Officials representing AT&T Stadium in Arlington, site of the first national championship game of the playoff era (Jan. 12, 2015), refocused their efforts on later dates after getting a strong indication that playoff organizers did not want to hold the title game in same venue more than once in the first three years of its existence. So the earliest the contest could return to Arlington is 2018, a date being considered for a bid.
Four communities are under consideration to host the Jan. 11, 2016 game: Glendale, Ariz. (University of Phoenix Stadium), Jacksonville, Fla. (EverBank Field), New Orleans (Mercedes-Benz Superdome) and Tampa Bay (Raymond James Stadium).
Six communities, including San Antonio (Alamodome), have submitted bids to host the Jan. 9, 2017 contest. The other five bidders: Bay Area (Levi’s Stadium), Minneapolis (Vikings Stadium), Jacksonville, Fla. (EverBank Field), South Florida (Sun Life Stadium) and Tampa Bay (Raymond James Stadium). Two of the stadiums bidding to host the 2017 game, the Bay Area and Minneapolis venues, are future NFL facilities that are still under construction.
Venues for the 2016 and 2017 games are expected to be announced later this year.
_ Jimmy Burch