WASHINGTON — WASHINGTON (AP) — New Orleans and Indianapolis, the sites of the past two Super Bowls, and Minneapolis are the three finalists to host the NFL championship game in 2018.
Those three cities were selected from a pool of six at the owners' meetings Tuesday. Should Lucas Oil Stadium get the game, it would be the first cold-weather stadium to host two Super Bowls.
"It proves that Indianapolis is really a unique city, being a medium-sized market in a colder market, without 80 degrees and beaches," Colts owner Jim Irsay said.
Minneapolis last hosted the title game in January 1992. A $975 million stadium is going to be built in downtown Minneapolis, with the projected opening coming in 2016.
The 2018 Super Bowl will be awarded next May. The next four Super Bowls are in New Jersey, Arizona, San Francisco and Houston.
The NFL will play three regular-season games at London's Wembley Stadium next year, hosted by the Jaguars, Falcons and Raiders. It will be the most games the league has played abroad in one year. This season, Minnesota beat Pittsburgh 34-27 in September, and Jacksonville will host San Francisco on Oct. 27 as part of it a four-year commitment to move a home game to Wembley.
Dates and opponents for the games will be announced when the schedule is compiled next year.
"Our fans in the UK have continued to demonstrate that they love football and want more," said Commissioner Roger Goodell, who has championed overseas games for years and someday believes the NFL will have a franchise based in London. "Both of this year's games in London sold out quickly. The fan enthusiasm for our sport continues to grow. By playing two games in the UK this year, we are creating more fans. We hope that with three games in London next year we will attract even more people to our game."
Several owners said the subject of changing the Washington Redskins' nickname was not discussed in any formal way during Tuesday's sessions. Goodell, who grew up in Washington as a fan of the team, said "by no means" was the name considered derogatory then.
"But whenever you have a situation like this, you have to listen and recognize some people have different perspectives," Goodell said of protests by American Indian groups about the nickname.
Also, the NFL:
—Approved $27 million in funding for improvements at FedEx Field. The money will be diverted from Washington's contributions to revenue sharing.
—Approved $62.5 million in funding for the Cleveland Browns' stadium.
—Announced an agreement between USA Football and three organizations that will endorse the Heads Up Football initiative that already has been approved by more than 2,800 youth football organizations.
The American College of Sports Medicine, National PTA and the National Athletic Trainers' Association all said they are partnering with USA Football, which oversees youth football in the country.
—Approved a measure that allows the league to choose which team will be the focus of HBO's "Hard Knocks" documentary-style show if no club volunteers. Exempt would be teams with new coaches, clubs that reached the playoffs in one of the previous two seasons, or those that appeared on "Hard Knocks" within the preceding 10 years.
AP NFL website: www.pro32.ap.org