Arizona Super Bowl host committee chairman Mike Kennedy (left) and president Bob Sullivan (right) address the media Monday about Super Bowl XLII.
Bob Sullivan admits he was in the University of Phoenix Stadium stands Sunday evening starting to worry.
"Oh my God," the president of the Super Bowl host committee thought. "It's the lowest-scoring Super Bowl after three quarters. People are going to say it's boring."
And then it changed – and for Sullivan and host committee chairman Mike Kennedy, the game itself became the perfect ending for years worth of work put into Super Bowl XLII.
"You can prepare all you want but sometimes you get lucky and I think we got pretty lucky," Sullivan said.
Now, though, it's over. Monday, the two took part in a press conference and ceremonial football handoff to the Tampa host committee. And they pondered what comes next.
"It's not so much a relief as it is sad in a way," Sullivan said. "We had a lot of fun putting this on. I have a great staff. It's kind of like an election campaign. All of a sudden, it's post-election day, and it's like, 'Well, now what do we do?' "
Said Kennedy, "It was an off-the-charts experience."
In "real" life, Kennedy remains a lawyer for the firm of Gallagher and Kennedy. Sullivan, a one-time executive at ABC-15 in Phoenix, plans to dig back into his fairly new consulting firm he put on hiatus to take his host committee position.
First, there are final reports to finish about Super Bowl XLII. And soon – within the next seven-to-10 days – there will have to be a decision made whether Arizona will chase the 2012 Super Bowl. Those bids are due April 1st, a difficult timeline with which to deal.
Kennedy said he wants to stay in some role for future Super Bowl committees. He wants to use the expertise he learned for this Super Bowl – particularly in the fund-raising area – to help Arizona going forward.
Kennedy noted that, having been on the front lines of the money issue, the private sector believes more public funding should be used in putting on a Super Bowl and Arizona will have to change its approach to remain competitive for Super bids.
Of the $17 million the host committee raised, between $3 million and $4 million came from public funds. By contrast, the Dallas/Arlington bid that won the 2011 game is talking about getting $10 million from public funds (and perhaps $30 million total) thanks to new Texas legislation, Kennedy said.
But he also wants to continue because he believes hosting Super Bowls is important for the community.
"I enjoy it," Kennedy said. "Somebody has to do it. I am honored I was asked to do it. I have a lot of pride. This is not something I sought, but I am really happy I did it and it turned out as well as it did."
Sullivan, who ran the day-to-day operations of the committee, said he wasn't sure what his future might be in terms of further Super Bowls.
"I kind of got into this pie-eyed," Sullivan said. "It wasn't something I was seeking and I was kind of riding the wave in on the boogie board. I am standing on the beach now and I am kind of saying, 'I don't know, do I want to ride the wave again?' Now, first, someone has to say, 'Here's the boogie board again.'
"I looked at this as a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. We wanted to knock the ball out of the park, and I think we did. I just want to take some time and take some stock."
Kennedy did a quick reflection himself Sunday, as the final fourth-down pass of Patriots quarterback Tom Brady fell incomplete to the turf.
"My thought," Kennedy said, "was 'We did it.' " * * * Contact Darren Urban at firstname.lastname@example.org. Posted 2/4/08.