(CBS Local)- In many ways, this year's Super Bowl will not be the same as it has been in years past. The COVID-19 pandemic has limited the number of fans that can attend, forced changes to the normal schedule of events and parties that usually fill out the week leading up and remains a very visible challenge that the country faces.
That, among other reasons, is why CBS Sports chairman Sean McManus said Thursday that he feels the big game is coming at the perfect time for the country.
"We have great anticipation and excitement for the game and I think it's coming at a really important time in our country. I think America needs this Super Bowl. It's an opportunity for the country to come together," said McManus on CBS' Super Bowl media call. "I think it's going to be uplifting, I think it's going to be unifying and I think it's coming at the right time. I really do hope that it's a celebration for everything that is great about this country."
The coverage of the game, McManus acknowledged, will be different too. Not somber, but also not ignoring the very real challenge that the country has faced these last 10 months and continues to face going forward.
"It's all about tone. Listen, are we going to get excited if Brady or Mahomes throws a 60-yard touchdown pass or if Tyreek Hill goes crazy? We're going to get excited and kind of forget our troubles for awhile. But, the tone I think is going to be a little bit different this year. I think the existence of the health care workers, the overhang of the pandemic is all going to make our tone a little bit different," said McManus.
The tone that McManus hopes to strike is one of appreciation, respect and reflection for what we've gone through but also how he believes that we will all come through it together.
"We're not going to be somber and we're not going to be depressing but I think we're going to put everything in perspective and I think we're going to be thankful also. Thankful that first of all we get to work on a Super Bowl which is the biggest event of the year. But also thankful that our country is coming together on this day," said McManus. "It's a time to escape and a time to really appreciate what we have with respect to this country and everything else. I think you'll sense in our features and in the pregame celebration you'll see some elements that will really reflect what our country has gone through and reflect on the fact that we have optimism and we're all going to pull through it. And we're going to pull through it together."
CBS' coverage of Super Bowl LV begins next week with programming on CBS Sports Network throughout leading up to Super Bowl Sunday. On February 7, CBS Sports is airing seven hours of coverage on CBS beginning at 11:30 a.m. and leading right up through kickoff at 6:30 p.m.
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