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

Photos: Tampa Celebrates Bucs Super Bowl Win With A Boat Parade

Despite the pandemic, fans packed downtown Tampa Wednesday to celebrate the Buccaneers’ second Super Bowl championship.

Thousands of joyful fans lined the shores of the Hillsborough River Wednesday for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers’ boat parade celebrating their 31-9 rout of the Kansas City Chiefs in Super Bowl LV.

Mike Giron, a lifelong Bucs’ fan, said he’s been waiting for this moment since the last time they won the Super Bowl.

“It means everything to me,” said Giron. “I’ve been waiting 18 years for this, since 2002, when I was eight years old.”

When asked if he was worried about the COVID-19 pandemic, he said, “I don’t care, I just want to celebrate my Bucs. If I get sick, I get sick.”

Fellow fan Tim Katon had a similar viewpoint.

“I think ever since Florida decided to stay open, no one (has been) concerned about COVID-19,” said Katon. “Seems like we’re past the point of no return.”

Much of those in attendance seemed to agree, because social distancing was virtually non-existent. People were closely bunched together in parks and on sidewalks lining the Tampa Riverwalk as they tried to get a better view of the boats as they passed by.

Roughly half of them were wearing masks, a drastic difference from the celebrations immediately following Sunday night’s game, where almost no one packing the streets in Ybor City, downtown Tampa, and the Channel District was wearing a mask.

The message sent by Tampa Mayor Jane Castor and other city officials following that night seemed to have resonated somewhat with the public. Employees of the city were posted along the Riverwalk, handing out masks to those who didn’t have one.

Castor also gave a shout out to healthcare workers and first responders at the post-parade celebration at Port Tampa Bay, saying that they “made today possible.”

Fans saw many of their favorite players, including Super Bowl MVP quarterback Tom Brady, who briefly piloted his own $2 million boat before passing the Lombardi trophy from his craft to teammate Cameron Brate on another ship.

Tight end Rob Gronkowski was also a constant presence, first talking Castor into doing a champagne toast with players before the parade to dancing shirtless on a boat and waving to fans during it.

Afterwards, in a ceremony not open to the public at the Port Tampa Bay cruise terminal, head coach Bruce Arians praised his team and promised a repeat performance next season.

"We have the best coaching staff in the NFL. And we damn sure got the best players in the NFL," said Arians. "We're gonna keep this band together. And they know how to win."

I am a WUSF Rush Family/USF Zimmerman School Digital News Intern for the spring 2022 semester; this is my second internship with the station.
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