Arizona beats out Tampa, lands 2015 Super Bowl

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HOUSTON (AP) - Ah, Arizona. Just the place for the Super Bowl to thaw out after a frosty foray into the New York/New Jersey area.

The Super Bowl is heading back to the desert in 2015, one year after it will be at the mercy of winter weather in the Meadowlands. The Phoenix area was awarded the 49th Super Bowl by NFL owners Tuesday, beating the only other candidate _ Tampa, Fla.

It will be the third time the Phoenix area has hosted the game, which will be played in Glendale.

“We are thrilled to be back in Arizona,” Commissioner Roger Goodell said. “I will say it was a difficult choice.”

Phoenix won on the second ballot, prompting screams of joy from the Arizona committee.

“Everyone pulled together throughout the Phoenix area to put together a terrific package we were able to present to the owners,” Arizona Cardinals President Michael Bidwill said. “We are delighted.”

It’s difficult to be critical of the choice weather-wise: average temperature in early February in Glendale is about 60 degrees. In East Rutherford, N.J., where the first outdoor Super Bowl in a cold-weather climate will be played in 2014, the average is a slightly chillier 31 degrees.

The NFL also set Feb. 2, 2014, as the date of the Super Bowl in New Jersey; that date will not conflict with the Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia.

“It’s historically warmer on Feb. 2,” Giants owner John Mara said with a smile. He didn’t mention the possibility of snow, freezing rain, blustery winds and all the accompanying elements.

That will not be a factor in Arizona. The NFL has seemed eager to return to the Valley of the Sun since the Giants’ upset of the then-unbeaten Patriots on Feb. 3, 2008 at University of Phoenix Stadium.

Tempe, Ariz., was the 1996 host, with Dallas defeating Pittsburgh 27-17.

“This is huge for Arizona,” bid leader Mike Kennedy said. “It feels really satisfying.”

Tampa hosted the game in 1984, 1991, 2001 and 2009.

“Both cities are great sites for the Super Bowl and both had impressive bids,” added Mara, whose team has won championships in both places. “They’ve each been to the altar a few times recently and were denied. They both deserve to host a game again.”

Next year’s game is indoors in Indianapolis, followed by New Orleans in 2013 and then the Big (possibly frozen) Apple. There is speculation that the 50th championship game in 2016 will wind up in Los Angeles, where the first Super Bowl was played in 1967, if a suitable stadium is available.

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