It's going to be a lot different than 1985. I know that much.
In 1985, the only other time the Super Bowl was played in the Bay Area, all seats were bleacher seats at Stanford Stadium. Some of those seats were built on dirt. Tailgate parties and hospitality tents were scattered across the campus and some people got lost trying to find them, especially afterward in the dark. There were bitter feelings among some in the South Bay because, even though companies from San Jose and Silicon Valley had contributed money to help land the game, the NFL money was spent almost entirely in San Francisco and hotel rooms near the stadium went unsold.
From what I saw Tuesday when the Bay Area landed Super Bowl L, none of those things will be an issue this time. The new stadium in Santa Clara is the most huge part of that. But I really think this could be a watershed moment for the way people look at sports in Northern California -- and a significant thing for regional cooperation in general.
Naturally, everyone involved in the bid effort was smiling and giddy to hear the NFL will bring the world's third-biggest sporting event (behind only the Olympics and World Cup, in my book) to our part of the globe. But the words they uttered went even beyond what I expected to hear.
For this, you can primarily credit 49ers owner Jed York and bid chair Daniel Lurie, who had promised the project would involve as many area codes as possible. But you can also mention San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee and Santa Clara Mayor Jamie Matthews, who from the start decided not to have an attitude. They even invited San Jose Mayor Chuck Reed into the mix of planning, realizing that the Bay Area's largest city was going to be needed for pulling together such a large project.
After the NFL announcement, Lee mentioned the other two mayors in his remarks and said: "The way we do sports, we try to emphasize it's not just the single accomplishments that people have, it's what it presents to all of our communities, and we make that a sharing moment for everyone. The return is big time . . . When it's beyond just one city, there's a multiplier effect."
Yes, Lee admitted, it was initially "bitter" to swallow the idea of the 49ers moving to Santa Clara in 2014 but held a series of meetings with York in which Lee said, "Why don't we really make it a conversation about hosting a Super Bowl for the whole Bay Area? I think the bittersweet part is over with, we're on to the excitement, the welcoming . . . "
Lurie, speaking in Boston where the NFL vote was taken, said: "This has been an honor and privilege to work on this with Mayor Reed and Mayor Lee and Mayor Matthews. We're excited to show you what the Bay Area has to offer in 2016. We've had the ability to host an event of this caliber for a long time. We just didn't have the stadium."
York, also in Boston, specifically mentioned all the people in Santa Clara who had walked door-to-door to build support for the stadium and thanked them along with everyone else. York also credited "the willpower of an entire area -- not just the City of San Francisco but the City of San Jose and the City of Santa Clara."
And this from former 49ers running back Roger Craig: "The Bay Area wins. I'm not sure what city will get the most, but let's spread it around."
I'm not naive. I know not everyone around the Bay is going to hold hands and sing "Kumbaya." But it's still nice to see people trying to cooperate. Besides, it's only practical. Most of the corporate presence that will support the Super Bowl is located in Silicon Valley, so the area must be given consideration when it comes to planning the week. With a little effort, that consideration will spread beyond this one event. The last local pursuit of the Olympics flopped because San Francisco tried to go it alone. Can't happen.
Outsiders often find it hard to get their arms around the Bay Area mojo. So do local citizens, even. But basically, we live in an area of roughly 7 million people. There are three major cities. San Jose has about a million people. San Francisco's population is about 800,000. Oakland has around 400,000 residents.
What that means: The vast majority of people in the region live in none of those cities. In sports, their allegiances are all over the place -- there are Giants fans in the East Bay and Raiders fans in the South Bay -- but they benefit by having so many options available to them in so many sports. And they should all benefit by having a Super Bowl come to visit.
Almost no one will get a ticket to the game. But the NFL has learned over the years to create more activities and events for locals. In 2016, the focus for many of those events will be in San Francisco, but the Super Bowl vibe will be spread out in a way it never was in 1985. You don't think that Google, after donating $2 million to help land the game, will want to host a party at its headquarters for all the people with whom it does business? And the same for Yahoo, which is located just a few long punts from the new stadium? Heck, you can argue that in the 21st century, a "Silicon Valley Super Bowl" is a more sexy brand than a "San Francisco Super Bowl."
But I like the way it mostly came out Thursday, from the lips of just about everyone: "Bay Area Super Bowl."
And this time, there won't be any bleacher seats, either. We've come a long way.