NFL inviting 7,500 vaccinated health care workers to attend Super Bowl LV

Raymond James Stadium, site of Sunday's NFL Super Bowl XLIII football game. (Charlie Riedel/AP Photo)

The NFL will be inviting 7,500 vaccinated health care workers to attend Super Bowl LV to thank them for their service during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Roger Goodell, the league's commissioner, broke the news to a team of Sarasota Memorial Hospital health care workers by making a virtual appearance during their Zoom meeting.

"So, I know everyone in your area is excited about an event that's coming your way in a couple weeks -- the Super Bowl," Goodell said in a video of the meeting, posted by the NFL to social media Friday morning. "The reason that I wanted to get on this call for a minute to thank you all, is I wanted to tell you we want your team to be there. If you're able to swing it, I want to personally invite each member of your team to be our guests at the Super Bowl."

Upon hearing the offer, several health care workers on the call were visibly overjoyed.

Sarasota Memorial Hospital, one of the largest public health-care systems in Florida, is just over an hour away from Raymond James Stadium in Tampa, Fla., where the Super Bowl will be played.

"I am the son of a nurse and all of you have a very special place in my heart," Goodell said in the video. "I've seen the work that you do, my mom used to talk about it all the time, it's just extraordinary work. And we owe you our ongoing gratitude and can't thank you enough."

A total of 22,000 fans will be allowed to be in attendance for the event, the NFL said. Standard COVID-19 protocols will be implemented, including mandatory mask-wearing and social distancing, as well as other measures such as podded seating and touchless in-stadium experiences at concessions and restrooms.

The teams that will appear in Super Bowl LV, which is slated to take place on Feb. 7, will be determined this Sunday by the winners of the conference championship games.

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