MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO)– The last time Minneapolis played host to the Super Bowl back in 1992, things looked a lot different.
The game was played in the Metrodome, the Washington Redskins beat the Buffalo Bills and President Donald J. Trump was just a spectator, admiring the Land of 10,000 Lakes.
“I think it’s a great city. The people out here are just great,” Trump told WCCO-TV cameras in 1992.
On Monday morning, the wait for another Super Bowl game came to an end as the ball was officially passed from Houston to Minneapolis, 363 days away from the big game.
“This is the first Super Bowl 52 ball. You are on the clock now, Minnesota,” said NFL Commissioner Roger Goddell.
The Minnesota Super Bowl Committee ventured to Houston this year to check out everything from travel to security to make sure everything goes smoothly in 2018. An estimated 1 million people are expected to come to Minnesota for the big game.
At the official “Hand Off” press conference Monday morning in Houston, they took the opportunity to introduce the country to Minnesota with a video that highlighted iconic landmarks and celebrities, alongside regular residents.
They want to stress big game isn’t just about the Twin Cities or a brand new stadium, but rather the entire state.
“The opportunity to showcase Minnesota for us is a chance to bring the entire state into the process. Starting today, we are beginning our 52 weeks of celebration and we are moving it all around the state to make sure Minnesotans have the chance to share their story,” said U.S. Bank CEO Richard Davis.
For the next year, the North Star State will be transformed into the “Bold North” as the big game prepares to move to a chillier climate.
“Welcome to the North! We are going north, so bring your parkas and we will welcome you as warmly as you can possibly imagine,” said Maureen Bausch, the 2018 Super Bowl CEO.
Kristen Montag of Meet Minneapolis just returned from Houston, where she observed the challenges of handling a huge crowd.
“It’s really a 10-day festival. It’s everything celebrating football, celebrating the destination — so it will be celebrating Minnesota,” she said. “They had an Uber lot set up, so if you were to use an Uber to get around, you had to go to the lot rather than just getting picked up anywhere.”
Montag also says she saw how much help volunteers provided.
“There were 10,000 volunteers all over town, helping direct, take pictures, get you to places you wanted to go,” she said. “They also had a lot of police in force, and everything seemed very smooth.”
The host committee also announced how communities across Minnesota will benefit from the big game.
“Most importantly we will start our 52 weeks of giving on Wednesday,” committee representative Maureen Bausch said. “With the help of the NFL and all our community partners we will give out 52 grants to places in Minnesota that need help.”
Those grants will all focus on the health and wellness of kids and families.
The Minnesotan Super Bowl Host Committee is putting on several events this week, which has officially been declared “Super Bowl LII Hand-Off Week” by Gov. Mark Dayton. There are festivities scheduled at U.S. Bank Stadium and the Mall of America, all designed to help get people excited for the big game.
The week will culminate with a “Show Us Your Bold” rally at 5 p.m. Friday at the Mall of America’s Rotunda and will feature Vikings players and community leaders.
— Governor Mark Dayton (@GovMarkDayton) February 6, 2017
Beginning at 6:00 p.m. Monday, U.S. Bank Stadium will be lit up in purple, green and blue to mark the countdown to the next Super Bowl. Those are the “Bold North” colors. The I-35W Bridge and the Lowry Avenue Bridge in Minneapolis will also be lit up.