It's almost Super Bowl Sunday! And while the Falcons have never actually won the championship game, the city does have a Super Bowl legacy — though, admittedly, not always a good one. Atlanta has twice played host to the NFL title game, once in 1994 and again in 2000, in the Georgia Dome. With the Dome's day's numbered, let's check out the legacy of the biggest game in pro football here in the ATL.
Super Bowl XXVIII
[Nate Jones sweeps the floor of the Georgia Dome in Atlanta on Jan. 29, 1994, in preparation for Sunday's Super Bowl XXVIII game against the Dallas Cowboys and the Buffalo Bills. (AP Photo/Ron Heflin) (c) 1994 The Associated Press.]
After unveiling the brand-new Georgia Dome for the 1992-1993 NFL season, Atlanta finally had its chance to host the Super Bowl. The game, played between the Dallas Cowboys and the Buffalo Bills was notable in that it was the first time the same matchup of teams happened in back-to-back years. Like the year prior, the Cowboys won the game, handing the Bills their fourth consecutive Super Bowl loss and pretty much disappointing all football fans outside Texas.
Super Bowl XXXIV
The second — and ultimately what would be the last — Super Bowl held in the Dome pitted the St. Louis Rams against the Tennessee Titans back in 2000. Even before the weekend of the game, things weren't going so well for Atlanta: Ice Storm 2000 — one of the 10 worst ice events in the U.S., according to Weather Underground — brought the city to a standstill.
While the game went on as planned, the events Sunday night were overshadowed by the murder of two men in Buckhead Village that somehow allegedly involved Baltimore Ravens linebacker Ray Lewis. While the case was never solved, it reinforced the seedy reputation of the once raucous party district and played a direct role in the closure of most of the bars in that area, which is now being overtaken by high-end development.
[Ravens linebacker Ray Lewis, left, and his attorney Max Richardson Jr., listen to the proceedings in Atlanta Municipal Court during Lewis' preliminary hearing on Tuesday, Feb. 1, 2000, in Atlanta. Lewis, a Pro Bowl linebacker, was charged in the stabbing deaths of two people shortly after the Super Bowl ended. (AP Photo/Erik S. Lesser) (c) 2000 The Associated Press.]
With Atlanta's Super Bowl legacy being one of predictable game outcomes, ice storms and murder, it's really no wonder that 16 years have passed since we've played host. But now that the demolition of the Dome is pending, the Buckhead Village entertainment district is quickly vanishing and global warming lessens the likelihood of ice, could it be time for Atlanta to host the big game again? Time will tell if Mercedes-Benz Stadium will be enough to lure the NFL's ultimate contest back to Atlanta in 2019 or soon thereafter.
[The home of Super Bowl 53... maybe. Rendering via Atlanta Falcons/AJC]