The NFL’s biggest event of the year could be pushed back all the way to March if necessary, under a contingency plan that Green Bay Packers President Mark Murphy confirmed existed.
Both Murphy and Super Bowl organizers hope the Super Bowl is played on Feb. 7 at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa. But, Murphy’s comments suggest the game could conceivably be played as late as March 7 if coronavirus pandemic conditions warranted.
The NFL already went ahead and canceled the Pro Bowl to put more focus into the postseason. It’s the first time that’s happened since 1949.
Murphy’s Super Bowl LV remarks came during a virtual pep rally Tuesday. He is the first member of an NFL front office to publicly confirm that contingency plan.
10 Tampa Bay is the official media partner of the Tampa Bay Super Bowl LV Host Committee. President and CEO Rob Higgins sent the following statement on Thursday:
“We’re in constant communication with our great partners at the NFL and our collective focus is totally on February 7th at this time. We’re event planners and are designed to be flexible, but as of today, we’re continuing to plan for an unforgettable Super Bowl that takes place on February 7th at Raymond James Stadium.”
The pandemic has already forced the league to shuffle more than a dozen games, and there’s a possibility that more games will have to be postponed.
At the end of September, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis voiced his support for any Florida NFL teams’ decisions to allow fans at games.
“We’re gonna be able to host a Super Bowl in February,” he said then. “We expect to do a full Super Bowl. And, we’re gonna show that we’ll be able to do that.”
Around the same time, NFL leaders in charge of planning Super Bowl LV voiced their hopes that fans will be in attendance for the big game at Raymond James Stadium.
“Our hope is going to be to fill the stadium with fans,” Jon Barker said in September. Barker is the NFL’s head of live event production.
WTHR contributed to this report.