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

Wild Celebrations In The Streets Of Tampa Follow Bucs' Super Bowl Win

Distancing and mask rules were largely ignored as celebrations took place around Tampa following the Bucs' 31-9 victory over the Kansas City Chiefs.

Despite the coronavirus pandemic, huge crowds of Tampa Bay Buccaneers fans took to the streets Sunday night to celebrate their team's 31-9 victory over the Kansas City Chiefs in Super Bowl LV.

Distancing and mask rules were largely ignored as celebrations took place along 7th Avenue in Ybor City, in Tampa's SoHo neighborhood and the Channel District, and outside Raymond James Stadium.

Videos on social media showed fans stopping traffic by gathering in intersections, as well as climbing on trees, construction scaffolds, and a HART bus.

Other videos showed Tampa Police moving into a crowd along Columbus Drive near the stadium to make an arrest, as well as dispersing crowds at other locations around the city. As of 5 a.m., the TPD has not announced how many people were arrested overnight.

A number of exits on I-4 and I-275 were also shut down by police because of the large crowds.

The game hadn't even officially ended before thousands of Bucs fans took to city streets to party.

Rob Palmer walked around outside Raymond James Stadium waving a Bucs flag. He drove over from Clearwater halfway through the game because he wanted to revel with fellow fans.

"Oh man, it means a lot, especially after this past year," he said. "It really does. I mean think about it, we won the Super Bowl, (the Lightning) won the Stanley Cup, and (the Rays) almost won the World Series. Special time for Tampa Bay."

Still, Palmer lamented that the victory happened amid the coronavirus pandemic. He said, prior to this season, he hadn't missed a Bucs home game in 20 years and would have liked to have been one of the 25,000 fans allowed inside the stadium on Sunday night.

Angie Nielson jumped on top of a car parked in the middle of the road near the stadium and danced and cheered with strangers.

Sporting a Tom Brady jersey that was half New England Patriots colors and half Bucs colors, Nielson said she flew in from Illinois this weekend to root for her favorite player.

"(We) travel very far to follow Brady, wherever Brady goes, we go," she said.

Longtime Bucs fan Michael Ali of Tampa said that Brady deserved some, but not all of the credit for the victory.

"The Bucs as a team, they got that win," said Ali. "We got a young, hungry defense and you know what, we're gonna be good for multiple years."

Kansas City resident and Chiefs fan Dhaima Raavi said he was having too much fun partying to let the loss get him down. He thinks his team will come back stronger next season.

"Congratulations Buccaneers, but we'll see you at the next Super Bowl!"

Attendance was limited to curb spread of the virus. But health experts say the partying in the community will likely lead to a spike in cases anyway.

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.
Mark Schreiner is the assistant news director and intern coordinator for WUSF News.