Tampa changed forever 30 years ago on this date

8:15 PM, Jan 22, 2014   |    comments
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Tampa, Florida -- The Tampa Bay area was changed forever on this date in 1984 when the area hosted its first Super Bowl.

The old Tampa Stadium, "The Big Sombrero," was the scene of one of the biggest events to ever hit the Tampa Bay area, as 30 years ago on January 22, Tampa hosted Super Bowl XVIII, and it changed the area forever.

Most people who came to visit got a great impression of the area. That is exactly the reaction t the city was hoping it would get. While the game was terrible, as the Raiders blew out the Redskins 38-9, the hope was the city would shine.

Those putting on the game were also hoping it would lead to more Super Bowls, as it did in 1991, 2001, and 2009, and more national attention like the area got by landing the Republican National Convention.

But leading up to the game there was concern about the area being able to handle the traffic on the roads and the traffic at Tampa International Airport. More than 400 private jets came into town for the game.

And if the Super Bowl had been a super flop, those backing the effort to bring the game here realized Tampa would forever be seen as a small time town, where people still lined up to see celebrities as they did in 1984. Back then, a crowd gathered in front of the downtown Hyatt in hopes of getting a glimpse of Tom Selick.

And while the weather that week was less than ideal, the area pulled everything else off without a hitch and left a good impression in most visitors. As one man said as he was leaving at the airport, "I tell you, I probably had the best two days of my life. I had the wildest time I can imagine."

That Super Bowl week lead to a super change in Tampa. The Skyline soon became filled with skyscrapers. The Convention Center, the Performing Arts Center, and the Forum were built, and major events are now regular happenings. And the catalyst was that football game played 30 years ago in Tampa Stadium.

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