Opinion—A Super Bowl game we never thought would happen, not just the match-up

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Sam Rush/NW

Travis Nelson

Super Bowl 55 this Sunday will be an epic clash between the Chiefs and the Buccaneers. Tampa Bay is the first ever team to host the Super Bowl at its home venue, Tom Brady tries to get his seventh championship, Patrick Mahomes vies for his second championship in a row to cement his legacy status. The storylines in play are massive, but none of these should be the ones we are talking about.

Go back to March when everything shut down in the blink of an eye, and a global pandemic halted any and every social interaction. If you would’ve told me that the NFL season would go on six months later and every game would be played, I would’ve laughed. I would’ve been ecstatic as a huge football fan, but at the time such a prospect seemed nowhere near realistic. COVID-19 isn’t close to over, but here we are about to watch another Tom Brady Super Bowl appearance.

The NBA and NHL went to a bubble; MLB played a shortened season and last season’s NCAA Division I Men’s Basketball Tournament was canceled in a second. The NFL had its issues with COVID-19 with multiple team outbreaks, but they did it. Playing sports through a pandemic isn’t some easy thing, but if the NFL had failed, do you think NMU would be playing sports right now? I’m not so sure. In terms of what the pandemic is doing to our society and how it is affecting people’s lives, sports are on the back burner. But in times of sadness and anguish, sports can be our biggest ally in feeling some type of normalcy.

It won’t be the same this year; hopefully, people won’t be packing their homes with parties. Though watching this game is worth celebrating, we need to think back to why it’s a shocker in the first place. A COVID-19 spike would take all of the fun out of Super Bowl weekend, and the event could become a blemish to our country again if social distancing isn’t taken seriously. I’m going to try and not think about it, but it won’t be good if millions of people are crowding together to watch. This Sunday, nobody will be thinking about COVID-19, only football—that’s how Super Bowl Sunday should be.

I rooted hard for Tampa to upset the Green Bay Packers in the NFC Championship; I rooted for the Chiefs’ fun team to make it back to the Bowl. That’s what we should feel as football fans, not worrying about how a pandemic could cancel the season. We’ve been through enough worrying, we’re still worrying and I need sports on my television screen to cope with that. With that being said, probably the greatest sporting event of all time is upon us this weekend.

I can’t wait, the Chiefs and Bucs probably can’t wait, it’s going to be a lot of fun to watch. These two teams played in the same stadium they will on Sunday back in November, with a 27-24 Chiefs win. Since then, both teams are a combined 13-1 with the Chiefs losing in the final week of the regular season due to benching good players. Mahomes-Brady, Kelce-Gronkowski, Hill-Evans, the fantasy position match-ups will be popcorn-worthy. I don’t know what team will win; I’d bet the Chiefs repeat as champs, but I know better than to count Tom Brady out. 

I do know who will win, and that’s America. Because no matter who comes out on top, there’s actually a Super Bowl to watch. 11 months ago, it wasn’t imaginable.