Thousands of Bucs fans took to the streets around Tampa on Sunday night in open defiance of Covid restrictions to celebrate their team’s unprecedented home-field Super Bowl win.
As the night wore on, police eventually used pepper spray to control the crowds as drunken revelers blocked intersections, climbed trees and street lights, and took down street signs.
Almost none of the thousands-strong crowd could be seen wearing masks or socially distancing, despite health officials warning the Super Bowl could quickly turn into a super-spreader event if precautions weren’t followed.
Waving Tampa Bay Buccaneers and American flags, fans hugged and screamed and sang and ran between cars stuck on the streets for several hours, ignoring warnings about social distancing amid the COVID pandemic.
Fans were seen climbing over vehicles, streetlights and the marquees of stores.
Cars beeped their horns and the luxury yachts that had been docked all weekend at the marinas that dot downtown responded with blasts of their loud fog horns.
It came after Tom Brady led the team to its second Super Bowl win – the first in 18 years – on Sunday night, beating defending champions the Kansas City Chiefs 31-9.
Hundreds of Bucs fans descended on Tampa on Sunday night to celebrate their Super Bowl win
Crowds took control of several major intersections after the Super Bowl win
The nation’s top health officials sounded the alarm this week about the Super Bowl being a potential superspreader event
Many revelers were seen without masks, in disregard of strict COVID restrictions
Fans take to the streets to celebrate the Super Bowl win in downtown Tampa, many not taking COVID-19 precautions
Police appeared at intersections to allow traffic to move freely and to direct fans to the sidewalks
Fans started swarming police, leading cops back into their cars, while some revelers took down street signs
Fans hugged and screamed and sang and ran between cars stuck on the streets for several hours
Cars beeped their horns and the luxury yachts that had been docked all weekend at the marinas that dot downtown responded with blasts of their loud fog horns
Tampa officials had warned of fines of up to $500 for violators of local health guidelines
Fans take over the streets removing signs and barriers to celebrate Tampa Bay’s Super Bowl win
Tampa Mayor Jane Castor issued an executive order last month requiring masks to be worn outside in the city’s most popular entertainment and recreation areas, but many ignored the order on Sunday night
Tom Brady shares a kiss with model wife Gisele Bundchen after leading the Tampa Bay Buccaneers to Super Bowl victory on Sunday night, claiming his seventh victory in the process
Brady lifts the Vince Lombardi trophy after leading the Tampa Bay Buccaneers to a 31-9 victory over the Kansas City Chiefs in Tampa, Florida, on Sunday night
Brady celebrates with his three children – daughter Vivian (right) and sons Benjamin (far left) and Jack (center, hidden behind his father) after claiming his seventh Super Bowl win
Bruce Springsteen urges Americans to unite while Fiverr mocks Rudy Giuliani in Super Bowl ads
Bruce Springsteen preached national unity, Winona Ryder reprised her role from Edward Scissorhands, Fiverr poked fun at Rudy Giuliani’s post-election news conference, and Robinhood pitched its brand after a tumultuous period on Wall Street in this year’s Super Bowl commercials.
Michael B. Jordan, Drake, Mila Kunis, Paul Rudd, and Sesame Street’s Big Bird were also among the big star names appearing in the ads, which are among the most expensive of the year.
Companies paid at least $5.5million for 30 second advertisements during game.
Jeep’s ad starred iconic singer Bruce Springsteen in his first ever ad promoting the idea of unity.
‘It’s no secret the middle has been a hard place to get to lately, between red and blue, servant and citizen, freedom and fear,’ Springsteen intones, adding ‘we need the middle.’
Freelancer website Fiverr teased that its ad would feature Four Seasons total landscaping, the scene of an infamous Rudy Giuliani press conference during last year’s tumultuous election.
The tongue-in-cheek ad features Four Seasons Total Landscaping owner Marie Siravo talking about how to build a successful business with the help of Fiverr.
As the night wore on, however, violent scenes started becoming more frequent.
At first, police appeared at intersections to allow traffic to move freely and to direct fans to the sidewalks.
But soon, fans started swarming police, who retreated back into their cars. Some revelers took down street signs.
