NOTRE DAME - Perhaps no one inside Lucas Oil Stadium on Super Bowl Sunday, aside from the players and coaches themselves, has a bigger interest in how this event plays out than Jack Swarbrick.
"This Super Bowl in this city is generating the greatest community impact of any sporting event EVER hosted in America", Swarbrick boasts. He should know.
Nearly four years ago, just months prior to becoming Notre Dame's 11th athletic director, Swarbrick was a highly influential member of the Indianapolis Sports Commission. He'd been responsible for bringing the NCAA to town, and securing several major sporting events for the city. And when it was time to tackle the largest prize in sports, the Super Bowl, the city turned to him.
"The city asked me to put the bid together, so I took the lead on compiling the bid" Swarbrick recalls. "We bid twice. We lost the first time we bid, on the 2011 Super Bowl. So in May of 2007 we lost by one vote to Dallas. We geared back up...and prevailed for the 2012 Super Bowl."
Swarbrick's office overlooking Notre Dame stadium is filled with memorabilia from the process. Included in the winning bid: A massive two volume document that turned Indiana into the center of the sports world.
"The logistics are so large, its hard to imagine."
As Swarbrick found out, logistics alone don't land you the Super Bowl.
"They (NFL owners) want several things. They want a good venue. It's their leading game. They want a place to extend hospitality. They want to maximize revenue...and they're very good at it. When you put the bid together you have to be conscious of creating opportunities for the NFL to maximize revenue associated with the game."
The bid also has to be conscious of something else: Convincing 32 NFL owners to hold their marquis event in your backyard...is all about presentation.
With a little help from David Letterman, Indy's Super Bowl bids went out to each of the NFL owners, couriered by local kids, a touch Swarbrick is especially fond of.
"We had the bid hand delivered all across America to NFL owers by 8th grade students", Swarbrick recalls. "It was a great experience for them and for us. We used them because they are the class of 2012...it made the point that our bid was all about trying to use the Super Bowl to impact the community."
Along with each bid...a care package, including a basketball signed by Larry Bird, a flag from Crooked Stick signed by 1991 PGA champion John Daly, and an Indy 500 racing helmet in the design of the owner's NFL team helmet.
The message it conveyed? Indianapolis has host a major championship!
Swarbrick contends that numerous Final Fours and the Indy 500 are evidence that Indianapolis is well positioned to host major sporting events. He also says, don't underestimate the importance Lucas Oil Stadium itself plays into the equation.
"The NFL as a general strategy has been inclined to award communities who build new stadiums for NFL teams. It's no accident Dallas hosted last year and Indianapolis is hosting this year."
Shortly after landing the bid for Super Bowl 46, Swarbrick relocated to South Bend to take over as Notre Dame's athletic director. He freely admits the work he did putting the Super Bowl bid together has been helpful in preparing him for his current job as Notre Dame's athletic director.
"Very helpful. A very key element of that is working with a lot of different constituents. Building on consortium of business and philosophy and government. Universities and popular athletic programs have that dynamic."
While Swarbrick's duties at Notre Dame have taken him away from Indianapolis and the run up to the big game...he'll return to the city he considers home this weekend, with great pride.
"It will always feel like home, having poured so much of myself into it", Swarbrick says. "This is a bit of a final chapter for me. This is the last event I brought to the city. I'll approach it with a little bit of nostalgia"
The impact of the Super Bowl is far reaching Something that will last far after the game has ended.
While the Super Bowl leaves behind a better city, what Swarbrick leaves as a legacy...is a blueprint that will serve Indianapolis, and the state well, for years to come. And with that comes a tremendous sense of accomplishment.
"Enormous. A lot of people said we couldn't get it done. To pull it off, to highlight the city and reap the benefit of it; There's a common benefit. But the real benefit to hosting the Super Bowl: It says to everybody else, 'You can host their event.' Because if you can host a Super Bowl, you can host anything."
And Sunday night, after the Lombardi Trophy is hoisted, and the MVP declares he's going to Disney World, Swarbrick will close that final chapter, and return to Notre Dame.
"I have plenty to do here" Swarbrick laughs. "It more than keeps me busy."