Pasadena is an old hand at hosting big football bowl games. Not only has this ``valley of palms between hills'' (pop. 127,000) been the site of three previous Super Bowls (Oakland-Minnesota in 1977, Pittsburgh-Los Angeles in 1980, and San Francisco-Miami in 1983), it has hosted the granddaddy of college bowl extravaganzas, the Rose Bowl, since its inception in 1902. That game and the parade that precedes it attract a million spectators, and their cars, clogging 23 square miles of city streets. ``We're excited, naturally,'' says Bill Turley, interim director of the Chamber of Commerce, of Sunday's clash between the New York Giants and the Denver Broncos. He estimates the Super Bowl will bring about $75 million in hotel, transportation, entertainment, and food revenues to the Los Angeles area.
``But we're not going hog wild the way they did at Pontiac, Mich., a few years back [Super Bowl XVI in 1982],'' Turley says.
He points out that until 1985, when the Super Bowl went to Stanford Stadium, the Rose Bowl was the only non-National Football League site to host the league's championship game. Thus the town is more neutral and detached from the proceedings, because no pro team uses local facilities regularly.
No special parades or other events are planned here, save an exhibition by the Rocky Mountain Thunder Fan Club, which roots for the Denver Broncos.
The city's 2,000 hotel rooms are already full, though not with the football teams, which are staying an hour south in Anaheim.
``When not even the teams are around, it kind of takes the pizazz out of things,'' says Jane Ripley, a spokeswoman for the city.
Besides filling up the town's two hotels (two more are under construction and a third is closed for renovation), the city rents the 100,000-plus-seat Rose Bowl to the NFL and receives a percentage of the take for concessions, such as 21,000 bags of peanuts and 4.5 tons of hot dogs. The last time the game was held here, that came to $242,000.
The only real concern in Pasadena seems to be rain.
Though it has rained only once on the New Year's Day Rose Bowl in some 60-odd years, late January and early February begin southern California's rainy season.