Fireworks exploded as fans with sports cars were drag racing on downtown streets, the rubber smoke and smell from the tires wafting above the crowds.
By midnight, however, police were spotted dousing revelers with pepper spray in order to reestablish a semblance of order.
Many revelers were seen without masks, in disregard of strict COVID restrictions brought in ahead of the game.
Tampa Mayor Jane Castor issued an executive order last month requiring masks to be worn outside in the city’s most popular entertainment and recreation areas during Super Bowl festivities and the days following the event.
Tampa officials had warned of fines of up to $500 for violators of local health guidelines.
The nation’s top health officials sounded the alarm this week about the Super Bowl being a potential superspreader event.
‘I’m worried about Super Bowl Sunday, quite honestly. People gather, they watch games together. We’ve seen outbreaks already from football parties,’ said Rochelle Walensky, head of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. ‘So I really do think that we need to watch this and be careful.’
Ahead of the game, hundreds of protesters with issues ranging from a union contract to Covid vaccines and the name of the visiting Kansas City team greeted Super Bowl fans in Tampa, Florida, patiently filing into Raymond James Stadium for the big game on Sunday afternoon.
There was a carnival atmosphere in the streets as the Bucs won their second NFL title and first in 18 years
Fans were seen climbing over vehicles, streetlights and the marquees of stores
Two women wearing Bucs jerseys and draped in the team’s flag celebrate their victory at Super Bowl 55 on Sunday night
Bucs fans flooded downtown Tampa on Sunday to celebrate their team’s unprecedented home field win at Super Bowl 55
Hundreds took to the streets of Tampa after the Super Bowl victory
Flags were waived from the tops of cars as traffic came to a standstill in downtown Tampa
Bucs fans crowded around the Raymond James Stadium as the home team celebrated their win
Brady win record SEVENTH Super Bowl as Tampa Bay upsets defending champion Kansas City Chiefs, 31-9
He’s two decades and 346 games into the most successful career in NFL history, but Tom Brady still isn’t finished winning Super Bowls.
The 43-year-old added to his record with a seventh title on Sunday, guiding the Tampa Bay Buccaneers to their second league crown with a 31-9 win over the defending champion Kansas City Chiefs and Patrick Mahomes in Super Bowl LV.
What was expected to be the 25-year-old KC quarterback’s coronation as Brady’s logical successor (the Chiefs were slight favorites to repeat) instead turned into one of the biggest statement games the league has ever seen.
Brady not only proved he can win without New England Patriots coach Bill Belichick, his boss for his first nine Super Bowl appearances, but the game’s MVP simultaneously gave clear arguments both for and against retirement.
On one hand, Brady re-established that he has absolutely nothing left to prove, having won more Super Bowls than every NFL team including the Patriots and Pittsburgh Steelers (both six).
Tom Brady celebrates with his family after winning the Super Bowl
Rob Gronkowski and model girlfriend Camille Kostek share a kiss following his victory at the Super Bowl, during which he caught two touchdown passes
Rob Gronkowski (left) and Tom Brady (right) have now won four NFL titles together, including three with New England
Tampa Bay Buccaneers kicker Ryan Succop embraces his son on the field after defeating the Kansas City Chiefs on Sunday
Tampa Bay Buccaneers offensive lineman Ryan Jensen celebrates with his family after winning the Super Bowl LV
That’s not Bill Belichick: In their first season working together, Bucs coach Bruce Arians and Tom Brady won an NFL title
Then again, why would Brady retire now when he’s still capable of tossing three touchdowns in a Super Bowl victory? Besides, he still has one season left on the two-year, $50 million contract he signed with Tampa Bay back in March – his first foray into free agency after 20 NFL seasons.
‘Yeah, we’re coming back’ Brady said when asked about retirement. ‘You already knew that.’
The Buccaneers (15-5) won their second NFL title and first in 18 years while becoming the first team to play the big game at home, capping an unusual and challenging season played through the novel coronavirus. They won three road games as a wild-card team to reach the Super Bowl.
‘I’m so proud of all these guys,’ Brady said. ‘We had a rough November but we came together at the right time. We knew this was gonna happen. We played our best game of the year.’
