PONTIFICATING FROM THE SUNSHINE STATE – JUNE 23
By Leo Haggerty

TAMPA BAY’S LOST SUPER BOWL

First of all, and I will start EVERY article with this paragraph, sports pales in comparison with what is occurring with the Coronavirus. Hopefully, the columns that I, and the rest of our correspondents, provide you is a momentary escape from the trials and tribulations that Americans, and the rest of the world’s population, are experiencing. The COVID-19 is not a video game that you can press reset and get a new life. This is real and dangerous so, above all, be prudent and stay safe.

Consider my column to be a wake-up call to the populous of the Greater Tampa Bay area.  Everyone needs to start following the protocols that have been instituted by local, as well as county, officials or we will lose the Super Bowl.

Harsh statement, you say. Not hardly and here’s why.

For the National Football League to start their season on time in September, it is imperative that the number of people infected by Covid-19 drops precipiticly.  That is a prerequisite to allowing fans to attend to contests.

Up until about two weeks ago, Florida had done a superb job of controlling the spread of the pandemic.  You saw a majority of men and women and children wearing masks along with practicing social distancing.  That slowed the spread of the virus and that was a good thing.

Then, around the end of May, Floridians got greedy.  Governor DeSantis jumped the gun and relaxed those two policies.  He opened the state feeling the worse was over.  Boy, was he, and government officials in other states, terribly wrong.

Today, the signs are not promising.  In fact, they’re downright scary.

The percentage of people that are registering a positive result to the coronavirus test in the Sunshine State is approaching 20%.  That’s up from under double-digit data just a short time ago and most experts expect that number to continue to climb, not drop.

There are two big problem festering here.  The first is that, in a democracy, citizens have the right to decide how to live their life.  They can choose whether to wear a face covering and keep a 6-foot distance between themselves and other folks or not.

The second is the mandatory wearing of masks is a law that’s unenforceable.  Do you think the police are going to come and arrest someone who isn’t wearing a mask at Walmart?  You tell me the answer to that.

Here’s the choices that the greater Tampa Bay Community has in front of them.  You can choose to follow the safety protocols that have been put in place and reduce the spread of Covid-19.  That’s one option.  The other is you can completely disregard the data that is in front of you and go about your business that nothing has happened hoping the coronavirus goes away.

If the Super Bowl is played without fans, the monetary impact on our area will be monumental.  With a huge number of businesses and employees already feeling the effect of the pandemic, this would be catastrophic.

So, it’s your call Tampa Bay.  If you want the Super Bowl to come to Raymond James Stadium in February, or whenever, start practicing prudent precautions.

I want to see the RayJay packed and with the Bucs taking the field for the Super Bowl.  Don’t you?