NFL considers packing Super Bowl seats with vaccinated healthcare workersBy Mustafa Gatollari
Jan. 8 2021, Published 10:32 a.m. ET
It's no secret that healthcare workers have been dealt a raw deal out of nowhere during the pandemic. With a complete shift in their workforce duties, overloaded hospitals, a slew of new medical procedures that they've had to learn and adapt with on the fly, it's been an extremely stressful time. As essential employees, they were also forced to deal with the added pressure of working extended hours with an illness that researchers are still trying to fully understand.
And tons of corporations, as well as private citizens and nonprofits, have tried to do their part to show their appreciation. Starbucks has gifted tons of free coffee to workers for their efforts, and many businesses have given substantial discounts to healthcare workers for all of their efforts. There have even been calls for award ceremonies dedicated to honor and highlight the accomplishments of these professionals during this time.
The NFL is also reportedly thinking of giving back in a huge way: by allowing for a live audience at the Super Bowl. While that may seem counter-intuitive in stopping the spread of COVID-19, it's the special circumstances surrounding the proposed audience that has so many people singing the professional Football league's praises.
NFL commissioner Roger Goodell has put forth a plan to fill Super Bowl stadium seats with vaccinated healthcare workers to thank them for all of their work in saving people's lives during the pandemic. Goodell penned a letter to Rob Higgins, the Tampa Bay Super Bowl Host Committee's President, asking to consider the idea.
The letter states, as per WFLA:
Thank you for your hospitality this past Sunday. My family and I really enjoyed our visit to Tampa. The preparations for Super Bowl LV in Tampa Bay are impressive and very exciting."
The letter continued, "I wanted to let you know that during our League Meeting today we plan to discuss Super Bowl LV, including an exciting idea to honor and thank health care workers for their extraordinary service during the pandemic. We will also use this as an opportunity to promote the importance of vaccination and appropriate health practices, including wearing masks in public settings."
"We are currently discussing with public health officials our desire to invite vaccinated health care workers to the Super Bowl as our guests. Subject to their approval and in consultation with your team, we aim to do this safely and responsibly.
We all know that over the past year, these frontline workers have put their own lives at risk to the benefit of society and we owe them our ongoing gratitude."
"We also know that they will remain essential for months to come to treat those who are ill and administer vaccines. We hope that in some small way, this initiative will inspire our country and recognize these true American heroes as we look forward to a better and healthier year.
Thank you for your continued leadership and partnership. We look forward to working together on this effort. Happy Holidays."
Roger attended a Buccaneers game during his visit to Tampa and has stated previously that Fall 2021 will see a return to live gates and attendances, but the numbers of audience members still remains unclear, or what, if any, social distancing protocols will be implemented. However, he has said that he's committed to fan safety above all.
"Obviously, the safety of our fans and the community is number one. We are going to try to bring as many fans as we can safely do. I am not sure there is a specific number we are confident saying this is what it will be."