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Fact Check: The Super Bowl Rotation Myth

Statement: “Please build them one. They’ll have a Super Bowl there every five years,” ESPN personality Chris Berman on the Chargers stadium search during the NFL Draft, April 30.

Determination: UnfoundedUnfounded

Analysis: It was the Chargers’ turn to pick in the first round of the annual NFL Draft Thursday night and the ESPN talking heads were doing what they they do best. Longtime NFL analyst Chris Berman turned the conversation to the future of the team in San Diego. He started with a plea to fans about a new stadium.

“Please build them one,” Berman said.

He followed that up with a reason why a stadium would be worth San Diegans while.

“They’ll have a Super Bowl there every five years,” he said.

But Berman was actually repeating a myth about Super Bowl rotation that’s been widely disseminated, but still just a myth.

It used to be that San Diego and other warm-weather locales would host a Super Bowl relatively regularly. But with many cities building brand-new stadiums, NFL officials have said it’s unlikely that the Super Bowl will continue to be hosted in the same few cities that it has in the past, according to Lisa Halverstadt’s Super Bowl myth-busting mission [1] last month:

In the past, the NFL held the Super Bowl in the same handful of cities. Not anymore, as even Chargers stadium point man Mark Fabiani acknowledged [2] earlier this year: “Washington D.C. wants a Super Bowl, Chicago wants one. San Francisco is getting one. Atlanta will get one with its new stadium. Same for Minnesota,” he said. And his kicker: “The idea of a rotation is a myth,” he said.

NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell said the same during a press conference before last year’s Super Bowl.

“I believe we need to get to as many communities as possible and give them the opportunity to share in not only the emotional benefits but also the economic benefits,” Goodell said [3]. “It helps the NFL, it helps our fans and it helps grow our game.”

ESPN public relations couldn’t be reached for comment on Berman’s claim.

We can’t say Berman is wrong because we can’t predict the future. But we can say there’s no evidence to support his assertion that a new stadium would bring the Super Bowl to San Diego every five years. In fact, the evidence suggests otherwise. His claim is unfounded.

If you disagree with our determination or analysis, please express your thoughts in the comments section of this blog post. Explain your reasoning.

You can also e-mail new Fact Check suggestions to factcheck@voiceofsandiego.org [4]. What claim should we explore next?