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A Healthcare Worker’s Super Bowl

Growing up with a rooting interest for the Pittsburgh Steelers, South Williamsport High School alum Sue (Rake) McNutt was never a Tom Brady fan, but never-the-less enjoyed a once-in-a-lifetime experience of witnessing the GOAT make history with his seventh Super Bowl triumph and fifth big game MVP performance in Tampa Bay’s 31-9 dismantling of Kansas

Growing up with a rooting interest for the Pittsburgh Steelers, South Williamsport High School alum Sue (Rake) McNutt was never a Tom Brady fan, but never-the-less enjoyed a once-in-a-lifetime experience of witnessing the GOAT make history with his seventh Super Bowl triumph and fifth big game MVP performance in Tampa Bay’s 31-9 dismantling of Kansas City in Super Bowl LV.

McNutt graduated from South Williamsport High School in 1986 and later Central Pennsylvania Business College. She later got married, worked in Delaware for many years, and moved to Florida six years ago, where she is employed as a secretary in the emergency room at Children’s Hospital in St. Petersburg.

As part of the NFL’s program to recognize vaccinated health care works at the Super Bowl, Children’s Hospital’s emergency department workers were among the first to receive the COVID vaccine. Those workers who had received both doses of the vaccine before January 24 were eligible to enter a drawing to win tickets to the Super Bowl. The hospital received 50 tickets, and 114 employees entered the drawing. When it was held, McNutt’s name was the first one picked.

The day following the Super Bowl, Sue was kind enough to share some of those game-day experiences with Webb Weekly.

“Along with our tickets, we received a parking pass that was about a half-mile from the stadium. We began the walk to the stadium at about 1:30 p.m., and it was 3:30 p.m. until we finally got in. There is mandatory masking in Tampa/St. Petersburg and stringent health safety precautions were present entering the stadium. Once inside, we were directed to a private area for the 7,500 health care workers attending the game. There we were provided free food and beverages and were guests at the Miley Cyrus concert. It was really enjoyable. The weather was in the 70s, and we could roam around the concert area, which lasted until 4:45 p.m.

“Following the concert, we had time to see many of the displays located around the stadium. Unlike a normal Super Bowl, it wasn’t that crowded, people were respecting the social distancing, and you had opportunities to take plenty of pictures. There was no tailgating, but it was a relaxed atmosphere, and people were very friendly and excited.

“We got to our seats about 5:00 p.m. and watched the teams’ pre-game warm-ups. We had good seats. I was on the second deck club level on cushioned seats at about the five-yard line. You were high enough to have a great view of the field. I had another person sitting next to me but on the seat on my other side was a cutout of a dog. People were spread out. Nobody was sitting in front or behind you. You were required to wear masks in your seats. You could take them off to eat or drink, but there were ushers constantly walking around making sure people were wearing masks.

“The health care workers were introduced to the crowd, and folks were appreciative. I’ve never been to a place where nobody complained or weren’t whining about something. Outside the stadium, there were some vaccine protestors, but nobody got in your face, and the day was just a whole lot of fun.”

Asked about The Weeknd’s halftime show performance, McNutt’s reaction was positive.

“The halftime show was actually really good. It was down in the end zone where we were seated, so we were up close. I couldn’t really see much of the groups dancing on the field, but the music was good, and there were lots of fireworks. I had never heard of the performer before, but folks seemed to like it.

“The postgame celebration was rather subdued. It was on the field right in front of me, but it was a little boring. I did get a good view of Tom Brady with the trophy and his kids.

“It was so much fun. We had a great time. We were excited for the opportunity because I would never be able to do anything like that. It was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, and everything was free, and we were handed stuff left and right. We were treated so nice, and it was really like a private party for the 7,500 health care workers that were there.

“It was really cool to have the Super Bowl here and to have the Bucs win here. That is something that has never happened before. It was a united feeling experience. Everybody got along. It was nice for once that with everything that is going on in the country, people enjoyed an event, got along, and weren’t angry.”

Although not a Tom Brady fan previous to his joining the Buccaneers, McNutt admitted Tampa is definitely Brady country.

“Tom Brady is everywhere down here. He is on billboards, signs, on TV, and radio. Brady jerseys are much easier to find than just a Bucs jersey. The man just doesn’t lose. The Bucs brought him here to win, and he delivered. He did what he said he was going to do, and you have to have total respect for his talents.”

Along with 16 other incorrect prognosticators in last week’s Webb Weekly, I should have recognized the obvious.

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