TAMPA, Fla. — It will forever be remembered as the COVID-19 Vast Bowl.
That is 19. Now not XIX. The coronavirus, which has claimed the lives of greater than 400,000 Americans, has no respect for Vast Bowl tradition wrapped in Roman numerals.
Pointless to assert, it is so a vogue of as we all knew it would be. It doesn’t contain my perspective of retaining 32 Vast Bowls — or Tom Brady’s existence as a baller in 10 of these — to kind that assessment.
This abilities stands on my own. And constantly will.
Lawful keep in mind the circus that constantly kicks off Vast Bowl week. Media Day. That is when the zany characters near out of the woodworks. There was the “reporter” who wore a wedding costume and asked Brady to marry her. A man dressed in a Superhero outfit. Another dressed as Mozart. Actor Kel Mitchell in his fast-meals uniform from the 1990s comedy “Perfect Burger” making an strive to hand Matt Ryan a hamburger. Guillermo from “Jimmy Kimmel Live” asking Invoice Belichick for a hug. And Downtown Julie Brown.
As a serious journalist, the oddball questions and the spectacle of Media Day customarily pissed off me. And it was even worse when they started staging the thing with a dwelling band — a lounge-act band at that — that brought the noise air pollution that continually drowned out whatever the contributors stated.
Boy, I overlooked that scene this time. I mean, it was correct in the future indulge in that.
This week, Media Day was conducted nearly on Monday with a chain of video conferences.
“Crazy Media Day,” Brady noticed. “I’m sitting here on this empty room. Very a vogue of than the other 9 experiences.”
Brady began his session by whipping out his iPhone and snapping a list of the blueprint-up in his Zoom room. Yeah, even the finest Roman numeral winner ever desired to procure a particular gash of Vast Bowl 55 history. Amusing thing: Whereas the media might maybe well gaze Brady, he couldn’t gaze the folks asking the questions. In some cases, though, he identified the names and the voices.
“How near I don’t derive to gaze them the least bit?” he stated. “Why enact I correct derive to gaze me? What’s up with that?”
Frank Clark might maybe well solution that.
“It’s weird,” the Chiefs defensive quit stated all the blueprint via his Media Day appearance.
That was the notice of the week as the NFL capped its most unfamiliar lumber ever to a championship by pulling off a complete season in an outbreak. Vast Bowl 55, with a epic-low attendance of roughly 25,000 — together with the 7,500 entrance-line healthcare workers given tickets to the sport as guests of the NFL — was the becoming conclusion to a season that was wrapped by strict protocols, each day COVID-19 testing and games played interior one empty stadium after another.
Even with the COVID-19 threats and appropriate precautions, I saw blueprint too many of us no longer carrying masks — despite the mandate instituted by Tampa mayor Jane Castor — in the downtown areas where the crowds of people escalated as the week progressed. Hillsborough County, thought to be a “crimson zone” sizzling build by the White Rental, has had more than 1,300 COVID-19 fatalities and greater than 100,000 residents check obvious for the coronavirus. Yet so many of us (nevertheless happily, no longer all) frolicked round as if it had been 2018, or as if masks had been un-cool.
In my belief, I adopted Dr. Anthony Fauci’s advice and went with the “double mask” approach for the duration of the week. But there was this dominant thought as I surveyed the crowds that congregated for leisure, activities and socializing in the downtown areas and nearby Ybor City, a hotbed for vacationers: Right here’s what Vast-Spreader movement seems to be indulge in. And in opposition to a Vast Bowl backdrop, no much less.
The Chiefs didn’t approach till Saturday, staying dwelling to put together at their dwelling facility to decrease COVID-19 risk. Despite that, they quiet needed to sweat out the possibility that receiver Demarcus Robinson and Daniel Kilgore might maybe well omit the sport after being placed on the COVID-19 list early in the week because, smartly … the barber cutting the gamers hair examined obvious for the coronavirus.
And that wasn’t the best Vast Bowl week distraction that the Chiefs encountered. Britt Reid, son of the coach Andy Reid and an assistant linebackers coach for the crew, didn’t kind the disappear after being exasperated about a automobile crash on Thursday night that despatched two younger children to the health center (one with existence-threatening accidents) and is beneath investigation as an alcohol-connected incident.
The Bucs, meanwhile, had been at dwelling all week too, having received three consecutive motorway playoff games to right the simply to become the first crew to play the Vast Bowl in their dwelling stadium. Simplest in the 2020 season. Atypical.
