TAMPA, Fla. (AP) Warren Sapp needs followers of Tampa Bay Buccaneers was capable of pack the stands for the primary Tremendous Bowl performed in a number staff’s residence stadium.
Attributable to considerations concerning the coronavirus pandemic, the NFL’s resolution will restrict capability to 22,000 at Raymond James Stadium, and rising costs for a restricted variety of accessible tickets to the league’s title recreation will forestall this.
Nevertheless, all will not be misplaced for an excited however generally changeable fan base that features a bittersweet alternative to benefit from the NFC champions on soccer’s largest stage after being compelled to observe the Tom Brady-led Bucs, in addition to the playoffs of the area’s different two large professional franchises, removed from.
The NHLs Tampa Bay Lightning gained the Stanley Cup whereas taking part in all the mail season in Canada and couldn’t rejoice totally with hometown followers, who had been left to greet the staff throughout a ship parade and outside stadium template that changed a extra conventional occasion on the streets of downtown Tampa.
Main League Baseballs Tampa Bay Rays performed two playoff video games in close by St. Petersburg earlier than successful the American League pennant in California and shedding to the Los Angeles Dodgers in a impartial world sequence performed in Texas.
The Bucs gained three straight playoffs on the highway to turning into the primary staff to advance to a Tremendous Bowl at residence.
Tampa Bay has a nationwide repute for supporting Lightning, however not the Bucs and Rays, who’re routinely ranked close to or on the backside of baseball attendance.
The previous 12 months has actually been particular for all franchises, and followers are celebrating no matter they’ll.
” The Bucs within the Tremendous Bowl with the sport at residence don’t even appear proper. Often there’s a construction. A staff goes to the playoffs, loses and goes again and loses once more. It takes time to get effectively ”, says Justin Heaven.
” The Bucs go 7-9 with Jameis Winston, haven’t gained a playoff recreation in 18 years and haven’t been within the playoffs in 13 ”, Heaven added. ” Tom Brady involves city and it is principally: ‘Do you need to go to the Tremendous Bowl? Come let’s go. ” ”
Followers are blissful to observe, even when they don’t enter or mingle across the stadium with a recreation day mass that features 7,500 vaccinated healthcare professionals who obtain tickets as a thanks for his or her service in the course of the pandemic.
Eating places and bars are proving to be busier than they’ve been for months, however a lot of the glitter and glamor normally related to the Tremendous Bowl will likely be subdued by sure occasions interrupted and metropolis officers urging locals and guests to observe social distancing.
” We have now the most important recreation in our home, we’re in it and might ‘t fill it? I do know it is disappointing for a lot of followers. However individuals have to be good and keep protected, ” mentioned Sapp, one of many stars of the Tampa Bay Tremendous Bowl championship 18 years in the past.
” You need that place rocking. 22 000? After which the 7500 will likely be impartial, and the remainder may even cut up. It is simply our flip, ” mentioned the Corridor of Fame’s defensive deal with. ” I wish to see all 65,000 – at the least 60 – in there pull after us. ”
Derrick Brooks, one other Corridor of Famer and defensive star with the Bucs in 2002, is co-chair of the Tampa Bay Tremendous Bowl Host Committee, which has labored intently with the NFL and native sponsors to organize the neighborhood to host the title recreation for a fifth time.
It is the fifty fifth Tremendous Bowl, and Brooks had 55 for the Bucs.
” It has clearly made everybody blissful. Warren and I had been on the cellphone virtually each different recreation final week and noticed them beat Inexperienced Bay. It was nice enjoyable, ” Brooks mentioned.
“With Lightning successful the cup and the rays in a few video games to win the World Collection, it is fairly becoming that the Bucs make the primary a part of the story,” Brooks mentioned.
” I say that as a result of historical past remains to be being written. They’re nonetheless making historical past and might finish it by being the primary to win it at their residence stadium. ”
Lightning captain Steven Stamko and a number of other teammates took half in a Bucs recreation in early October and even took the Stanley Cup with them.
Tremendous Bowl Sunday will likely be a journey day for the hockey champions, so they won’t be on the town in the course of the match.
” It has been incredible to look at and naturally be part of it. This metropolis deserves a number of it. We have now very loyal followers and it’s a incredible sports activities metropolis ”, mentioned Stamkos about Lightning, Rays and now Buc’s success.
” On the finish of the day, we’re all sports activities followers. I grew up taking part in all these sports activities as a toddler. You dream which you could even be an expert athlete in one other sport, ” added Stamkos. ” I take a look at the blokes, I love them. It’s inspiring for us as athletes to see what they must undergo to attain their goals. ”
Nevertheless, Tampa Mayor Jane Castor and her counterparts from St. Petersburg and close by Clearwater emphasize the significance of everybody balancing effectively and being protected throughout a pandemic.
“The one individuals we need to depart disenchanted,” mentioned the mayor, “are the Kansas Metropolis Chiefs. ”
Related Press Author Tamara Lush contributed to this report.
Extra AP NFL: https://apnews.com/NFL and https://twitter.com/AP-NFL
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