NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell told a crowd on Tuesday that by 2017, Reliant will be 15 years old and therefore in need of some upgrades like digital scoreboards. Texans owner Bob McNair says the city must look at all its venues when wooing the NFL, and on the top of that list is the Astrodome.
At a luncheon in downtown Tuesday afternoon, Goodell talked about only one facility as he addressed Houston's bid for Super Bowl 51.
"The stadium is critical to any Super Bowl bid. That's our stage," he said.
But McNair is clearly concerned about the one that sits right next to it.
"We need to come to the conclusion as to what's going to be done with the Astrodome. It's not a pretty sight sitting there now and it's noticeable and people comment on it, so we need to make a decision and move on," McNair said.
Once again, what to do with the Astrodomee; this time as it affects the city's chance of hosting a third Super Bowl in 2017, and leading the charge for urgency is McNair.
"It's just another issue and the better the facilities are that we can make available to the league, the more attractive Houston is as a site," McNair said.
And the so-called Eighth Wonder of the World, as it is, is useless. It's a costly health hazard that's been closed for five years.
Demolition and repurposing are on the table. Harris County commissioners want the people to decide at the ballot box sometime next year. It can still fit into the bid timeline, says Greg Ortale with the Greater Houston Convention and Visitor's Bureau, but addressing it is a must.
"I think if we don't address it in the bid, I think it could be a problem," Ortale said.
But he's hopeful it wouldnt be a deciding factor.
"There's so many other assets that we have to put on the table that whether or not the Astrodome is there, or not there, I think is going to be secondary but we do need to address it," he said.
And the Astrodome for many Houstonians is an emotional subject. The Harris County Sports and Convention Corporation points out it did not keep Houston from winning the 2004 Super Bowl.
NFL authorities will decide on Houston's bid in 2014.