Sunday afternoon, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers defeated the Green Bay Packer 31-26 at chilly Lambeau Field. This victory secured a spot in Super Bowl LV and helped Tom Brady and his team make history. The Buccaneers officially became the first team to host the Big Game at its home stadium.
Super Bowl LV will take place on Feb. 7, 2021, at Raymond James Stadium and will be free to watch online. The pirate-themed football complex is the home stadium of the Buccaneers and served as the host site for Super Bowls XXXV and XLIII, as well as the 2017 College Football Playoffs National Championship Game. Now the stadium will once again host a Super Bowl, albeit one with a decidedly different feel.
HOME SWEET HOME.January 24, 2021
"We gonna fire the cannons in Tampa for 1 more game!!!!" one fan commented on social media. Several others echoed the sentiment and proclaimed that this home game would be the best in franchise history. The Buccaneers fans haven't been able to celebrate a championship since Jan. 26, 2003, when Jon Gruden led the team to a win over the Oakland Raiders in Super Bowl XXXVII.
The Buccaneers are not the first team to have the opportunity to host a Super Bowl and make history in the process. The Minnesota Vikings had the same opportunity following the 2017 regular season. U.S. Bank Stadium was set to be the site of Super Bowl LII, which also featured Brady and the New England Patriots.
The Vikings reached the NFC Championship after stunning the New Orleans Saints in the Divisional Round. Stefon Diggs pulled off the Minnesota Miracle and then created excitement about a possible home game during Super Bowl LII. However, Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Nick Foles threw three touchdown passes en route to a 38-7 win. The Eagles represented the NFC and defeated the Patriots 41-33.
Brady and the Buccaneers could have wilted in NFC Championship like the Vikings, but the team built up an early lead and held strong against an attempted comeback by Aaron Rodgers and the Packers. The Buccaneers also overcame three interceptions by the veteran quarterback in Brady. Now they will host Super Bowl LV in front of a partially-filled stadium.
Is Tom Brady the greatest athlete of all time? pic.twitter.com/nSofjgDIg3— PFF (@PFF) January 24, 2021
Friday morning, NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell announced that 22,000 fans would be allowed to attend the Big Game. Additionally, 7,500 invited fans will be vaccinated health care workers — a gesture from the NFL as a way to honor their service during the COVID-19 pandemic. The league will honor the health care workers around the country through a variety of special moments both in the stadium and on the CBS broadcast.