Anything New? Super Bowl Fans Swarm the Streets

By Gabriela Mendez 

History repeats itself as fans taking to the streets in celebration of their home team winning the Super Bowl. After the Tampa Bay Buccaneers secured the win on Sunday, Feb. 7 large gatherings of people got out of control as some were seen removing street signs, tossing barricades, and climbing street lights. 

This being the Buccaneers Super Bowl second win since January 2003 with a score of 31-9 being led by Tom Brady at the Raymond James Stadium in Tampa against the Kansas City Chiefs . 

Immediately following the game at least thousands of fans could be seen through social media posts swarming the streets. 

“I really think overall it went well,” said Tampa Police Department (TPD chief Brian Dugan to Tampa Bay News. “When you look at the big picture, the thousands of people who are celebrating, a very small group of people cause problems.”

Yet, some believe that TPD did not handle the gathering of people appropriately and should have made more efforts to disperse the groups. 

“They did more action at a civil BLM protest where they actually wore masks versus this gathering of crazy, stupid, drunk college kids wearing no mask,” said Avianna Gonzalez, senior political science major at The University of Tampa. 

Many people were seen in videos breaking street signs, throwing glass bottles, and jumping cars throughout downtown. 

Dugan reported that there was only a small percentage of people causing property or breaking the law and that there were only a total of 18 arrested for the entire game and evening. 

On Monday, Feb. 8 city crews were seen cleaning out the smashed fences, electric scooter tossed in retention ponds, and the trash left along downtown. 

That being said, this is not the first time many take to the street and cause city damage after their home team wins the Super Bowl. 

Where in the Super Bowl of the year 2018 around thousands of people were present in the streets after the Philadelphia Eagles had just won their first Super Bowl victory.

In an article by Times it reported how in 2018 the Philadelphia Eagles fans celebrated their teams first Super Bowl victory “by pouring the streets to cheer, cry, set off fireworks, scale street poles and break hotel awnings.”

The article added how the next day plants and streets signs were uprooted, stores were looted and cars were flipped over. 

The only difference is in 2021 with COVID-19 and many people in the gathering were seen makeless and no social distancing as recommended by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Tampa city government making many fear a spike in COVID-19 cases. 

Tampa Mayor Jane Castor said in a press conference, “We’ve done so well in putting on a safe Super Bowl, when we do win tonight, I just want to keep safety at the forefront of everyone’s minds. Celebrate, but do it safely. Simply wear a mask.”

The Tampa Bay Times reported that the Tampa Bay region has already added 1,721 cases of the virus and 53 deaths since Thursday, Feb. 11. 

In addition, the CDC reported how the B.1.1.7 variant of COVID-19 was reported in the state with nearly 350 positive cases on Thursday, Feb. 11.

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