Atlanta swarded 1994 Super Bowl

MIKE RABUN UPI Sports Writer

IRVING, Texas -- The National Football League Wednesday awarded the 1994 Super Bowl to the city of Atlanta and the yet-to-be built Georgia Dome, a $210 million facility scheduled for completion in time for the 1992 season.

League owners also received a report from Management Council Executive Director Jack Donlan, who said a new contract offer had been prepared to offer to whatever player group wanted to listen to it.


'It takes two to dance, though,' Donlan said. 'We want to double the benefits to the players. I think the players want their benefits doubled. I don't see where there is any disagreement.

'As it is now, the owners are putting the money in their pocket. From their standpoint, there is not a lot of downside to that.'

NFL Commissioner Paul Tagilabue added he thought players were being betrayed by NFLPA officials who refused to bargain and who have said their union is decertified.

'I think it is fairly obvious that with the television money we are receiving there is a chance to do something,' Tagliabue said. 'The union is in hiding and is doing a disservice to its members. It is not doing its job as a union.'


The NFLPA, under the guidance of Gene Upshaw, faces a possible challenge from a rival union Larry Csonka hopes to form. Csonka pledges to have a collective bargaining agreement within 90 days after his group wins approval from the players.

Atlanta received at least 21 of the needed 28 votes on the fourth ballot in a competition with Miami, Tampa and New Orleans for Super Bowl XXVIII.

It will be the first Super Bowl for Atlanta, although Tagliabue said all paperwork involved in the Georgia Dome's construction had to be concluded by Sept. 1 in order to make the deal final.

'We felt awful good about it going in,' Atlanta Falcons owner Rankin Smith said. 'But you never know what can happen in a secret ballot.

'I think a lot of factors entered into this. But if there was one overriding factor, it had to be the new stadium.'

The Georgia Dome will seat 70,500 people and, though it is scheduled to be completed well before the 1994 NFL title game, the league gave itself an escape clause in case construction does not begin on time.

'Those involved into the project are confident it will be built on schedule,' Tagliabue said. 'But if all the necessary paperwork for construction is not ready by Sept. 1, we will take the matter up again at our October meeting.'


Among the four cities in contention, only Atlanta has never held a Super Bowl.

'This will be great for our city's self-esteem, image and economy,' said Atlanta Mayor Maynard Jackson, who took part in Atlanta's presentation to the NFL. 'We owe a great deal of credit to Rankin Smith. He is a 24-carat gold asset to our city and we thank him for all the work he has done.

'The 1994 Super Bowl will be the best ever, we guarantee it.'

The Super Bowl was the first major event landed for the Georgia Dome, which is the centerpiece of Atlanta's efforts to lure major sporting events to the city.

Atlanta is also hoping to grab a future NCAA Final Four and is the United States' bidder for the 1996 Summer Olympics.

'I've said all along that the NFL has to reward various entities who have created facilities for the league's use and this stadium was a key,' Smith said.

'I sweated this decision out, though. You never know what is going to happen.'

When Tagliabue made the announcement, Mayor Jackson let out a whoop and then yelled, 'Alllllll right!'

Philadelphia Eagles owner Norman Braman, chairman of the Super Bowl site selection committee, said none of the losing bidders should feel disappointed.


'All of these cities are great cities,' Braman said. 'Their track record shows they know how to run great sports events and know how to run the Super Bowl.

'They will all have Super Bowls in the future, you can be sure of that.'

Next season's Super Bowl will be held in Tampa, followed by Minneapolis in 1992 and Phoenix in 1993.

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