The state of Louisiana may have to wait for their next Super Bowl if the biggest game of the season has to be moved. The 2024 game is scheduled to be played in New Orleans, but it could end up being moved if the NFL switches to a new 17-game regular season.
Due to the newly agreed upon collective bargaining agreement, the NFL will switch to a 17-game season at some time between 2021 and 2023. The league will switch to a 14-team expanded playoff beginning in 2020.
It is that agreement which could cause New Orleans to lose the 2024 Super Bowl and see the game moved to another city for that year.
According to New Orleans.Football, the additional regular season game would cause the Super Bowl to be moved from February 3 to February 11 that year. If that happens, there is the possibility of a conflict with Mardi Gras season, which runs two or three weeks before Fat Tuesday.
In 2024, Mardi Gras Day falls on February 25.
New Orleans would not automatically lose their bid for the Super Bowl, but they would have to wait a year or two before hosting the big game. Moving the game from its original date and location is still not a confirmed decision, and the NFL may leave everything as it currently stands.
According to ESPN, the NFL is working with the Greater New Orleans Sports Foundation and the New Orleans Saints on a contingency plan. All of the involved parties knew this was a possibility, and discussions took place during the 2018 bidding process when New Orleans was awarded its 11th Super Bowl.
Saints spokesperson Greg Bensel released a statement detailed the ongoing discussions and possible options for the future.
“The Bid Committee, the New Orleans Saints and NFL worked together to build in contingencies if a potential conflict with Mardi Gras should affect the Super Bowl date. Mutually agreed-upon terms during the bid process granted assurances that the NFL and Host Committee would explore all options for still hosting the game in 2024, or, agreeing to host the Super Bowl in a future year when the citywide calendar permits.”
Tampa, Los Angeles, and Glendale, Arizona, are the cities hosting the next three Super Bowls. There are no known conflicts that would come up if the NFL switches to the 17-game season.
The last time the big game was in New Orleans was Super Bowl XLVII, which saw the Baltimore Ravens defeat the San Francisco 49ers, 34-31. Many will remember that game as the “Blackout Bowl” due to the power outage, which caused the Mercedes-Benz Superdome to go dark in the third quarter.