Students share Super Bowl Sunday experiences

Elizabeth Taylor and Emilee Tosh

Eastern students enjoyed the 2021 Super Bowl game despite changes to celebrations due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The stadium where the game was held also had to enforce extra COVID-19 safety protocols so that the event could happen.

This year’s Super Bowl was between the Kansas City Chiefs and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers at the Raymond James Stadium in Tampa, FL with an audience of around 25,000- a third of the size of the crowd from the last Super Bowl in that stadium.

A portion of this year’s audience was health care workers who have already received vaccines. Players and coaches were tested regularly leading up to the game.

Photographers were not allowed on the field itself, and the limit for reporters was much smaller; they were also separated by plexiglass while in the press box.

Here at Eastern, typical social distancing and mask guidelines are still in place, meaning that large Super Bowl parties were out of the question.

In normal years, many residence halls plan events during the game, but gatherings are currently limited to 25 people without food.

Taylor Hall held a modified version of their yearly Super Bowl party by offering “grab-and-go” meals of hot dogs or hamburgers.

Many individual students made their own plans to watch the game this year, either with a virtual group or a small in-person group.

Emily Thorpe, a freshman music performance major, said that she didn’t watch the Super Bowl for the football part of the event.

“I just plan on hanging with my family and eating the typical food while ignoring the game,” Thorpe said. “I’ll probably just watch the commercials and the halftime show.”

This year’s half time show featured The Weeknd with around 200 dancers.

Jackson Jansen, a freshman psychology major, said that his group was making a small party out of the game.

“I plan on watching the Super Bowl with my buds,” Jansen said. “We’re having some games that we’re gonna play as the game goes on and finish with some pizzas.”

Some students have found alternatives to the traditions that they are used to on Super Bowl Sunday.

Sidney Mayberry, freshman elementary education major, said that the Super Bowl was traditionally a family party in her home.

“I’m just chilling and watching the game with some of my friends. We did it with our families and now we’re starting a Super Bowl Sunday tradition together,” Mayberry said. “It’s just one more way to make us feel at home, since our friend group is like a second family.”

With pandemic safety regulations shutting many events down, the Super Bowl was many students’ first opportunity to celebrate anything on campus with friends this year.

Ryan Shepard, a freshman sports management major, said his group wanted to make safety a priority while still having the opportunity to hang out.

“My plans for the Super Bowl between the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and the Kansas City Chiefs involve me watching the game with some friends abiding by safety protocols,” Shepard said. “Hoping for a tremendous game.”

 

Elizabeth Taylor and Emilee Tosh can be reached at 581-2812 or [email protected]