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WUSF's coverage of Super Bowl LV at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa on Feb. 7, 2021.

A Look Back At Tampa’s Super Bowl History As It Prepares To Host LV

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Rick Mayer / WUSF Public Media
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Tampa is set to host its fifth Super Bowl on Feb. 7, a history-making event with the Bucs the first team to play for the championship in their home stadium. Here's a look back at the four previous games.

After 12 years, the NFL’s biggest game heads back to Tampa as the city hosts the Super Bowl for the fifth time.

It will be a historic game, with the Tampa Bay Bucs the first team in NFL history to play for a Super Bowl championship in their home stadium after their 31-26 win over the Green Bay Packers in the NFC championship.

On Feb. 7, the Bucs will play the Kansas City Chiefs at Raymond James Stadium in Super Bowl LV as the city prepares what is one of the biggest sporting events in the United States in the middle of a pandemic.

But despite the limitations caused by COVID-19, preparations continue with Super Bowl banners raised and Julian B. Lane Park being transformed into the NFL Experience.

Due to safety concerns, only 22,000 fans -- including 7,500 vaccinated health care workers -- will be in attendance.

As the city that has held the fourth most games, Tampa has hosted its fair share of historic Super Bowls.

Here’s a brief look at the previous games:

SUPER BOWL XLIII

Feb. 1, 2009

Pittsburgh Steelers 27, Arizona Cardinals 23

The last time Tampa hosted the Super Bowl, it was to a much larger crowd as 70,774 watched the Steelers defeat the Cardinals 27-23. The Steelers came out strong with a 10-point lead by halftime, but the Cardinals almost pulled off a historic comeback, scoring 16 points unanswered points in the fourth quarter to take a 23-20 lead. The Steelers claimed their sixth Super title with a 6-yard pass from Ben Roethlisberger to Santonio Holmes with 35 seconds left. Holmes finished with nine catches for 131 yards to earn Most Valuable Player honors.

SUPER BOWL XXXV

Jan. 28, 2001

Baltimore Ravens 34, New York Giants 7

The Baltimore Ravens beat the New York Giants much more soundly, 34-7 in Super Bowl XXXV before 71,921 fans. The Ravens won their only Super Bowl in former Bucs quarterback Trent Dilfer’s return to Tampa Bay by forcing five turnovers and allowing just 152 yards and one touchdown – a 97-yard kickoff return by Ron Dixon midway through the third quarter. Linebacker Ray Lewis was named Most Valuable Player.

SUPER BOWL XXV

Jan. 27, 1991

New York Giants 20, Buffalo Bills 19

The New York Giants won their second Super Bowl in five years with a 20-19 win over the Buffalo Bills at the now-demolished Tampa Stadium before 73,813 fans. In one of the most dramatic misses in Super Bowl history, Scott Norwood’s 47-yard field-goal attempt with 47 seconds left to preserve the Giants’ win. The teams were tied 3-3 after the first quarter, and Buffalo was up 12-10 at halftime. The Bills were down 5 in the fourth quarter but took the lead on a 31-yard run by Thurman Thomas before the Giants regain the lead on a 21-yard Matt Bahr field goal. Running back Ottis Anderson was named the Super Bowl MVP by rushing 21 times for 102 yards and a touchdown. The game was played in the shadow of the Gulf War and featured arguably the most stirring rendition of the National Anthem, sung by Whitney Houston.

Whitney Houston At Super Bowl In Tampa

SUPER BOWL XVIII

Jan. 22, 1984

Los Angeles Raiders 38, Washington Redskins 9

The first Super Bowl Tampa hosted ended in a 38-9 win for the Los Angeles Raiders before 72,920 onlookers. Up to that point, it was the most lopsided win in Super Bowl history and the most points scored by one team. The Raiders took a 7-point lead less than five minutes into the game and were up 18 by halftime. The Redskins’ lone touchdown came on a 1-yard run by John Riggins in the third quarter, but by then, the Raiders were up 21-9 and Washington was held scoreless the rest of the game. Marcus Allen was named the game’s Most Valuable Player after rushing for a Super Bowl-record 191 yards on 20 carries.

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