The NFL is showing its support for health care workers as the 2021 Super Bowl approaches.
Ahead of the championship game in Tampa Bay on Feb. 7, the NFL announced that they would be giving away free Super Bowl tickets to 7,500 vaccinated health care workers.
NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell said in the press release that he was inviting the workers “as guests of the NFL to thank and honor them for their continued extraordinary service during the pandemic.”
“These dedicated health care workers continue to put their own lives at risk to serve others, and we owe them our ongoing gratitude,” Goodell said in a statement. “We hope in a small way that this initiative will inspire our country and recognize these true American heroes.”
“This is also an opportunity to promote the importance of vaccination and appropriate health practices, including wearing masks in public settings,” he added.
Prior to attending the sporting event, all of the health care workers will have received both doses of the COVID-19 vaccine, according to the NFL.
While the majority of the health care workers will come from hospitals and health care systems in the Tampa and central Florida area, all 32 NFL clubs will also get the chance to select workers from their respective communities.
In addition to free tickets, the health care professionals will also receive game-day experiences and be recognized for their efforts, along with their counterparts across the nation, “through a variety of special moments both in the stadium and during the CBS broadcast,” the NFL said.
The Super Bowl will be played by the winner of the AFC championship — either the Buffalo Bills and the Kansas City Chiefs — as well as the victor of the NFC Championship between the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and the Green Bay Packers.
In addition to the 7,500 health care workers, the NFL confirmed in the press release that an additional 14,500 fans will be in attendance at Raymond James Stadium.
Public health officials, including the CDC, the Florida Department of Health, and area hospitals and health care systems, have all been working with the NFL to ensure that they can host everyone in “a safe and responsible way,” according to the release.
Safety protocols currently include mandatory mask-wearing, social-distancing, podded seating, touchless in-stadium experiences at concessions, restrooms, and security checkpoints and controlled entry and exit, the NFL said.