February 7, 2021 will mark Super Bowl LV, a potentially epic football game that no one will watch. Thanks to a combination of the COVID-19 pandemic, continual social upheaval across America, and the overall loss of interest for football, expect Super Bowl LV to record low ratings.
Of course, this is moot when you think about how many fans will be streaming Super Bowl LV or hitting the Vegas books to find Super Bowl odds. But when speaking about traditional viewership and attendance, Super Bowl LV will whiff.
The NFL is already experiencing tanking ratings lately, a trend that is shared across every sport in America. This is mainly due to the US Elections, which just ended a few days ago.
However, don’t expect fans to quickly pick up on sports like football just because the Elections have concluded. The drama-filled event is a continuing saga up until next year and possibly further.
There are too many volatile issues ripping through America, and the world, right now: climate change, social injustices against minority groups, and the COVID-19 pandemic just to name a few.
Sports like football can be a unifying factor – a pastime that helps people forget about the world’s problems. But instead of escaping to football, many have glued themselves to the news mostly thanks to pandemic and government updates.
It’s a travesty for the NFL as this has arguably been one of the best seasons offering more polished offense and the high-level play of a record number of black quarterbacks.
Super Bowl LV still on despite COVID-19
Despite the COVID-19 pandemic, the NFL has chugged along. There have been a few cancellations and postponements, but the weekly schedule has kept the NFL almost impervious.
Super Bowl LV will continue on as scheduled. NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell is optimistic there will be more than enough people in the stands for the annual football supershow.
Goodell and the NFL are exploring various options including seating plans in hopes of having fans attend the big game at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa, Florida.
Other contingency plans include removing the bye week before the Super Bowl, moving the game a week earlier. Alternatively, it could also be postponed depending on how the playoff teams fare in terms of their health and safety.
The Florida government recently removed its capacity restrictions although all three Florida teams, which include Tampa Bay, have maintained their 20-25% capacity limits.
Ideally, a vaccine becomes available and all forms of restrictions are removed. The Raymond James Stadium will undoubtedly be filled. But as for television ratings, that remains to be seen.
The pandemic, Presidential Elections, and other social issues will still be dominating media outlets and social media. A return to the average viewership of recent years (around 100 million) should be considered a blessing.
Either way, football and sports have seen their relevance go down recently. The lack of buildup or hype for the Super Bowl will also hurt. But this is counter to the great product on the field.
But football diehards can at least take solace in the game still continuing. For once, maybe it will be more about the football than the theatrics, entertainment, and commercials.
Which NFL teams to expect for Super Bowl LV
A bevy of NFL teams are expected to not only make the Super Bowl but make it one for the ages. Here is a list of the top Super Bowl hopefuls to watch out for.
Kansas City Chiefs
The defending champions are still the favourites to win the Super Bowl. Patrick Mahomes leads an ever-explosive offense that is supported by a solid defense and a Hall of Fame coach in Andy Reid.
New Orleans Saints
The Saints have run into bad luck in three straight playoff appearances but maybe fourth time’s the charm? They are still the favourites coming out of the NFC and could be tantalizing dance partners for the Chiefs.
Led by last year’s MVP, Lamar Jackson, the Ravens remain a top-three team in the AFC despite not looking as dominant lately. They will need to find a way to beat KC if they want to make the Super Bowl.
The resurgent Steelers are on their way to becoming the top team in the AFC after decisively beating Baltimore. Quarterback Ben Roethlisberger and head coach Mike Tomlin have Super Bowl pedigrees.
Speaking of Super Bowl pedigrees, Russell Wilson and Pete Carroll were one bad play call away from winning consecutive Super Bowls. They have a prolific offense and if they can improve their defense, look out.