By Shannon Walsh
The Superbowl occurs annually on the first Sunday of February, denoting it as the first major sports event of each year. Although COVID-19 has disrupted sports this year, it did not prevent all sporting events. With an altered season, the NFL was still able to execute the Super Bowl seamlessly during a global pandemic.
This year the Super Bowl was held at the Raymond James Stadium in Tampa, Florida. The Tampa Bay Buccaneers hosted the Kansas City Chiefs, making it the first Super Bowl where a participating team was the host. The Tampa Bay Buccaneers won 31 to 9. 22,000 fans were in attendance, and while this number is high, when compared to 2019's 70,000 fans, this year's population seems miniscule.
These 22,000 fans were special. The NFL announced on the Friday before the Super Bowl that 7,500 of the fans were healthcare workers invited directly by the league. The 32 NFL clubs each selected vaccinated healthcare workers from their cities to be invited to the Super Bowl. The NFL decided to honor the incredible work healthcare workers have done for our nation this year.
While only 7,500 fans were physically present, the remaining fans were actually purchased cardboard cutouts that made the stadium look more full.
To ensure COVID-19 precautions, all of the healthcare workers in attendance were vaccinated. The Super Bowl also had safety rules in place throughout the game. Rules included wearing masks at all times, podded seating, social distancing from both the fans and performers at the half-time show, and, of course, a supervised entry and exit.
Annual events have been modified this year, including the Super Bowl. The NFL enforced all safety precautions to keep fans, players, and employees safe. And honoring the nation’s healthcare heros may have solidified this game as the best Super Bowl yet.
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