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

5 Ways Tampa Bay Will Be Represented During The Super Bowl LV Telecast

Jose Gasparilla pirate ship in the water w/ NFL flags
Daylina Miller/WUSF Public Media
The Jose Gaparilla pirate ship has taken on an NFL theme ahead of Super Bowl LV at Raymond James Stadium on Feb. 7, 2021.

From the signature Jose Gaspar pirate ship to an honorary captain, there will be plenty of subtle reminders for viewers that Tampa is playing host to Super Bowl LV. Here are just a few.

Tampa will be the center of the sports universe on Feb. 7 when the Tampa Bay Bucs face the Kansas City Chiefs in Super Bowl LV.

CBS, which is carrying the game, no doubt will be providing plenty of reminders to viewers that Tampa is the backdrop for the game.

As with any other large-scale event, the city's finest features will be highlighted. So you can expect to see footage of the Tampa skyline, Tampa Riverwalk, beaches, Ybor City and overhead views of Raymond James Stadium among other signature views.

But there will be some other, more subtle, nods to the region as they're watching CBS' telecast — as well as ABC's coverage the week leading up to the game.

Gasparilla Pirate Ship

Tampa’s signature event each year is the Gasparilla pirate invasion and parade, so it’s no surprise NFL officials plan to use the Jose Gaspar pirate ship as part of its festivities.

The ship, which is sitting in the Garrison Channel adjacent to the Tampa Convention Center, will be used for a pyrotechnics and laser light show on Friday and Saturday the week before, and the week of the game.

With pirates so synonymous with Tampa, you can expect the pirate ship to get some serious air time during the telecast.

Coin Toss Community Hero

Susan Dorner, a COVID-19 ICU nurse manager at Tampa General Hospital, will be one of three honorary captains who will take part in the 2021 Super Bowl coin toss. Dorner has worked in health care in Tampa for eight years, and despite losing two grandparents to COVID-19, continued to serve the Tampa community through the pandemic.

The NFL selected her and the other two honorary captains for their "leadership, selflessness, and dedication to serving others." A veteran from Pennsylvania and a teacher from California are the other two honorary captains. The NFL says that the three of them are symbolic of the thousands of health care workers, teachers, and veterans who support and serve communities.

Health Care Workers In The Stands

Around 7,500 of the health care workers that Dorner represents will attend the game for free. While all 32 NFL teams will select vaccinated health care workers to attend, the majority will come from hospitals and healthcare systems in the greater Tampa Bay and Central Florida area.

Including these folks from Sarasota Memorial Hospital, who got a special invitation from NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell:

It was part of the NFL’s ongoing effort to show their gratitude toward health care workers and the importance of receiving a vaccine.

Kid Correspondent

Amaya Brannon, 10, will also play a part. As 2021’s NFL Super 60 Kid, Brannon, of Auburndale, will interview members of both teams, serve as Kid Correspondent for ABC's "Good Morning America" throughout Super Bowl week, and be recognized during the second half of the game.

The NFL Super 60 contest that Brannon won was part of NFL PLAY 60, an initiative to encourage healthy eating habits and physical activity among children.

Thousands of children applied by submitting a video of themselves talking about why they should be the next Super 60 Kid, but Brannon’s dedication to her own health and her passion for helping other kids stay active and eat healthy made her this year's choice, according to a news release. Good Morning America host T.J. Holmes and Bucs tight end Rob Gronkowski told Brannon the good news on-air, and she beamed as she learned she was going to the big game.

Players From Florida And Tampa Bay

Between the Bucs and Chiefs, 14 players came out of Florida high schools, more than any other state. Bucs offensive lineman Ten Larson (Palm Harbor University), Chiefs receiver Byron Pringle (Tampa Robinson) and Chiefs center Austin Reiter (Lakewood Ranch) attended high school in the greater Tampa Bay region, and six came from Florida colleges.

Reither, along with Bucs outside linebacker Jason Pierre-Paul (Deerfield Beach) — attended USF.

The Chiefs will have a strong Florida contingent: Chiefs punter Tommy Townsend and receiver Demarcus Robinson (Florida), defensive lineman Derrick Nnadi (FSU), and linebacker Andrew Soroh (Florida Atlantic).

Elizabeth Kauma is the WUSF social media intern for the spring of 2021.
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