That was clearly my sentiment once I checked in on Wednesday to snatch up my media credential.
Remember that classic movie, “I Am Record,” where Will Smith is indulge in the last man on Earth after a lethal disease struck? That’s what it felt indulge in strolling via the Media Middle all week. It was a ghost metropolis. Breezed unbiased via the security checkpoint, even with them checking the COVID-19 e-questionnaire that I took on the app the NFL had us download and having my temperature scanned. When I arrived in the room to snatch up the pass, there was no person in line. It took indulge in 45 seconds.
Last twelve months, the NFL issued greater than 6,000 media credentials. This time, league stories the number at 2,353. I’m questioning: Where are these folks?
They sure weren’t on Radio Row. In total, that’s a hub of buzz all the blueprint via Vast Bowl week, with fresh gamers from across the league, usual gamers and coaches and assorted celebrities flowing via in a procession as greater than 100 radio stations (last twelve months’s number) blueprint up some distance off posts to conduct interviews and are residing talk reveals. This twelve months, there had been 33 stations signed on. And they had been no longer regularly all on Radio Row at the identical time. No, the tremendous ballroom was rather empty.
The identical can be stated for the foyer of the NFL’s headquarters lodge, which is ceaselessly a sizzling build. Again. Crickets. But the location was embellished smartly ample, with tremendous banners featuring the photos of Brady and Patrick Mahomes on the outside.
Another match that mirrored the times: Roger Goodell’s annual direct of the NFL news convention. In total, maybe as many as 1,000 folks cram interior an tremendous ballroom for the Commissioner’s Q&A. This time, the match was held on an outside plaza at Amalie Enviornment (dwelling of the NHL’s Tampa Bay Lightning), with correct 20 or so media invited to abet … and to remain socially-distanced. As a bonus, a double-feature was served. Goodell’s match was adopted by NFLPA govt director DeMaurice Smith’s annual briefing. In total, Goodell and Smith possess press conferences on a vogue of days. Yet in the spirit that the two aspects solid in convey to keep the policies, procedures and protocols to drag off the season in the midst of an outbreak, they collaborated to stage the befriend-to-befriend press events.
“We’ve performed reasonably rather a lot of issues together this twelve months,” Smith stated. “I mediate we’ve realized that soccer can evolve. We’ve realized that we will switch outside of our comfort degree and work smarter.”
It’s a signal of the times, as is this Vast Bowl.
Maybe, with Brady and Mahomes as the headliners, the sport lives up to its billing and goes down as a classic.
Regardless, we’ll by no blueprint omit it for all that it was at one of these monumental time. It’s one for the history books.
I’ll constantly remember Vast Bowl 36 in New Orleans in 2002, the first one after 9/11. It was the first one which Brady played in, nevertheless it surely is moreover remembered for ushering in a brand new technology of security with a heavy presence that included a fortified perimeter round the Superdome. One of Tampa’s old Vast Bowls, 25 in 1991, came down to an involving quit. Nevertheless it has a lustrous more historic significance because of the patriotism that existed all the blueprint via the Gulf War, which was another reason that Whitney Houston’s stirring rendition of the nationwide anthem resonated.
Some Vast Bowls left indelible footprints because of the significance of the games, indulge in 3 in 1969 — the first one I remember looking at as rather of 1 — when Joe Namath led the Jets to an tremendous upset of the Colts that proved the AFL’s abilities and price of soccer was too legit. The first one I lined, 22 in 1988, intended so grand to so many of us. Thanks, Doug Williams. It marked the first time a Dim quarterback started and received a Vast Bowl, with a epic-environment passing performance besides.
The night Tony Dungy became the first Dim coach to contain a Vast Bowl (41) was moreover the night that Prince played “Purple Rain” in the rain. But for my cash, that halftime show quiet didn’t high Michael Jackson’s performance in Pasadena all the blueprint via the crash in 27.
There was the first Vast Bowl in a northern metropolis (16, Pontiac, Michigan), a Vast Apple Vast Bowl (48) and a Vast Bowl week that began with riots in the Overtown share of Miami (23). And no, I didn’t duvet (or gaze) the first Vast Bowl between the Chiefs and Packers at the L.A. Coliseum, in what was then known as the AFL-NFL World Championship Sport. But I heard about it. Atypical by this day’s standards, that the first Vast Bowl aired on two networks — CBS and NBC.
But nothing ranks reasonably as weird as this COVID-19 Vast Bowl. With masks required.