Excitement, anxiety hang over Sunday's Super Bowl

Fewer high fives, more hand sanitizer.

That’s just one key difference fans descending on Tampa, Florida, will likely experience at this Sunday’s Super Bowl LV (55), whether cheering for the hometown Buccaneers - led by age-defying 43-year-old superstar Tom Brady - or returning champs the Kansas City Chiefs, seeking back-to-back rings under the leadership of 25-year-old quarterback sensation Patrick Mahomes.

For the limited crowd of roughly 25,000 in the stands, masks are a must – and not just any mask.

All attendees will be required to wear KN-95 masks provided at entranceways to Tampa’s Raymond James Stadium - and strict social distancing will be enforced.

For many, that means cardboard cutouts of fellow football fanatics could be their closest seat mates.

Also among the crowd: 7,500 vaccinated healthcare workers who were given free tickets by the NFL.

The greater challenge, however, could be beyond the scope of the NFL, with folks across the country gathering in households and at private parties to celebrate the game – something Dr. Rochelle Walensky, the new head of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, strongly advises against.

“And this Sunday, remember – whichever team you’re rooting for, and whichever commercial is your favorite, please watch the Super Bowl safely, gathering only virtually or with the people you live with.”

And if you’re watching at home, without the usual fanfare of cheering friends by your side, take heart: at least you should be safe, not just from the public health crisis but also from other potential threats.

With a national domestic terrorism advisory in place, security at the Super Bowl will be super tight – and played under the watchful eyes of some 70 local, state and federal agencies.

Video Transcript

- Fewer high fives, more hand sanitizer. That's just one key difference fans descending on Tampa, Florida will likely experience at this Sunday's Super Bowl 55, whether cheering for the hometown Buccaneers--

- We're going to the Super Bowl.

- --led by age-defying 43-year-old superstar Tom Brady, or returning champs, the Kansas City Chiefs, seeking back-to-back rings under the leadership of 25-year-old quarterback sensation Patrick Mahomes.

For the limited crowd of roughly 25,000 in the stands, masks are a must, and not just any mask. All attendees will be required to wear KN95 masks provided at entranceways to Tampa's Raymond James Stadium, and strict social distancing will be enforced. For many, that means cardboard cutouts of fellow football fanatics could be their closest seatmates.

- Congratulations. You're going to Super Bowl 55.

- Also among the crowd, 7,500 vaccinated health care workers who were given free tickets by the NFL. The greater challenge, however, could be beyond the scope of the NFL, with folks across the country gathering and households and at private parties to celebrate the game, something Dr. Rochelle Walensky, the new head of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, strongly advises against.

ROCHELLE WALENSKY: And this Sunday, remember, whichever team you're rooting for and whichever commercial is your favorite, please watch the Super Bowl safely, gathering only virtually, or with the people you live with.

- And if you're watching at home, without the usual fanfare of cheering friends by your side, take heart. At least you should be safe, not just from the public health crisis, but also from other potential threats. With the National Domestic terrorism advisory in place, security at the Super Bowl will be super-tight, and played under the watchful eyes of some 70 local, state, and federal agencies.