Tom Brady and Mike Evans embrace on the big screen inside the Raymond James Stadium after winning the Super Bowl as crowds celebrate in the stands
Fireworks light up the night sky above the Raymond James Stadium in Tampa, Florida, during Super Bowl 55 on Sunday
Tom Brady #12 of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers celebrates with offensive coordinator Byron Leftwich after defeating the Kansas City Chiefs in Super Bowl LV
Chiefs and Bucs fans celebrate in the end zone alongside the pirate ship at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa
Line judge Sarah Thomas became the first woman to officiate a Super Bowl on Sunday at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa
Among the protesters were three dozen members of anti-Covid vaccine groups from around the country, including Moms for Freedom and Florida Freedom Keepers. They wore striped referee shirts as they converged around the entrance to the stadium reserved to medical professionals.
Some shouted slogans like ‘educate yourselves’ or ‘don’t do it,’ to which one nurse in the line responded, ‘you idiots.’
‘We get a lot of those responses and many much ruder,’ said protest organizer Joshua Coleman, who flew in from California just to lead the action.
Nurse Tiffany Click, 46, who works at the nearby Brandon Regional Hospital, called the protesters ignorant.
She said she won a raffle held by the hospital for 275 of the free tickets.
She started lining up about one mile away from the stadium in order to get in.
‘It is what it is,’ she said when asked about the line. ‘I’m vaccinated so it’s OK. I don’t mind waiting.’
Bucs fans celebrated long into the night on Sunday, with almost no masks or social distancing visible amidst the crowds
Fans wearing Bucs jerseys and a Tom Brady t-shirt celebrate victory in downtown Tampa on Sunday night
Defying Covid restrictions brought in ahead of the game, Bucs fans celebrated into the night in what experts fear could become a coronavirus super-spreader event
Tampa fans fly their team’s flag after Tom Brady led them to their first Super Bowl victory in 18 years on Sunday
Tampa Bay Buccaneers’ fans celebrate their victory outside Raymond James Stadium despite restrictions on public gatherings outside sporting venues
Tampa Bay Buccaneers fans celebrate after Super Bowl 55, which their team won 31-9 over the Kansas City Chiefs
Tampa Bay Buccaneers fans celebrate after Super Bowl LV, many in defiance of Covid-19 safety restrictions
Across the street, two dozen American Indians from tribes in Florida and the Midwest in native clothing expressed their disapproval of the Kansas City Indian imagery.
The Chiefs, said protester Rhonda Levaldo, should change their name just like the NFL’s Washington Redskins did last year.
‘For some reason, the Chiefs flew under the radar, supposedly because their logo is a sign of respect for us,’ said Levaldo, who flew to Tampa from Kansas City. ‘We’re not some vulgar mascot. We’re people and we’re not here for anyone’s entertainment.’
But the largest protest group by far, with more than 500 people, was the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers’ Tampa chapter.
President Keith LaPlant proudly showed off a permit obtained from the city for a protest on one of the main arteries into the stadium area.
With cars crawling through major traffic jams, LaPlant’s union employees got the most honks from football fans.
The workers are employees of Frontier Communications, one of the local cable TV and internet access providers.
LaPlant said the union is currently in negotiations with the company which, he says, is trying to double the employees’ healthcare insurance contributions, eliminate healthcare for retirees and do away with its 401-K retirement program.
‘We’re essential workers,’ he said. ‘In this pandemic, we’re the ones who make sure kids can go to school online and businesses can operate from people’s homes. And for that, we’re digging holes and crawling through attics and spending time in homes were people could be sick.
‘We stood by the company through thick and thin but the company’s not standing by us.’
LaPlant said Frontier is a major sponsor of the Buccaneers and has a brand presence at the stadium, making the protest potentially more embarrassing for it.
‘That’s why we wanted to be here at the Super Bowl,’ he said. ‘We told the company we were doing this, but they don’t appear to care.’
