Super Bowl LV will happen… at some point. Scheduled for early February, the biggest sporting event in America will take place during a time of pandemic, political unrest, and some damn great football. We’ve got expectations, some of which will happen and some of which it won’t.
Among our expectations is that two fantastic football teams will square off at Tampa’s Raymond James Stadium. And right now, Tom Brady’s Buccaneers are one of the Super Bowl favourites.
But don’t expect too much out of the home team as they tend to flop before they make it to the big game. This is one expectation. There are many more heading to February.
Super Bowl LV: what may and may not happen
Living in the COVID era means learning to expect the unexpected. Events can get cancelled or rescheduled at the last-minute and that includes the Super Bowl.
Anything can happen, but some things don’t change. So here are some predictions on what to expect and not to expect around February:
Expect: the date to be pushed back
Super Bowl LV is tentatively scheduled on February 7, 2021. However, expect the NFL to push this date back up to four weeks further. Multiple reports already surfaced that the NFL was willing to reschedule if games kept getting delayed due to the pandemic.
Now, Packers president Mark Murphy confirmed during a virtual pep rally that the NFL will move the Super Bowl if needed.
There is a second wave of the pandemic that is beginning to hit North America with several states starting to record increasing numbers of COVID-positive tests.
The NFL has already had to reschedule some games due to positive tests within the league and with flu season and a second pandemic coming, more delays should be expected.
Don’t expect: a politics-free event
It has been over four years since Colin Kaepernick’s peaceful protest has changed the political landscape within the NFL. Since he began protesting during the anthem, the NFL and other sports leagues have become more involved in matters of social justice and politics.
The NBA most recently implemented social justice messages on the back of their jerseys to show solidarity with the Black Lives Matter movement. The NFL, MLB, and NHL, to some extent, also echoed similar sentiments in some form of way.
While many fans yearn for the day where the NFL and other sports leagues could operate without a peep about politics or social justice, those days are long gone.
Whether it’s The Weeknd, the newly announced half-time show performer, flashing a political message or a star player or Roger Goodell making a speech, expect politics to be part of the show.
Expect: fans in attendance
Whether it’s going to be 15,000, 30,000 or 60,000 fans at the Raymond James Stadium, expect there to be enough fans to make Super Bowl LV look live.
The NFL has contemplated a variety of solutions including having a full-capacity, safety-willing, stadium. Tampa Bay and the state of Florida have arena limits of up to 25%. But God-willing, when a vaccine becomes available and cases start to drop again, they will ease on the restrictions.
Also in lieu with the NFL pushing the date back, doing so will also allow for the case numbers to potentially drop down. Either way, there will be fans and there will be many of them.
Don’t expect: Tampa Bay to be playing in the Super Bowl
The Super Bowl home field curse is real. Even the revitalized Buccaneers, who are 7-3 and riding one of the NFL’s deadliest offenses led by Tom Brady, are not exempted.
Tampa Bay is currently fifth in Super Bowl odds and second in the NFC just behind division rivals New Orleans. But as far as NFL curses go, the Super Bowl home field curse is legit.
Only two NFL teams have reached the Super Bowl in their home region: the 1979 Los Angeles Rams and the 1984 San Francisco 49ers. The Niners are the only team in NFL history to host and win a Super Bowl in their “home turf.”
What is even more interesting is that both the Niners and Rams did not play in their actual home stadium. The Niners played in Stanford Stadium rather than Candlestick Park. The Rams played in the Rose Bowl, not the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum.
To date, no NFL team has reached the Super Bowl played in their home stadium. Expect this trend to continue.