November 01, 2017 12:46 PM
Top NFL executives are in the Twin Cities for what they're calling a planning week in advance of Super Bowl LII at U.S. Bank Stadium this February.
And they are calling Minneapolis one of the most complex locations to host the big game.
One said Minneapolis presents challenges no other NFL team can relate to.
"You look at that countdown clock and we're running out of time, and in a lot of ways we're so anxious for it to just be here," said Mary Pat Augenthaler, vice president of events for the NFL.
"It's been wonderfully challenging, and it's making all of us better. We've had to re-think a lot of different things."
Augenthaler and dozens of her colleagues are reviewing what makes the Twin Cities so different.
"This Super Bowl is like a big puzzle every year, and yes this is more complex," she said.
One big factor is the stadium's location.
"Our stadium is the most urban in the league which does make it different," said Andrea Mokros, vice president of communication for the Minnesota Super Bowl Host Committee.
"The traditional stadium has acres of parking lots around the outside. Ours is smack in the middle of downtown which presents challenges."
But both the Committee and the NFL agree that while traffic and transportation downtown may be more congested, there are also advantages.
"Everything is close and you have the skyway system that folks can walk through if it's exceptionally cold," Augenthaler said.
2018 will mark just the sixth Super Bowl to be held in a cold weather market.
And NFL officials say they are preparing for anything.
"We certainly have plans and we'll be watching the weather very carefully," Augenthaler said.
"We think that the fact that our Super Bowl is different is really what makes it one of the best," Mokros added.
The NFL waited 26 years to come back to Minneapolis, having held the last Super Bowl here in early 1992.
"It's a big deal that the Super Bowl is coming back," Augenthaler said.
NFL officials will be back in the Twin Cities in December for one final visit.
Ten days of Super Bowl festivities get underway on Jan. 27. The game itself is scheduled for Feb. 4.
Updated: November 01, 2017 12:46 PM
Created: October 11, 2017 02:59 PM
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