Rhonda Levaldo (left), of Kansas City, Mo., protests to eliminate all American Indian mascots in sports
A line measuring more than one mile long of spectators, many healthcare workers, stretches outside Raymond James Stadium just hours before Super Bowl LV in Tampa kicks off
Fans were unable to avoid the protesters as they line up outside the stadium waiting to go in
Fans are seen lining up before they head into the stadium
The Weeknd brings the night scene of Las Vegas to Tampa during EPIC Super Bowl LV halftime show
The Weeknd took Tampa, Florida to the darkest depths of the Las Vegas party scene during his haunting Super Bowl LV halftime show on Sunday night.
Set at the Raymond James Stadium, the 30-year-old hitmaker appeared on stage in a floating black convertible surrounded by flashing neon signs reminiscent of Sin City.
Emerging from the vehicle, The Weeknd belted out the lyrics to his most infectious hits in front of a sequin-clad robo-choir and an ultra moody cityscape – located high up in the stadium bleachers.
Dark depths: The Weeknd took Tampa, Florida to the darkest depth of the Las Vegas party scene during his haunting Super Bowl LV half time show on Sunday night
Sin City: Set at the Raymond James Stadium, the 30-year-old hitmaker appeared on stage in a floating black convertible surrounded by flashing neon signs reminiscent of Sin City
Minion madness: At the midpoint of his performance, The Weeknd was joined by a slew of bandaged lookalikes, who performed curated dance moves alongside the megastar on the Raymond James Stadium field
Moody: Emerging from the vehicle, The Weeknd belted out the lyrics to his most infectious hits in front of a sequin-clad robo-choir and an ultra moody cityscape
Before diving into the songs off his latest record After Hours, the Grammy Award-winner treated fans to renditions of his earlier hits, such as Starboy and The Hills.
The Weeknd, known for staying in character, sported the sparkly red blazer and black shirt and trousers that his After Hours alter ego has donned in every music video since the album’s March 2020 release.
After uttering the final string of lyrics from The Hills, the large cityscape behind The Weeknd opened up and formed a highly illuminated entry way for the star.
Recreating the imagery from his hypnotic Blinding Lights music video, The Weeknd grabbed ahold of a handheld camera and taped himself singing amidst a bright, mirrored room located within the depths of the faux cityscape.
The purposely jarring – and sometimes nauseating – handheld coverage captured the chaotic nature of the tight knit quarters that The Weeknd was navigating through.
Aside from bulbs, there were also lit up arrows and various cursive words, like ‘Gone,’ ‘Nothing,’ and Feel,’ that illuminated the narrow path of funhouse mirrors.
The Weeknd’s entire Super Bowl halftime show ran a little under thirteen minutes, with the singer performing zero costume changes, unlike his female counter parts in years past.
Shortly after wowing with his seven song routine, The Weeknd became the second trending topic on Twitter, except his birth name Abel claimed the trend instead of his famous stage name.
Along with viewers at home expressing praise towards the 30-year-old talent, The Weeknd’s Hollywood peers also used social media to react to his intoxicating performance.
Machine Gun Kelly, clearly in awe, wrote that the star’s ‘halftime show was harrrrrrd,’ followed by two flame emojis.
Keith Urban wrote: ‘DAAAAAAAAAAAAMN @theweeknd!!! loooooved the entire field being THE STAGE !’
Model Martha Hunt noted that The Weeknd was ‘Tom Brady level focused’ throughout his performance, while model Sara Sampaio compared the singer’s dancing to TikTok.
With nearly a year of COVID-19 lockdown, Olivia Munn noted that the EarnedI It singer’s performance ‘made [her] excited to go to concerts again.’
Kind of a big deal: The Weeknd released his fourth studio album in March, titled After Hours, and reportedly broke the record for the most global pre-adds in Apple Music history with more than one million users
Throwback: Before diving into the songs off his latest record After Hours, the Grammy Award-winner treated fans to renditions of his earlier hits, such as Starboy and The Hills
In character: The Weeknd, known for staying in character, sported the sparkly red blazer and black shirt and trousers that his After Hours alter ego has donned in every music video since the album’s March 2020 release
Curated chaos: The purposely jarring – and sometimes nauseating – handheld coverage captured the chaotic nature of the tight knit quarters that The Weeknd was navigating through
Relishing: His dancers kneeled on the turf, while the recent Billboard coverboy relished in his moment of victory with his arms in the air