Stadium’s roof to open for Super Bowl pre-game ceremonies, but close for game

The Big Game

ATLANTA (AP) — The NFL has announced plans for Mercedes-Benz Stadium’s retractable roof to be open for the pregame show, including a flyover by the Air Force Thunderbirds, and then closed for the game.

NFL spokesman Brian McCarthy says the plan is to have the roof closed for the teams’ pregame warmups on the field. The retractable roof then will open for the pregame ceremony.

McCarthy says the plan could be affected by a change in weather.

The Thunderbirds practiced the flyover with the roof open on Saturday night as close as possible to the planned time for Sunday’s pregame show.

There was scattered rain in Atlanta on Sunday morning. The forecast called temperatures in the 50s for the start of the game at 6:30 p.m.

The city of Atlanta had to wait 19 years and build a $1.5 billion stadium to get its third Super Bowl.

Falcons President and CEO Rich McKay is confident it won’t take nearly that long for the big game to return to the A-T-L for the fourth time.

McKay says the city and team made it clear that Mercedes-Benz Stadium was constructed with the idea of hosting multiple Super Bowls, not just a single title game.

He expects Atlanta to become a regular part of the Super Bowl rotation with cities that are warmer in the winter, such as Miami, New Orleans, Phoenix and perhaps Los Angeles. He points to all the downtown facilities that are within walking distance of each other, including the stadium, numerous hotels, the Georgia World Congress Center, State Farm Arena and Centennial Olympic Park. All played major roles in this week’s Super Bowl activities.

Atlanta hosted the college football championship game last year, and the NCAA men’s Final Four will be at Mercedes-Benz Stadium in 2020. The city is also expected to have a major role in soccer’s 2026 World Cup.

McKay says: “On the big-event scale, we can be as good a host as anybody, because we have the airport and we have the footprint to really deliver. I hope that’s what this week shows.”

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