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Quotes: Super Bowl LI Announcement Reactions

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Texans Owner Bob McNair (comments made to media in Boston)
Texans Owner Bob McNair (comments made on NFL Network)
Houston Super Bowl LI Bid Committee Chair Ric Campo (comments made on NFL Network)
Texans Head Coach Gary Kubiak
Texans WR Andre Johnson
Texans DE J.J. Watt

Texans Owner Bob McNair (comments made to media in Boston)
(opening comments) "First of all, we're delighted that Houston's going to be able to host the Super Bowl again. We were the host in 2004 and the city really loved hosting the NFL, and I think those of you who were there had a good time and we're going to see that you have a good time again in 2017. This event, in 2017, we're in a much better position to host a Super Bowl than we were then because we now have Discovery Green downtown, which is right in the center of town, a twelve-and-a-half acre park, and the (Convention) Center borders on one side. The Hilton Americas hotel is on one side. The new Marriott is going to be on the other side and there's room for sponsorship activities all around the park, so you can have all of your pregame activities centered right there in that park area and we were not able to do that before. If you recall, we had a street party on Friday at night and Saturday night in 2004. We had about 75,000 people out for each of those, but we had to close off streets and do a number of things.  Well, here we can accommodate over 100,000 people at Discovery Green without having to close off any streets, so I think the facilities are ideal for a Super Bowl. And then of course, with Reliant Park, we've got Reliant Stadium and everybody that plays there enjoys playing there; they like the facility. And we'll also have the tailgating experience out there in Reliant Center, so people can go in for the tailgating and just walk from there right across the street to the stadium. So the facilities are unsurpassed for holding this type of an event and Houston's looking forward to it and all excited. I know that it will be a very pleasurable experience for everyone."

(on the regional and international aspects of Houston's Super Bowl LI bid) "We will start with the NFL Experience the weekend prior to the game, and we will have street parties and festivities starting that weekend and we will be inviting people from all of the surrounding cities in Texas to come join in the celebration. Only 70,000 people or so are going to have a ticket, but there will be another 150,000 or 200,000 people who would love to be in the game, so what we'll be able to do is over a period of time, we can have a number of events, and hopefully we'll have three, four, 500,000 people come into the city, get a flavor of the Super Bowl experience, even though they're not going to be able to attend the game; and there will be a number of people from Mexico that come in. I think it will make for very much an international experience and a regional experience."

(on the impact of hosting Super Bowl LI for the Texans organization and for Houston) "It's one of the biggest events in the world, and I think we have to have space for, like, 1,200 media people, so I'd say that's pretty good coverage when you've got 1,200 people there, and you guys might be able to come down there for 10 days since we'll start 10 days before the game. It really is an opportunity not only to showcase the NFL, but to showcase Houston, and Houston is a beautiful city and it's a very hospitable city and it's a very prosperous city. It's really one of the most successful cities in the country, and it's an opportunity for people around the world to see what a great city Houston is."

(on if the NFL expressed any concerns over parking at Reliant Park) "No, I think that was with someone else, because we've got 26,000 parking places at Reliant Park. … We've got plenty of parking, and there's plenty of parking downtown, so that won't be an issue at all."

(on how satisfying it was to him, personally, to be able to bring another Super Bowl to Houston) "It is very satisfying. A number of people came up to me afterwards and said, 'You deserved it,' so that was nice to hear them say that. They'd had a good experience before, and a lot of good things are happening in the League, and I think they appreciate what we do as an organization. I think our organization is respected and I think that has something to do with it."

(on what he thinks tipped the scales in Houston's favor for Super Bowl LI) "Well, we hadn't had a Super Bowl since 2004, and we had bid a couple of times before and had not been successful, and I think a lot of them felt like just maybe it's Houston's time and they knew we could do a good job. From 2004 to 2017, that's 13 years, so I agree; I think it's Houston's time."

(on whether Houston could potentially host even more Super Bowls in the future) "I think so. I think there's no reason why we can't. We've got the facilities and we've got transportation. It's easy for people to get in and out of Houston, and the climate is a moderate climate. It's got everything going for it, and I think our city will do a great job in 2017, and hopefully people will want to come back again."

