Bud Grant hopes he’s around for 2018 Super Bowl
By Chris Tomasson
St. Paul Pioneer Press
MINNEAPOLIS — Bud Grant turned 87 Tuesday and got a nice birthday present.
Minneapolis was awarded Super Bowl LII, to be played in the Vikings’ new stadium in February 2018. The legendary Vikings coach, who then would be 90, sure wants to be there.
“I hope I’m around,” Grant said shortly after Minneapolis beat out New Orleans and Indianapolis in voting by NFL owners in Atlanta. “That will be a bonus if I’m there.”
Grant coached the Vikings from 1967-83 and 1985. He took them to four Super Bowls but lost them all. While he downplayed it, Grant did play a role in Minnesota’s winning bid, appearing in a promotional video shown to NFL owners.
“I’m happy for the Vikings, certainly, and Minnesota’s going to benefit, and I’m a benefactor of all of that,” said Grant, who lives in Bloomington. “I had nothing to do with it other than a cameo appearance on the TV. But other than that, everybody’s happy now.”
Also thrilled about Tuesday’s news was former Vikings defensive end Jim Marshall, who played in those four Super Bowls. He was vacationing in Florida when he heard the news.
“I’m excited about it,” Marshall said. “It’s a great event, and it’s going to be a great venue. It’s going to bring a lot of money into the city.”
Minneapolis was host to Super Bowl XXVI in January 1992. Marshall said that kind of exposure is a big asset to the Twin Cities.
“It’s a chance to show off everything that we have here, with our winter sports,” he said.
Of course, the game will be played indoors in a sparkling new stadium scheduled to open in 2016.
Marshall, who lives in St. Louis Park, is one of a number of notable former Vikings who stayed in the Twin Cites. Center Mick Tingelhoff, a four-time Super Bowl participant who lives in Lakeville, called Tuesday’s news “great for the Twin Cities” that will provide publicity “you can’t buy.”
Running back Chuck Foreman, a three-time Super Bowl participant who lives in Eden Prairie, said, “We’ve got a cold-weather city, but we’ve got a great new stadium” that will be a showcase.
With so many recognizable former players in the area, Foreman said the Vikings and NFL should take advantage of that in promoting Super Bowl LII. He said not much of that was done before Super Bowl XXVI.
“There’s so much great history with the guys,” Foreman said. “I think they should take advantage of using us to promote and to do things and to get ready. There’s no time like now to start doing that. … It’s like a no-brainer to me.”
Minneapolis beat out favored New Orleans on the final ballot to get the game. That means hall of famer James Lofton figures he will have to adjust his plans.
“I was looking forward to eating some gumbo,” Lofton said. “I’ll have to find a place that serves gumbo in Minnesota.”
Lofton has broadcast the past five Super Bowls as a radio sideline reporter for Westwood One and expects to be on site for Super Bowl XLII. Lofton played in three Super Bowls as a star NFL wide receiver, including for the Buffalo Bills in their 37-24 loss to the Washington Redskins at the Metrodome in Super Bowl XXVI.
“It’s a great city,” Lofton said. “I obviously know the (Twin Cities) a little bit, playing for the Packers (from 1978-86). Big games are exciting. They bring people into town. … Obviously, the weather can be a factor for people coming into town. But I’m pretty sure there will be plenty to do. … And at least Minnesota knows how to handle snow.”
The Pioneer Press is a media partner with Forum News Service.