TAMPA, Fla. (CW44 News At 10) - Take a look inside Raymond James Stadium as crews prepare for Super Bowl 55. NFL officials tell CW44 News At 10 that they've made safety a top priority - but not to worry - it will not compromise the fun.
Seventeen weeks in and only twelve days to go - The NFL says they're pulling out all the stops when it comes to Super Bowl LV right here in Tampa Bay.
Jon Barker, Vice President and Head of Live Event Production and Operations says, "With only 12 days to go, the excitement for us on the NFL side is just increasing and the excitement in this community - and it's really, it's this community that got us here. Through a lot of work and a lot of thinking, we are going to make sure that this feels very balanced and very equal."
NFL officials confirm the traditional halftime show will still take place inside the stadium. Barker added, "You're going to see a remarkable halftime show, just done in a different way from a different place. You'll see America, the Beautiful, you'll see the Anthem. You'll just see it done in different ways and really beautiful ways."
From a COVID-19 planning perspective, they tell CW44 News At 10, they feel strongly about current safety plans in place.
"A lot of work to still get done in these two weeks so, a lot of sleepless nights. Not only on the preparedness side, but also looking at it from all of the measures that we normally have in place with the Super Bowl being a level-one national security event," said Eric Finkelstein, NFL Senior Director of Event Planning.
There will be limitations, but NFL event planners note that you'll be able to find several fun NFL fan experiences throughout Tampa. "Just like when we were here for Super Bowl 43, it has all of those fan favorites. The Vince Lombardi trophy will be here, the interactive games, the NFL shop, a lot of concessions, social distancing measures of course – we will have a reservation system. We are not having on site player appearances this year due to COVID concerns," said Nicki Ewell, NFL Director of Events.
Something to also keep an eye out for on game day is the new surface under players' feet. Two years in the making, a brand new playing field we be fully installed at Raymond James Stadium. NFL Field Director, Ed Mangan said, "We've got a brand new surface out there, it's in great shape. We are working on painting it now. We've now, obviously got the teams in so once we get all of the logos established, end zones in on our stencils, we will start dropping in the end zones."
So, while safety comes above all aspects of planning Super Bowl LV in Tampa, NFL officials say they plan to give the Bay Area an experience we won't forget. Barker clarified, "It might look a little different for a Super Bowl this year but certainly the excitement is there, the energy is there, the community is there and certainly having the Bucs in the game this year just adds to the storyline."
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