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Super Bowl buildup, atmosphere altered by COVID-19

Published: Jan. 25, 2021 at 11:14 PM CST
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WICHITA, Kan. (KWCH) - On Feb. 7, one week from Sunday, the Kansas City Chiefs will look to accomplish something rare in the National Football League: win a second consecutive Super Bowl. It’s a feat that hasn’t happened since the New England Patriots finished as repeat-champs to cap the 2004 season. Standing in their way are the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, the NFC champions who have the advantage of playing Super Bowl LV in their home stadium. The Bucs are the first team in the history of the league to advance to the Super Bowl in a season in which their city and their stadium is serving as the host site. While the stakes of the big game remain the same, the setting and the buildup to kick off look a lot different due to restrictions in place to protect against the spread of COVID-19.

“We sill stay strict with the protocols we have been given and make sure to get that done,” Chiefs Head Coach Andy Reid said about preparing his team for its second consecutive Super Bowl appearance.

The defending champs’ head coach was speaking to a unique schedule. Instead of spending the week in Tampa before the Super Bowl, the Chiefs will stay in Kansas City until a day before kickoff, handling certain obligations from home.

“You’ve got to work your schedule around that so that it fits,” Reid said of the obligations that include remote media availability. “so that second week will be a little bit of a challenge, yeah,” he said.

In the unique circumstances surrounding this year’s game, Tampa Bay Head Coach Bruce Arians said the changes work in the Chiefs’ favor.

“Everybody is tugging and pulling you, and then when you hit town, you have all of the media obligations,” he said of playing the Super Bowl at home. “Your practices and your game plans are all put in. It’s just like an away game for them.”

With the repeat on their minds, the Super Bowl experience will be different for Chiefs Kingdom. Most festivities are virtual and those that are in-person will require masks and even card-only payments. The NFL set the capacity of the big game at 22,000, compared to the 65,000 seats the stadium holds. Getting one of those seats is more expensive than in most years. If you go to a trusted second-hand source like Ticketmaster, a pair of Super Bowl tickets can range from about $7,000, up to $29,000 each. Tickets from the team are sold in pods of four and include a virtual experience. Each seat is about $7,800, meaning you’d likely shell out close to $32,000 for a pod.

If the Cheifs win on Feb. 7, going back-to-back, there won’t be a championship parade in Kansas City as there was last year, at least not immediately. Kansas City, Mo. Mayor Quentin Lucas said the city is working on a different plan to celebrate a win, one that will keep Chiefs Kingdom safe.

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