(on whether he feels for Miami Dolphins Stephen Ross and the South Florida bid committee) "I do, because I know Steve has worked very hard and has put a lot of effort into trying to get some renovations. It's never easy to do, and so I know how disappointed he is and I hope he's successful in getting those renovations made down there."

(on whether he dreams about having the Houston Texans play in the Super Bowl in Houston) "Well, it's never been done before, so yes. Why not? I think that's a wonderful thought. I'm more focused on 2014 for Super Bowls right now than 2017, but that's something to look forward to and work towards."

(on the next steps now that Houston has been awarded Super Bowl LI) "Well, number one, we're completing construction of the new scoreboards which stretch from one end of the end zone to the other. I forget the exact dimensions, but I think it's about 60 feet tall and 250 feet wide, or 270 feet wide. It'll be the largest scoreboard in the world, and that'll be ready in time for preseason. And then one of the things that we'll be doing with that is we can use multiple screens on that, so we want to be able to make the fans' experience there something that they don't have on television. We want it to be a special experience for them, so this gives us a resource that will help us do that."

(on whether he talked to his fellow owners about giving them VIP travel accommodations for Super Bowl LI) "We did, and that was part of our presentation, because I've gone to Super Bowls and we wait on the tarmac afterwards for six or seven hours before we could take off, and so we've got a dedicated runway at Ellington Field, so owners will be able to come in and leave without delay, so I think that'll make it a very positive experience for the owners. As all of you know, during Super Bowl week, with so many activities and so much going on, it's a little difficult to get around, and it can sort of wear you out. And people who have been to a number of these, as many of our owners have, sometimes don't attend just because it's quite an effort for them. So to the extent that we can make it easier, we'll get more of them to attend, and that was my message to them: 'Number one, thank you for voting for us; and number two, we want to make this a wonderful experience for you and we want all of you to be there.' So we'll be working at that."

(on his emotions when NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell announced that Houston would host Super Bowl LI) "Well, it was sort of a relief. I had talked to just about all of the owners before, and I had been assured that they were all voting for us, but it's a secret ballot, so you still wait for the votes to be counted. But I felt pretty good about it. I thought we were in a very good position. But you never know what will happen until everybody casts a ballot, and so I was very appreciative of owners voting for us."

(on the work done by the members of the Houston Super Bowl LI Bid Committee) "I thought they did an outstanding job. I thought our video presentation, and even though Secretary Baker (former Secretary of State James Baker) wasn't with us, he led off our video and everybody has such great respect for him, it just elevates the quality of the presentation to have someone like that saying good things about your bid and about your city. Of course, his family came to Houston in, like, 1858 or 1860 or something like that, so he is a long-time Houstonian and has great pride in the city, so we were delighted to have him. And then David Crane, who is the CEO of NRG, which owns Reliant Energy, and Reliant Energy has the naming rights on our stadium, so they were one of the first people to step up when we were trying to put our stadium deal together and enter into a sponsorship agreement that contributed greatly to our ability to finance the stadiums, so we were delighted to have David. And then Ric Campo is one of our outstanding young business leaders in Houston, and he did an outstanding job of telling them about Houston and what our capabilities are and how we would manage this project. He's been responsible for overseeing the construction of those new hotels there at the Convention Center. He has been a great civic leader in addition to being a great business leader in Houston. It was the whole committee, but we'll have thousands of people involved in this before it's all over. I don't know how many thousand, but I suspect it will be 15 or 20,000 volunteers involved."

(on what he learned from hosting Super Bowl XXXVIII in 2004) "I think the main thing is we have some resources this time around that we didn't have last time. We didn't have Discovery Green last time. We had one new hotel right downtown next to the (Convention) Center; now we've got two, so we've doubled the number of hotel rooms right there, and so some of the events were scattered around the city a little bit. I think that everyone prefers to have the events centralized as much as possible, just to eliminate travel time, and so I think that was a big positive in terms of our bid this time compared to the prior times."

Texans Owner Bob McNair (comments made on NFL Network)
(on his initial thoughts upon learning that Houston would host Super Bowl LI) "Well, we had a wonderful time in 2004 and we loved having the NFL in Houston and celebrating the Super Bowl, and I think we're even better prepared this time. It's just going to be a wonderful celebration and we just look forward to having people from all over the world come to Houston."

