TAMPA, Fla. (FNN SPORTS) – NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell made clear during Monday’s virtual closing presser that he thoroughly enjoyed Tampa Bay’s Super Bowl experience. Goodell joined the Tampa Bay Super Bowl LV Host Committee:
- Tampa Mayor Jane Castor
- Hillsborough County Commissioner Ken Hagan
- NFL Legend Derrick Brooks
- Will Weatherford
- Tampa Bay Super Bowl LV Host Committee CEO Rob Higgins
Goodell thanked Mayor Castor for a safe event and added, “We look forward to being
back, and that’s all I’ll say about that.”
NFL legend Derrick Brooks also beamed as he shared the challenges the team encountered in adapting to the pandemic. He said he told “Team Tampa”– the team of volunteers and workers involved in executing the Host Committee’s plans–“We didn’t complain about the work we’ve done, but let’s get excited about the work we’re about to do.”
In support of Brooks’ point, Will Weatherford added, “COVID-19 tried to define the Super Bowl, but we defined it.”
Commissioner Hagan said that the Tampa Bay Buccaneers “reached football immortality on our home field,” and praised the 8,000 volunteers who helped make the experience happen, from Tampa International Airport to the Super Bowl LV Experience on Riverwalk.
Mayor Castor said that she made two requirements of “Team Tampa Bay” for a good Super Bowl LV experience: good weather and a win. She admitted she couldn’t control the weather, but was glad it worked out, and praised Team Tampa: for remaining flexible and dynamic throughout the event. She thanked the NFL for giving health care workers
access to the Super Bowl.
Tampa Bay Super Bowl LV Host Committee CEO Rob Higgins gushed his bias towards Team Tampa and this year’s Super Bowl experience. He said of his vision for the committee this year: “We’re gonna showcase everything that’s new and different since 2009; and we got a chance to showcase that. More than that, we got to showcase our heart and collaborative spirit.”
Higgins noted that vaccinating healthcare workers for the Super Bowl gave Tampa a chance to set a standard in the country. “We’re going to keep going forward. We’re going to keep showcasing our big heart.”
As COVID-19 procedures go, Mayor Castor expressed her disappointment in the large partying crowds who wore no masks after the big win last night. She noted that the committee passed out around 200,000 masks.
When asked about whether there would be a Super Bowl celebration, Mayor Castor said they didn’t want to get ahead in planning one–almos to avoid jinxing the Buccaneers from winning–but will “feverishly” plan one starting today.
When Florida National News asked Mayor Castor about the feedback and impact she’s seen in the community from the NFL’s community events over the course of Super Bowl Week, she shared that since 2009, the NFL left a legacy footprint. “The community is so, so appreciative.” Social injustice and food insecurity were the biggest challenges in the local community, which Forever 55 addressed head-on. “I couldn’t be more proud of the [Forever 55] pillars,” she said. “[They] will benefit the community for generations to come.”
Mellissa Thomas is Editor for Florida National News. | firstname.lastname@example.org