Ever since sports was halted in March last year due to COVID-19, ‘high risk’ sports like American Football have struggled to bounce back due to high expense of managing competitive play in the current times.
Local football fans in Uganda have had to quench their thirst for competitive play with foreign events notably the National Football League (NFL) and the American Football Conference (AFC).
On Sunday, 7th February 2021, Super Bowl LV, the 55th Super Bowl and the 51st modern-era NFL championship game that will decide the league champion for the 2020 NFL season will be held. The AFC champion Kansas City Chiefs (who are also the defending Super Bowl champions) will play the NFC champion Tampa Bay Buccaneers in Tampa Bay, Florida, at Raymond James Stadium, home of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
Just like last year, Bowl Week will headline the agenda of Ugandan fans and the American Football Federation of Uganda (AFFU) President Steven George Okeng believes that the event will reawaken the spirit of the game among local fans.
“With Super Bowl being the most highly watched game by millions of fans across the world, with Uganda inclusive, it’s definitely one of the motivating factors that will roll out more fans to understand the game and its technicalities. For any sport to grow it needs loyal fans and as AFFU we believe we have them here in Uganda and we just need to reconnect with them during this years Super Bowl and create a much deeper rapport with our fan base,” Okeng said in an interview.
In the near future, AFFU plans to hold clinics with some of the Chiefs players hence this year’s Super Bowl will attract a wider audience from Uganda who are much likely to be backing the defending champions.
“We have lots of plans with some of the athletes who are featuring in the Super Bowl this year and that’s Tanoh Kpassagnon and Patrick Mahomes who both play for the Kansas City Chiefs. We intend to have some camps with Tanoh Kpassagnon during the offseason and this will also be a new journey to take with the Super Bowl Champions. We believe this will not just lead but have a great effect on the development of both our athletes and officials in Uganda,” Okeng added.
AFFU is also planning to hold a Super Bowl mini watch party but with a bit fewer audience compared to last year’s.
“We had plans to make it bigger and better this year but considering the situation at hand (COVID-19), we are really limited on the same but we shall try and pull it off in the simplest and finest way possible,” Okeng revealed adding that venue details will be revealed shortly.
This Super Bowl will mark three milestones, as the Tampa Bay Buccaneers will be the first team to play a Super Bowl in its home stadium, Tampa Bay quarterback Tom Brady will play in his record 10th Super Bowl, and with COVID-19 health restrictions limiting stadium capacity to 22,000 fans, it will be the lowest attended Super Bowl. Additionally, this marks the first time since Super Bowl XLVI that the game will feature two teams that met previously in the regular season, as well as the first time since 2011 that a wild card team will appear in the Super Bowl.
Country music singer Eric Church and R&B singer Jazmine Sullivan will perform the national anthem, while the halftime show will be headlined by Canadian singer The Weeknd.