Lockout not slowing down Indy's Super Bowl plans
INDIANAPOLIS – Mark Miles doesn't expect the NFL's lockout to be settled until at least this summer.
The 2012 Super Bowl host committee chairman is still moving ahead, as scheduled, with his plans.
As the countdown to February's Super Bowl hit 300 days Monday, Miles described the progress made over the last three months and addressed the one issue everyone is asking — whether the lockout could scuttle the city's first Super Bowl.
"There are probably scenarios where you may miss some preseason games and you may even miss some regular-season games and the league officials will have to define what constitutes a season for them," Miles said. "So we're doing our thing and we are doing what needs to be done and not let it (the lockout) become a distraction."
Organizers don't have a choice.
With $35 million of construction projects under way on the city's near east side, another major construction project in full throttle downtown and 60 committees trying to fine-tune details, the host committee is busy.
Miles said league officials gave the host committee high markets after a recent meeting in New York regarding the plans. Back in Indy, the biggest question is whether the game will be played as scheduled on Feb. 5. League officials also asked the committee to keep the following week open in case there was a postponement.
Beyond that, the options are, well, limited.
"There are two dates — Feb. 5 and Feb. 12, that's it," Miles said when asked about playing the game on another date.
But Miles does not expect a delay.
He spends part of each day reading reports out of Minnesota, New York and Washington and trying to understand all the twists and turns that could Indy's big game.
On Monday, U.S. District Judge Susan Richard Nelson ordered the two sides to participate in court-ordered mediation — a move that could help the owners and players reach a speedier resolution. Or not.
"Judge Nelson has said she will rule in a couple of weeks and then you figure that either party is likely to appeal, and what's likely to result, I think you're looking at the summer, at least, before we have clarity on this," Miles said.
Miles insists he has not been getting inside information from league officials, though he does have a friendship with Colts owner Jim Irsay that dates to 1984 after Irsay's late father, Robert, moved the team to Indy from Baltimore. Miles said he has been communicating with the Colts during the lockout, and Irsay has been one of the biggest public supporters for next year's Super Bowl.
"I have great optimism that we will have a season, we will have a Super Bowl," Irsay said last month, shortly after the lockout began. "But you can't just say optimism will get things done. There's a lot of heavy lifting that has to get done."
Host committee president Allison Melangton acknowledged Monday the committee dealing with weather concerns has met three times in the last six weeks, and two other committees are looking extensively as transportation and law enforcement issues.
The practice bubble on the city's east side, where the NFC champions will work during Super Bowl week is up and functioning, too.
"We're pulling the plan together and executing it, regardless of the labor situation," Miles said. "We said it was more likely than not that there would be a lockout and that it would drag on for a long period of time, and that's exactly what is happening. There are some who believe it will be late summer or fall before the labor situation is resolved, and that is our opinion, too.
"But we've said for some time that we would be prepared for Indy to host the Super Bowl on Feb. 5 and that is what we are doing."