OPINION: Super Bowl 2021 proved unnecessary, unsanitary, unsafe

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers won the Super Bowl at 31 to 9 points. This was their second Super Bowl win.

All Pro Reels / Wiki Commons

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers won the Super Bowl at 31 to 9 points. This was their second Super Bowl win.

On Sunday Feb. 7, the Super Bowl 2021 took place in the Raymond James Stadium in Tampa, Florida, featuring the Chiefs vs. the Buccaneers. Due to the ongoing pandemic, this year’s Super Bowl had the least amount of spectators in history.

The stadium held 25,000 fans and supplied hand sanitizer and masks upon entry. The NFL also gave free tickets to 7,500 vaccinated healthcare workers to show their gratitude.

Although gifting free tickets is a way for the NFL to give back to healthcare workers who have been on the front lines during the pandemic, inviting so many people to attend seems like a contradiction to the efforts of the doctors and nurses present.

Even though precautions were put in place, and the usual million fans were not all present at the event, with 30,000 cut outs representing many people who watched the game virtually, there are still dangers from having thousands of people present at one of the biggest games of the year. 

The NBA Finals in Aug. 2020 is a good example of what a safe sporting event looks like during the pandemic. Instead of attending the game in person in Florida, fans were invited to watch virtually, and in real time. The league collaborated with Microsoft and Michelob Ultra so that fans watching virtually would appear seamlessly on the physical seats of the stadium, mimicking a crowd. 

Another sporting event that took the pandemic seriously was the Stanley Cup in Aug. 2020. Organizers swapped in-person attendees for crowd noises that were played throughout the arena which kept the energy that players fed off of. The game was entirely virtual for fans, so the only people present in the stadium were the sports teams and coaches. 

Having fans physically in stadiums during big sporting events not only makes more money, but also encourages the players by making the atmosphere more alive. It is crucial for performance, and for sales, but the Super Bowl really pushed the limits as they filled up many of their stadium chairs, especially when other sports events proved that they could function fully virtually.

Not only is it disrespectful to healthcare workers and all of the people taking COVID-19 seriously, but it displays a mentality that the NFL is over being careful during this pandemic. 

Just because the safe sporting events mentioned were held in the summer of 2020, it doesn’t mean that enough time has passed for things to resume to their normal ways. Society as a whole is fed up with the current situation the pandemic has put us in, but encouraging people to act as if such things aren’t happening, or aren’t as big of a deal as they are is a dangerous and reckless way of thinking.