The Latest on Super Bowl 55 (All times EST):
Pregame festivities for the Super Bowl have started with a video recording of “Lift Every Voice and Sing” as players from Tampa Bay and Kansas City lined up on each goal line.
The NFL opened the season with the same show of racial solidarity and did it again before the final game. Both teams went to their locker rooms after the rendition by Alicia Keys.
The league chose “Lift Every Voice and Sing” as an addition to the national anthem for opening weekend and for the Super Bowl after a national reckoning over race sparked by the death of George Floyd at the hands of police in Minneapolis.
The first socially distanced Super Bowl is set for 25,000 fans with 7,500 vaccinated health care workers attending the Tampa Bay-Kansas City matchup for free.
The NFL is providing masks to all fans and following many of the guidelines used during the regular season in stadiums that allowed fans.
Purchases are cashless, and the first rows of fans are not close to the field. The rows closest to the field in Tampa Bay’s home stadium are covered. The Buccaneers are the first team to play the Super Bowl at home. Raymond James Stadium normally holds about 75,000 fans.
Locker room access is limited compared to previous Super Bowls, and Super Bowl week was much different. Most events were virtual, and Kansas City didn’t travel until the day before the game. Teams traditionally arrive about a week early.
President Joe Biden says it’s his “hope and expectation” that next year’s Super Bowl can be played in front of a fan-filled stadium.
Biden says the NFL title game is “just one of those great American celebrations” and laments “all those house parties, all those things that aren’t happening” because of the coronavirus.
He tells CBS News in an interview aired during the pregame show that, with God’s help, fans can celebrate the game “as usual a year from now.”
The NFL is allowing 25,000 fans in Tampa Bay’s home stadium for the matchup with Kansas City. The crowd is expected to include 7,500 vaccinated health care workers.
Biden declined to pick sides between the Chiefs and the but says Patrick Mahomes and Tom Brady are both “great quarterbacks.”
He says “one is just a younger version, potentially, of an old, great quarterback. Not old. In NFL terms, old.”
Super Bowl 55 pits two of the oldest head coaches in the NFL in an age when young offensive-minded coaches are all the rage.
Kansas City Chiefs coach Andy Reid is 62. With a win over Tampa Bay, Reid would surpass Vince Lombardi as the oldest coach to win back-to-back Super Bowls.
Lombardi was 54 when his Packers won Super Bowl II over the Oakland Raiders.
Buccaneers coach Bruce Arians is 68. A victory over the Chiefs would make him the oldest to win a Super Bowl.
Bill Belichick was 66 when he won Super Bowl 53 with New England two years ago.
President Joe Biden says his administration intends to take up the NFL on its offer to use all of the league’s stadiums as COVID-19 vaccination sites.
Biden mentioned the offer that came from Commissioner Roger Goodell in a letter this past week during an interview on CBS’ Super Bowl pregame show.
Seven NFL stadiums are already being used as vaccination sites. Goodell’s offer extends to the rest of them.
Biden says “absolutely we will” when asked if the federal government intended to use all the stadiums to try to ramp up distribution of vaccines. Biden says, “I’m going to tell my team they’re available and I believe we’ll use them.”
Tom Brady is looking to extend his record with a seventh Super Bowl title while Patrick Mahomes goes for the repeat and his second crown when Tampa Bay becomes the first team to play the big game on its home field against Kansas City.
The Brady-Mahomes matchup is the first among players who have won both the NFL MVP and Super Bowl MVP awards. It’s the sixth meeting between former regular-season MVPs and the second between former Super Bowl MVPs.
The meeting between the two superstars is the largest age differential among starting quarterbacks in Super Bowl history at 18 years, 45 days. Tampa Bay’s Brady is 43, and KC’s Mahomes is 25.
Brady, who has said he might play past 45, is only seven years younger than Mahomes’ dad, 50-year-old former major league pitcher Pat Mahomes.
Source: Associated Press