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WUSF's coverage of Super Bowl LV at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa on Feb. 7, 2021.

Live From Super Bowl LV: Tampa Celebrates Before, And After, Bucs' Win Over Chiefs

WUSF News will be reporting all aspects of this story, providing you a glimpse of what is happening in and around Raymond James Stadium during Sunday's 31-9 Bucs victory in Super Bowl LV.

Tampa is hosting its fifth Super Bowl today, and a global pandemic has changed it from a perennial international TV event celebrating sport and spectacle, to one where public health officials are issuing warnings about triggering a coronavirus super spreader event.

The city is trying to strike a delicate balance: offering a setting of fun, sun and revelry against a backdrop where face masks are mandatory and bars and restaurants are being threatened with fines for exceeding capacity.

And the dance is only heightened as the hometown Tampa Bay Buccaneers are facing off at 6:30 p.m. against the defending Super Bowl champion Kansas City Chiefs.

RELATED: 5 Ways Tampa Bay Will Be Represented During The Super Bowl LV Telecast

The scaled-down event is being watched carefully, and unofficial parties have garnered criticism from local police organizations and the mayor of St. Petersburg.

WUSF News will be reporting all aspects of this story today, providing you a glimpse of what is happening in and around Raymond James Stadium. Also, catch the post-game reaction Monday on Morning Edition on WUSF 89.7, starting at 5 a.m.

Brady, Arias both indicate they'll return next year

Buccaneers head coach Bruce Arians and Super Bowl MVP, quarterback Tom Brady, are making fans begin dreaming of a repeat. After Sunday's game, both said they'll return for next season. It will be the second of a two-year deal Brady signed with the team.

Bucs fans celebrate outside Raymond James

Tom Brady named Super Bowl MVP

Tom Brady, who became the first quarterback to win a Super Bowl in three decades, was named MVP of the Super Bowl following the Bucs' 31-9 victory over the Kansas City Chiefs.

Congratulations start for Super Bowl Champions

The reactions to the Bucs' victory are already coming in on Twitter.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers win Super Bowl LV 31-9

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers, led by Tom Brady and a smothering defense, beat the Kansas City Chiefs 31-9 in Super Bowl LV. They're the first team to win a Super Bowl in their home stadium.

Brady wins his 7th Super Bowl, his first with the Bucs.

International Space Station stops by the game

NASA shared a picture of Tampa from the International Space Station.

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis in attendance

Long-time Buccaneers fan, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, is at the Super Bowl, in a press box but seen not wearing a mask.

Bucs take a 31-9 lead

The Bucs have added 10 third quarter points with a 27 yard Leonard Fournette run and a 52 yard Ryan Succop field goal.

Super Bowl halftime show brings the spectacle

Lots of fireworks for The Weeknd's halftime show.

Bucs fans happy heading into halftime.

Tom Brady and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers head into the locker room leading 21-6.

Bars are rowdy inside and out.

Limited capacity because of the coronavirus pandemic means not all the fans wanting to watch the Super Bowl at a bar near Raymond James Stadium are getting in. And since a lot of them are local fans of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, they're opting to linger near by.

Chiefs score first, but Bucs go ahead in first quarter.

The first quarter ends with the Bucs ahead 7-3.

Pregame spectactle includes flyover, fireworks.

WUSF's Stephanie Colombini is right outside Raymond James Stadium and shared this close up look at the 'trifecta' flyover featuring three different Air Force bombers. Tampa residents have been hearing practice runs of the planes all week.

Chiefs Ready to Play, Bucs ready to defend their turf.

Quarterback Patrick Mahomes helped win the Super Bowl for the Kansas City Chiefs last year, but tonight he's facing Tampa Bay Buccaneer quarterback Tom Brady in his 10th Super Bowl. That faceoff is on everyone's mind in the minutes leading up to the game.

The Bucs, meanwhile, are ready to defend their home turf. They are trying to be the first team to every play - and win - at home.

Law Enforcement everywhere.

The Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office is just one of dozens of law enforcement agencies handling security for the Super Bowl. Earlier this week, officials said the attention paid to the game is second only to the security for a presidential inauguration.

Super Bowl crowd smaller, but tailgating endures.

WUSF reporters Daylina Miller and Steve Newborn are checking out the scene in the neighborhoods around Raymond James Stadium. They say one group gathered along Himes Avenue. At one lot called the Pirate’s Den, Mike Kinko says he's been tailgating outside Bucs games for 20-plus years. Says it’s been a very unusual year with COVID-19. He's only allowing 50 people in his spot outside, as opposed to 100-plus.

The pandemic reduced a lot of the usual boisterousness associated with the Super Bowl. But it didn't stop one group of people from Illinois, who rented out a home near Raymond James Stadium. Its front yard boasted a bar, big-screen TV and life-sized games of Jenga.

Steven Welgat is from a small town about one hundred miles south of Chicago - but doesn't like Da Bears. His older brother had a Tampa Bay Buccaneers helmet when they were growing up, so he decided that would be his team. And he told himself if the Bucs ever made it to the Super Bowl, he'd be there - pandemic or no pandemic.

He says he already had the coronavirus, so the risk of getting sick is not an issue.

“I'm pretty cavalier about it, but it doesn't bother me that much,” he said. “I've been sick already, so I've got my antibodies and I'm pretty good to go so I'm not too concerned about that, but without the pandemic, we'd have tickets to the game right now.”

Just 25,000 people are being allowed to attend the Super Bowl and the NFL didn't allow traditional tailgate parties in the stadium's parking lots. Instead, smaller, subdued throngs of fans gathered outside private homes in residential neighborhoods a few blocks away.

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Tampa Police Chief reacts to crowds gathering.

WUSF's Daylina Miller and Steve Newborn are at Raymond James Stadium hearing how Police Chief Brian Dugan is planning to enforce the city's enhanced COVID-19 restrictions after reports of thousands of people in Ybor City on Saturday night.

Ray Jay got gussied up.

Super Bowl LV is the first time an NFL franchise is playing the big game in its home stadium. A lot of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers signage has been covered up at Raymond James Stadium, but the iconic pirate ship remains. (Note: the cannons won't be fired however, if the Bucs score.)

The Super Bowl is REALLY Big.

The global audience watching the Super Bowl each year is enormous. Need proof? Astronauts on the International Space Station are talking about Tampa.

I cover health care for WUSF and the statewide journalism collaborative Health News Florida. I’m passionate about highlighting community efforts to improve the quality of care in our state and make it more accessible to all Floridians. I’m also committed to holding those in power accountable when they fail to prioritize the health needs of the people they serve.
I took my first photography class when I was 11. My stepmom begged a local group to let me into the adults-only class, and armed with a 35 mm disposable camera, I started my journey toward multimedia journalism.
Steve Newborn is a WUSF reporter and producer at WUSF covering environmental issues and politics in the Tampa Bay area.