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OH SNAP! Super Bowl & The Magic City

Updated: Jan 27, 2020

“Home to a thriving tourism economy, diverse architecture,

and year-round bathing suit weather, Miami is undeniably unique.

Some might even say, “magic.”

So what Miami isn’t ‘in’ the Super Bowl? Super Bowl is in Miami—and that’s all that matters! And we’re no virgins here, and certainly not at hosting the big game.

We’ve done it again and again and again. In fact, you could call us the king—or queen (this is Miami)—of Super Bowl. After all, this is the 11th time we’re rolling out the welcome for the sporting event that spawns more parties than celebrities attract stalkers.

What’s more, not only is Miami ‘chief’ when it comes to hosting Super Bowl, the Magic City will bear witness to another historic moment when, for the first time ever, a woman will coach in the game of all games. That’s right, Katie Sowers, an offensive assistant coach with the San Francisco 49ers, will make history, becoming the first woman AND openly gay coach to take to Super Bowl field, when the Niners take on the Kansas City Chiefs in Super Bowl LIV.

Woman to woman, it’s only befitting for Katie to be crowned in the only major US city founded by a woman—Julia Tuttle.

But we’re getting a little ahead of ourselves. Back to that other city we beat to become the queen of hosting, and to that we say, drink your sorrows away New Orleans—you’ve been officially de-crowned.

And no, it matters not that the only time you were in Super Bowl, you actually won the title. Oh, and since we’re bringing that up champs, kindly be reminded that Miami remains among the very elite when it comes to perfection.

See, the 1972 Dolphins were the first to “execute a perfect regular season in the post-merger NFL.” From another angle, they are the only team to go undefeated and untied in the regular and post season. Bragging rights intact, validated.

And now, finally, the Magic City edged the Big Easy,11-10, for most Super Bowls played in a city. We are overjoyed even if football—or sports for that matter—is a bane; we just like to win at whatever. And yes, when it comes to matters of the national stage, it’s we—collective.

Anyway, for us Miamians who’ll show up for the opening of a letter, this is cause célèbre, cognizant not everyone is pleased with the Bowl and its entourage of unsavory—including trafficked girls. But let’s table that discourse, for now.

Let’s instead bask in ‘The Magic City’s luster. And by Magic City we mean all of South Florida and by all of South Florida we mean anything south of Orlando—with some notable exceptions, of course. For example, we’d be celebrating just the same if Super Bowl were in, let’s say, Broward. Oh wait, it is in Broward. Point made. “I’m going to Super Bowl in Miami Gardens, Broward County,” said no one—ever!

And mistake it not. The game might be played in Broward, but we all know any well-respected, celebrity-crammed, must-be-seen-at pre- and post-game shenanigans are definitely in the 305.

BIRTH OF A NAME: Welcome Moniker!

Miami hasn’t always had that magic. In the beginning there was a swamp, and the swamp was filled with diseased insects including those pesky malaria missiles better known as mosquitoes.

Whatever the motivation, a few brave souls saw past the pre-air conditioned, no-infrastructure slough, and for them, Miami was a mine of potentials. Some tried coconuts or tobacco or oranges and such. Others settled on more reliable exploits: Settlers.

‘Others’ included good old Henry Flagler, whose love of the almighty dollar transcended scruples, you could say. Ever the opportunist (not that is always a bad thing), Flagler set out with a bait: Paint a picture of paradise. For that, he’d need a wordsmith, a magician.

That ‘magician’ had a name: Ethan Victor Blackman—a writer and proselytizer extraordinaire whom Flagler would charge with extracting the virtues of swamp life, extolling the upside of paradise.According to the Miami Herald, Flagler “needed to lure unsuspecting northerners” and instructed Blackman to write a “strong, positive story” about Miami for his magazine, the East Coast Homeseeker


The dutiful Blackman, a Bible-thumping Methodist minister, cast morals aside long enough to coin “the Magic City,” skirting the realities of swamp and malaria and instead focusing on words that deflect—if not outright deceive. Yet, according to the Sun-Sentinel, “Blackman, who lived in Jupiter, had never even seen Miami in 1896 when Flagler asked him to come up with an ad campaign.”

In keeping with milieu, though Blackman might have been convincing in his public relations, he might have been less creative in original thought as it is said he might have ‘borrowed’ the name from Birmingham, Alabama, which billed itself as “the Magic City of the South.”

Borrowed, stolen, reimagined or repurposed, we are the Magic City, loud and proud. We are ‘The 305,’ regaled home of the braggadocio.

“Miami loves being The 305 more than we love driving like lunatics, roasting pigs in a Caja China and mooching rides on our friends’ boats with no intention of pitching in to pay for gas,” according to the Herald.

Hell, we even have a coffee break hailing The 305. That’s right, we schedule our Cafecito intake—that mid-afternoon elixir of puissance-inducing adrenaline—at that critical marker: 3:05pm. Sure, you may call it a coffee break but when is the last time regular coffee was given such import? In the Magic City, we simply refuse to do regular—ever! That’s so unoriginal; so 20th Century.

We know the value of original, sins and indiscretions included. And yes, living out loud is itself original, even if it means our cars—liabilities and all, are our most ostentatious declarations. But original we are.

“Miami is the 305 because that’s the city’s original area code. Everybody who was anybody in Miami had a 305 number,” according to the Herald. “Flipper had a 305 number even though he couldn’t technically dial because, you know, flippers. Scarface had one, too. Crockett and Tubbs dialed from the same area code when they made calls from their pastel hellscape.”

Ah, but we’ve come a long way from pastel hell. We have upgraded to the world spectrum, basking in the rich, the vivid, the beautiful. And whoever wins this Super Bowl, here’s hoping it’s in grand style. We accept no dilution as our founding mother, Julia Tuttle, sits in watch. And yes, it matters!

As the registrant of “The Magic City,” Blackman, arguably a most masterful spinner, initially thought ‘Mother” Tuttle was, well, a bit ambitious in her vision for the fledgling city, telling her, "You have a very active and far reaching imagination."

Though he’d soon recant, having had to admit that Julia’s dreams were rooted in reality, it’s hardly a stretch to imagine their amazement with just how truly magical we have become. It’s perhaps less arduous to ponder their astonishment at the distance traveled since Blackman arranged Miami’s first convention—a gathering of tobacco growers—the first county fair in the state.

How we’ve grown, matured into knowing we reserve to right to decry a city by any other name. Oh Snap! Super Bowl LIV, welcome to the Magic City, where the right time is always 3:05!

“As the only major U.S. city conceived by a woman, a refuge for multiple ethnic groups over the past century, and the youngest major city in America, Miami is, indeed, an exceptional place.”

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