoy, everyone.