TAMPA (CBSMiami) – One year since football fans took over Miami, Tampa is much tamer.
The big game between the hometown Tampa Bay Bucs and the Kansas City Chiefs will look very different this year due to the pandemic. NFL commissioner Roger Goodell admits he’s not sure if the 2021 football season will be “normal” but the league will continue to roll with the punches, stepping up security along with health and safety protocols.READ MORE: Miami-Dade Daniella Mayor Levine Cava: 'Countywide Curfew Could Be Lifted By April 5th'
Even fans are finding new ways to make do with the changes stemming from COVID-19.
At the interactive Super Bowl Experience in downtown Tampa, for many, it would be the closest they would come to the game.
“It is very cool and they’re taking all the precautions and we’re still able to go out and have a good time,” said one woman.
“They’re doing a fantastic job. This is not easy, you know, during the pandemic and everything that’s going on, yeah we’re having a great time,” said another Buc’s fan.
Outside the Super Bowl Experience is allowing for some sense of normalcy and the Gulf is providing a scenic backdrop
“We just got in yesterday and everyone’s been super nice, super friendly, A lot of bantering back and forth. It’s been a lot of fun,” said a Chief’s fan.
Fun and frustrating, that’s the sense among Bucs fans who have waited nearly 20 years for another Super Bowl.READ MORE: CBS4 Photojournalist Rafael Murciano Is Quite 'The Entertainer' With His Musical Talents
“What I tell my family is during the pandemic I’d much rather we sit at home and watch them win than sit at home and watch them lose. So in that respect it’s great but it still hurts a little bit,” said one man.
Trending On CBSMiami.com
Neighbor Describes FBI Shooting Suspect David Huber As A ‘Loner’ Who Once Pulled A Gun On Pest Control Worker
Stimulus Check Latest: Help Is Nearing. What’s The Timeline For Next Economic Relief Payment?
FBI To Pay Tribute To Special Agents Laura Schwartzenberger & Daniel Alfin With Memorial Service At Hard Rock Stadium
At least Tampa has done some serious winning. They have plenty to brag about.
Walter Hill, the owner of the popular sports bar Press Box, has seen it all. But he couldn’t have predicted the changes COVID brought to one of the biggest games.
“I thought Tampa would be a lot busier, earlier. In past Super Bowls here, the week before the Super Bowl the city of Tampa was sold out,” he said.
Hill says dedicated regulars and food delivery services helped him navigate tough times. But a winning sports scene lifted the entire area.
“Yes, it did. Any time we have a winning sports team, everybody jumps on the team, they want to go out, they want to celebrate, party with a bunch of other people and with their football team,” he said.
Another sign that things are different this year, the Kansas City Chiefs won’t arrive until the night before the big game.MORE NEWS: Dolphin Legend & Humanitarian Nat Moore Honored With Mural In Overtown