For the first time in sports history, a Super Bowl team -- the Tampa Bay Buccaneers -- will play in their home stadium.
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers are facing off against the Kansas City Chiefs in the 55th Super Bowl this Sunday. Due to the coronavirus, attendance at the stadium is limited to 25,000 fans -- and 7,500 of them will be vaccinated health care workers.
Among those frontline workers in attendance are two Metro Detroit doctors, Dr. Nadia Youseff and her husband Dr. Zafar Shamoon.
For the last 13 years, Dr. Zafar, Chief of Emergency Medicine at Beaumont Dearborn, would go on a Super Bowl trip to Las Vegas with his two closest friends. Due to virus concerns, the group had to cancel their trip and break their tradition.
Fortunately, Dr. Youseff came up with an idea to get her husband to the game.
“(The FNL commissioner) said that health care workers are going to be ... honored at the Super Bowl, and I’m thinking, ‘Oh, well, I know an awesome candidate for this,’” Youseff said.
Dr. Youseff had what many might consider a crazy idea: She wanted to somehow contact NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell and tell him that her husband’s Super Bowl tradition was cancelled.
The radiologist found Goodell’s email address and, to her delight, a representative for the commissioner -- who also happens to be a Michigander -- wrote back.
“He told me that the story stood out, and he felt like he wanted them all to be there,” Youseff said.
The NFL sent three tickets to the Super Bowl in Tampa.
“I was surprised and excited,” Youseff said. “I felt like my husband deserve this. He’s been on the frontlines and working so hard and making so many other sacrifices, and I think this is an awesome opportunity to give back to all these health care workers have been doing so much.”
In thanks, Dr. Zafar says he is planning to upgrade his wife’s Valentine’s Day gifts this year.