NFL Reportedly Securing Backup Stadiums for Super Bowl LVI

Super Bowl LVI is intended to be a showcase for the NFL's new stadium in Southern California, but the league is reportedly considering moving the championship game if COVID restrictions in California make it difficult to play there. A NFL spokesman confirmed the NFL looked into backup venues for the Feb. 13 game as the league does each year. A source in the Dallas Cowboys front office told WFAA the Cowboys and the league have discussed using AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas as an alternate venue.

The NFL asked "about a date if [the] stadium is available," the Cowboys source told WFAA Wednesday. "But that's all I've ever heard. They could be just covering all options just in case." The game is still scheduled to be be played at SoFi Stadium, which opened last year and is home to the Los Angeles Chargers and Rams.

NFL spokesman Brian McCarthy later said inquiring about alternative venues for the Super Bowl was standard procedure. "As part of our standard contingency planning process that we conduct for all regular and postseason games, we have contacted several clubs to inquire about stadium availability in the event we cannot play the Super Bowl as scheduled due to weather-related issues or unforeseen circumstances," McCarthy said. "Our planning process for the Super Bowl in Los Angeles is ahead of schedule and we look forward to hosting the Super Bowl there to culminate another fantastic NFL season for our fans and clubs."

A City of Arlington source also told WFAA city officials sent a message to the NFL on their own in mid-December to let the league now the city could host another Super Bowl. Arlington hosted Super Bowl XLV in 2011. AT&T Stadium also does not have any event scheduled for Feb. 13.

Los Angeles has not hosted the Super Bowl since Super Bowl XXVII in 1993. During Sunday's Chargers-Broncos game, over 70,000 fans were in SoFi Stadium as COVID restrictions in California are not as strict as they were last year. However, the Omicron variant surge has seen thousands of new cases in recent days. Los Angeles County reported almost 10,000 new positive COVID cases on Christmas Eve. The Los Angeles County Department of Public Health is also now requiring visitors age 5 and older to show proof of COVID vaccination or a negative COVID test to enter any theme park.

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The 2021 Super Bowl was supposed to be played at SoFi Stadium before it was moved to Tampa, where just 25,000 people were in the stands. The 2023 game will be in Phoenix, while Las Vegas has the 2024 game. The 2025 Super Bowl was awarded to New Orleans.