An overhead view of Raymond James Stadium in Tampa Bay, Florida, home to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. The stadium will host Super Bowl LV this Sunday. - Photo / Wikimedia Commons user Bernard Gagnon

There is no doubt that this year’s Super Bowl will look and feel different.

Not only will there be concerns about the recent COVID-19 pandemic, but we will see a Super Bowl team, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, playing at home for the first time.

What is typically the celebration of the teams who make it to the popular sporting showdown will be replaced with social distancing, extensive COVID-19 testing and mask-wearing.

Regardless, the traditions of the Super Bowl will still take place, albeit a little differently; the invited frontline workers from each city in the United States will attend Super Bowl LV.

The home of Super Bowl LV, Raymond James Stadium in Tampa Bay, Florida, will have limited in-person attendance and 7,500 of those seats will be filled with vaccinated frontline workers.

Besides thanking the brave men and women taking on the COVID-19 battle, the NFL hopes that inviting the frontline workers will spark inspiration and motivation for people to get the vaccine to stop the spread of COVID-19. 

A majority of the frontline workers — those who work in hospitals and health care systems — will come from the Tampa Bay and Central Florida area. The news came shortly after communication between the CDC, Florida Department of Health and local hospitals and health care systems to review and approve how to host 22,000 fans and frontline workers in a responsible and effective way.

The NFL also decided to have all 32 teams select frontline workers to attend the game. Not only will they receive the free tickets, but will also receive special game-day experiences directly from the NFL. The NFL will thank health care workers around the country with special messages both in the stadium and during the televised broadcast.

An addition, 14,500 fans will be in attendance and expected to follow strict COVID-19 prevention guidelines. People in attendance are expected to wear a mask, social distance, have a disinfected and protected seat and have touchless in-stadium experiences at concession stands, restrooms and security checkpoints. 

So far, the New York Giants honored four healthcare heroes to attend Super Bowl LV. The four workers, two being from New Jersey, shared their appreciation and gratefulness for being honored with free Super Bowl tickets in an interview with NY Post.

These four workers were personally congratulated by Giants CEO and co-owner John Mara. The ticket recipients shared the same kind of feeling upon receiving the news: honor, appreciation and a newfound love of football. The message was sent that their hard work combating the virus is appreciated and they will never be thanked enough for what they have done. 

“These dedicated health care workers continue to put their own lives at risk to serve others, and we owe them our ongoing gratitude,” said NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell. “We hope in a small way that this initiative will inspire our country and recognize these true American heroes. This is also an opportunity to promote the importance of vaccination and appropriate health practices, including wearing masks in public settings.”

You can watch the Tampa Bay Buccaneers at home against the Kansas City Chiefs during Super Bowl LV on Feb. 7, 2021, starting at 6:30 p.m. on CBS. Jazmine Sullivan and Eric Church will take the field to sing the national anthem. This year’s Super Bowl Pepsi Halftime performer will be Grammy award-winning artist The Weeknd.

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