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Could the Super Bowl Get Relocated?

Could the COVID-19 pandemic change where the Super Bowl is being played?

Super Bowl LVI is set to take place on February 13th at SoFi Stadium in Inglewood, California, the home of the Rams and Chargers.

COVID-19 numbers have started spiking again around the country, and it appears the NFL is planning for a contingency if California makes any changes in light of these spikes. WFAA out of Dallas was the first to report that the NFL was looking into the availability of stadiums outside of California, including Arlington’s AT&T Stadium. Per WFAA, a Dallas Cowboys front office employee said, "the league did inquire about a date if [the] stadium is available. But that’s all I’ve ever heard. They could be just covering all options just in case."

Brian McCarthy, a spokesman for the NFL said that the NFL has contingency and backup plans every year for the Super Bowl.

"We plan on playing Super Bowl LVI as scheduled at SoFi Stadium in Los Angeles on Sunday, February 13. As part of our standard contingency planning process that we conduct for all regular and postseason games, we have contacted several clubs to inquire about stadium availability in the event we cannot play the Super Bowl as scheduled due to weather-related issues or unforeseen circumstances. Our planning process for the Super Bowl in Los Angeles is ahead of schedule and we look forward to hosting the Super Bowl there to culminate another fantastic NFL season for our fans and clubs.”

This Sounds Familiar

This would not be the first major sporting event moved to Texas due to COVID-19 restrictions. The 2020 MLB Playoffs hosted the NLDS at Globe Life Field in Arlington. The NLCS between the Atlanta Braves and Los Angeles Dodgers, as well as the World Series, which was played between the Dodgers and Tampa Bay Rays, was also played at Globe Life Field.

The entire 60 game MLB season in 2020 was played with no fans, mostly in teams' home ballparks. For the first few rounds of the playoffs, home team stadiums, as well as a mixture of neutral sites for the Division Series and League Championship Series, were used.

California Problems

Los Angeles County reported almost 10,000 new positive COVID cases around Christmas. This was LA's highest daily total in nearly a year. Daily COVID-19 cases have only continued to rise in the days since. 

In early December, Los Angeles County Department of Public Health issued a mandate that all people over the age of 5 entering theme parks such as Disneyland or Magic Mountain needed to provide proof of their COVID-19 vaccinations or a negative COVID-19 test. Despite this, the COVID-19 restrictions in California are not nearly as strict as they were a year ago. Football stadiums across California have been packed during the entirety of the NFL regular season.

On Monday, the Grammy's were indefinitely postponed, citing concern over COVID-19 spikes and the Omicron variant. If this is all starting to feel confusing and conflicting, that's because it is.

Consistency Lacks

We're all going to have to be frank about all of this. Given the rise of recent numbers and the Omicron variant, the federal government should step in. A mixture of half-measures, no measures, and measures only taken for fear of bad optics, have not been working. 

Nobody's favorite topic is a nationwide shutdown, but a 2-week shutdown period would certainly help half some of the numbers and spikes. Even gentle full-measures such as no event gatherings with more than a certain number of people would greatly lower the spread. As Ron Swanson from the hit show Parks and Recreation once said, "never half-ass two things. Whole ass one thing."