Arizona state senate bills are frankly the last topic on earth that I want to discuss on this site, but a possible case of Super Bowl musical chairs means that this matter requires our attention. Arizona Senate Bill 1062 is a proposal that would allow people or businesses to deny goods or services to certain individuals based on religious beliefs. There is a school of thought that argues this law would be used to discriminate against the gay & lesbian community. The bill has passed both the Arizona state and the Arizona house, and Gov. Jan Brewer has until Friday to veto it, or else the bill becomes Arizona law. (UPDATE: She just announced she will veto it.)
But if the bill becomes law, the NFL might withdraw Super Bowl XLIX from Arizona. Don Banks at Sports Illustrated first broke the bombshell, writing "NFL on Wednesday morning began investigating the necessary steps to move next season's Super Bowl from the Phoenix area, if the proposal becomes law, a source close to the situation confirmed."
Banks indicates that Tampa Bay, the runner-up for Super Bowl 49, is the likeliest relocation spot.
Arizona has already lost one Super Bowl back in the early 1990s, when the NFL backed out of playing Super Bowl XXVII in Tempe because Arizona refused to acknowledge the Martin Luther King, Jr. holiday. (You may not remember all this, but Public Enemy recorded a wonderful song on the topic in 1991.) That move was made with nearly three years advance notice. This Super Bowl move would potentially be enacted with less than one year's notice.
The NFL would not move the Super Bowl just because of Michael Sam or any individual gay players. The NFL would move the Super Bowl because they are terrified of being associated with anything of an even slightly controversial nature. It seems the league would prefer for Gov. Brewer to just veto the bill so they do not have an image problem on their hands for the Super Bowl. This story was probably leaked in order to sway Gov. Brewer to do exactly that.
The ball is now in her court. But Super Bowl XLIX may not be on her home field.