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The ‘Big Game’ is upon us

If ever there was an unofficial holiday, Sunday is that day.

It’s Super Bowl Sunday, the day the National Football League crowns its champion.

There’s been plenty of hype surrounding this year’s game in Tampa, Fla., which features the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Kansas City Chiefs.

The Big Game, which bears the Roman numeral LV, figures to have plenty of intrigue. For starters, it will be played in Tampa’s Raymond James Stadium and will mark the first time a team has played in a Super Bowl in its home stadium. And, while it has been 18 years since the Buccaneers last played in a Super Bowl, the game will mark Kansas City’s second-straight appearance and fourth overall for the Chiefs.

Quarterbacks always are at center stage, but the spotlight will shine even brighter on them Sunday. Tampa will be led by Tom Brady, a 43-year-old who played in nine Super Bowls and won six during his 20 years in New England. The Chiefs, meanwhile, will be led by Patrick Mahomes, a 25-year-old who last year was the winning quarterback in the only Super Bowl he played in his four years with the team.

Like every other event in our lives COVID-19 will have a hand in the Super Bowl. Attendance will be limited to 14,500 fans, 7,500 of whom will be vaccinated health care workers who will see the game in person at no charge.

Traditional Super Bowl parties will be on a much smaller scale than in previous years, with 72 percent of people opting to pass altogether this year. But that won’t keep people from enjoying the festivities at home, and maybe a little too much — 52.4 percent of Americans surveyed said that the day after the Super Bowl should be a national holiday, and 72 percent of human resource managers agree.

Close to 100 million people will watch a part of the game either on television or through a streaming service, a significant portion just to see the halftime show, which will be headlined by pop star the Weeknd, Abel Makkonen Tesfaye.

The game and all that surrounds it offers a chance to relax and unwind in the middle of winter, and one last opportunity to watch professional football before it begins its six-month hiatus.

We offer no prediction about the outcome of the game — only advice that you sit back and enjoy.

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