How the 2021 Super Bowl Teams Have Supported COVID-19 Relief Over the Past Year
For nearly a year now, both NFL teams heading to Super Bowl LV on Sunday have stepped up to help those in need amid the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.
Since the onset of the pandemic in early 2020, the Kansas City Chiefs and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers have both contributed financially to COVID-19 relief. Their respective quarterbacks, Patrick Mahomes and Tom Brady, have also given back to help affected communities and businesses.
Last March, Mahomes, 25, announced he was donating $100,000 to local organizations in Kansas City. In addition, he pledged 15,000 meals to Harvesters, a community food network in Kansas City, after Chiefs wide receiver Ty Hill donated 6,000 meals to the organization.
Combined, the four players contributed 63,000 total meals to Harvesters.
Later in March 2020, the Chiefs and the Hunt Family Foundation made a significant contribution to the Kansas City Regional COVID-19 Response and Recovery Fund, which has provided over $14 million to hundreds of organizations across the Kansas City region.
Most recently, the Chiefs raffled off nearly 10,000 tickets at $5 each for the "Home Sweet Home" banners that hung along the parade route downtown after the team's Super Bowl victory last year. 43 banners were made available and a portion of proceeds is going towards COVID-19 relief, the city said on Facebook last month.
The Chiefs also have a page on their website dedicated to COVID-19 resources which can be found here.
Like Kansas City, Tampa Bay and Brady's charitable efforts began at the onset of the pandemic early last year.
In April, Brady, 43, announced that he was partnering with Wheels Up to donate 10 million meals to Feeding America. The organization responded to Brady's donation on Twitter, writing, "Such an amazing gift! Thank you, Tom, for helping us get much-needed meals to our neighbors during this uncertain time."
That same month, the Glazer family — owners of the Buccaneers — provided 5 million meals through a donation to Feeding Tampa Bay, the team said on its website.
The Glazers also pledged $100,000 to the One Tampa: Relief Now, Rise Together Fund, which offers critical financial assistance to the most in-need residents and business owners in the city, and then contributed another $100,000 to the City of St. Petersburg's Fighting Chance Fund, an initiative focused on small businesses and their employees in the service industry impacted by COVID-19.
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Also in April of last year, Buccaneers players Alex Cappa, Ali Marpet, Donovan Smith, Ryan Jensen, Cameron Brate, Lavonte David and O.J. Howard all ordered meals from local restaurants and donated them to Metropolitan Ministries in Tampa.
Bucs General Manager Jason Licht later donated meals from 717 South Restaurant in Tampa to 500 healthcare workers, as did head coach Bruce Arians soon after, the team said on its website.
Brady also participated in two events last spring that benefited COVID-19 relief.
The first was Matt Damon and Ben Affleck's celebrity poker tournament, All in For America's Charity, that raised money for Feeding America. Participants — which included celebs like Brady, Adam Sandler, Jason Bateman, Tobey Maguire, Adam Levine, Bryan Cranston, and Sarah Silverman — had to donate $10,000 to secure their spot. At the end of the event, around $1.75 million was raised.
Due to the airborne transmission of COVID-19 and case spikes across the country, the CDC continually advises against gatherings of large groups and recommends six feet of distance and face coverings at all times.
The second event Brady participated in was The Match: Champions for Charity, which featured a showdown between Brady and Phil Mickelson against Peyton Manning and Tiger Woods to benefit COVID-19 relief. Team Woods and Manning ultimately pulled out a victory at the event, which raised $20 million and was the most-watched golf telecast in the history of cable television with an average of 5.8 million viewers.
Less than a week before the big game, tight end Rob Gronkowski sent a video message to healthcare workers who were surprised with tickets to Super Bowl LV. In total, 7,500 physicians and medical staffers have been invited to the event after receiving their coronavirus vaccinations.
The Buccaneers, too, have a page on their website dedicated to COVID-19 resources that can be viewed here.
Amid the ongoing pandemic, the NFL is allowing 22,000 people to attend the Super Bowl. In addition to social distancing when possible, those in the crowd will have to wear masks, the New York Times reported. They will also be given free hand sanitizer.
The city of Tampa will be requiring face masks outdoors in Super Bowl event areas and indoors when social distancing is not possible.
The Buccaneers and the Chiefs are facing off at Super Bowl LV on Sunday in Tampa. The game will air on CBS at 6:30 p.m. EST.
As information about the coronavirus pandemic rapidly changes, PEOPLE is committed to providing the most recent data in our coverage. Some of the information in this story may have changed after publication. For the latest on COVID-19, readers are encouraged to use online resources from CDC, WHO, and local public health departments. To help provide doctors and nurses on the front lines with life-saving medical resources, donate to Direct Relief here.