(on how Houston will be better prepared to host Super Bowl LI than it was in 2004) "Well, we have Discovery Green downtown now, which we did not have at that point in time, so we can have a lot of the activities prior to the game that will be right downtown. We've got two new hotels there; we've got our convention center and many of the events people can walk to. We probably can hold over 100,000 people down there on Discovery Green, and it's just going to make it very convenient for everyone to attend. We're making it more of a regional event in that it's going to last 10 days and we're inviting people from surrounding cities to come enjoy it, and also people from Mexico, so we're looking forward to really making it a big 10-day celebration."

(on how Reliant Stadium will be different than it was in 2004) "Well, we're building the largest scoreboard – we'll have the largest scoreboard in the world. It's under construction right now, and that will be ready. We'll have all of the other high-tech things that we'll need – the Wi-Fi – and of course everybody loves our stadium as it is now, so we'll just keep upgrading it as we go along. It's a place where you can have your tailgating right there on the campus of Reliant Stadium and people can go there and then just walk across to the stadium, so it makes it very convenient for everyone."

(on Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones' reaction when he told him Houston's video boards would be larger than the ones in Dallas) "I didn't tell him that until after he voted. … I know my friends and I know what motivates them, so I don't want to do anything to discourage them."

(on whether he will invite former Presidents George H.W. Bush and George W. Bush to attend Super Bowl LI) "I don't doubt that we can do that. Right now, we just have to get Senior (George H.W. Bush) feeling a little bit better. He comes to most of our games and he wouldn't miss out on this for any reason, I'm sure, so we'll have him there. But he speaks fondly of the interview (on NFL Network at Super Bowl XXXVIII) and that event."

Houston Super Bowl LI Bid Committee Chair Ric Campo (comments made on NFL Network)
(on how it feels to find out that Houston was chosen to host Super Bowl LI) "It's really good. It's like an overtime win for us, really, when you get down to it. We're really excited about bringing the Super Bowl to Houston. We're going to put on a party that no one has seen in a long time there, so that will be a lot of fun."

(on what factors gave Houston's bid the advantage over South Florida's) "I think that Houston just has a better package right now. We have world-class assets; Reliant Stadium is an incredible, first-class facility; and then the city overall has really been rebuilt over the last 10 years and is just growing and the people are great. I think you put that whole package together and it's a great package for the NFL."

(on "Super Bowl El Centro") "'Super Bowl El Centro' is all about diversity; it's all about celebrating the diversity that we have in Houston. We're one of the most ethnically diverse cities in America, and 'Super Bowl El Centro' is designed to bring people together, and that's what we're really good at. We're going to have a 35-acre park with Discovery Green right in the middle, and we're going to have interactive activities and all kinds of events for people who don't have game tickets to really experience the Super Bowl."

Texans Head Coach Gary Kubiak
(on his initial reaction when he found out that Houston had been awarded Super Bowl LI) "I was sitting in my office grading practice and watching NFL Network, but my initial reaction is congratulations to all the people that put in the hard work, the committee that worked so hard to give us the opportunity to get it back here in Houston. I know that there was a lot that was put into it, and we're rewarded today, so I'm just very proud of those people and I know our city's very excited about the opportunity, once again, to host."

(on what it means to him as a native Houstonian for his home town to host the Super Bowl) "That's pretty cool. I can remember as a kid, what was it, '74 in Rice Stadium? I was not here when y'all hosted the Super Bowl last time – that was when I was in Denver – so for me that will be very exciting to be back home and us to host it. Our franchise has come a long, long way and as the coach of this football team, it's a great day for our organization and our city as well."

Texans WR Andre Johnson
(on what it would mean for Houston to host Super Bowl LI) "I think it'll be great. The last time they had it here was great, so I think it will be great for the city."

Texans DE J.J. Watt
(on Houston being named the host city for Super Bowl LI) "It's awesome. It's great for the city. It's obviously great for the organization, but Texas is a football state. Football and Texas are synonymous with each other. Our fans here and the fan base and the unbelievable amount of support for this team and this city, it's going to be great. From everything that I've heard, the first Super Bowl was great here. The next one is going to be even better."

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