Report: NFL changes schedule for Super Bowl teams, could give Bucs advantage

Liz Roscher
·2 min read

COVID-19 changed a lot of the NFL’s practices during the regular season, and that will continue through the Super Bowl.

The normal timeline for Super Bowl arrival and prep is being adjusted for pandemic safety reasons, ESPN’s Adam Schefter reported Sunday. While teams usually arrive in the host city a week ahead of time, they won’t be allowed into Tampa until two days before the big game.

Except for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, of course.

But that means the Kansas City Chiefs won’t be allowed to travel to Tampa until Feb. 5, two days before the Super Bowl. According to Schefter, they plan to arrive on Feb. 6, the Saturday before the Super Bowl.

The teams headed to the Super Bowl won't be able to arrive in Tampa until two days before the big game — but only if they need to travel. If the Buccaneers win on Sunday, they won't have to go anywhere. (Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)
The Bucs won't be impacted by COVID-19 travel restrictions ahead of the Super Bowl. (Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)

Buccaneers could have an advantage

That gives the Buccaneers a major advantage going into the Super Bowl after their 31-26 win over the Green Bay Packers in Sunday’s NFC championship. With the game set to be played at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa, Florida, the Buccaneers won’t have to do any traveling or any adjusting leading up to Super Bowl Sunday. Aside from having to play in February, not much will change for them as they prepare for the big game.

That is definitely an advantage, but other COVID-19 adjustments mean it’s not the game-changer it could be. Teams arrive a week ahead of the game not just for practice purposes, but to participate in numerous pre-Super Bowl media events. But Schefter said that most of those are being done virtually, like Super Bowl media day, or canceled entirely to protect players in the lead-up to the game. Teams will be able to practice and participate in media day and other news conferences from their home facilities.

The Chiefs will end up treating the Super Bowl like any other road game, and the Buccaneers will treat it like a home game. That’s just in the week leading up to it. Once they get on the field, it’s still the biggest game of the year.

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