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A group of healthcare workers on the coronavirus frontlines was surprised by Rob Gronkowski with tickets to Super Bowl LV this weekend.
The lucky recipients were recently given the news in a video message sent by the 31-year-old Tampa Bay Buccaneers' tight end, who will be playing in his sixth Super Bowl with longtime teammate, Tom Brady. The healthcare workers will join 7,500 physicians and medical staffers who have been invited to the event after receiving their coronavirus vaccinations.
"I am so excited," said nurse Mandy Mueske of Moffitt Cancer Center in Tampa. "I've never been to a Bucs game but I've always wanted to, so the first time going is going to be the Super Bowl — I'm so excited … I watch games every Sunday. Go Bucs!"
According to the team's website, the group of four workers — which also includes Woody Nixon of Moffitt Cancer Center, and Belinda Spahn and Heather Stegmeier of AdventHealth — initially thought they had not been selected to attend the game.
"During one of the toughest times our community, nation, and the world has ever experienced, it was our healthcare workers that made sacrifices every day," Buccaneers Chief Operating Officer Brian Ford said in a statement about the gift.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers/YouTube
"The entire Tampa Bay community is better because of their selflessness and strength, and the Buccaneers are honored to recognize Mandy, Heather, Belinda, and Woody for their commitment to serving others during the pandemic," Ford added.
The group of four, along with the thousands of other healthcare workers who will be in attendance, are in for quite the show this Sunday.
The Buccaneers are the first team in NFL history to host a Super Bowl in their home city. They will be taking on the defending champions Kansas City Chiefs, who are led by quarterback Patrick Mahomes.
Despite the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, the NFL is allowing 22,000 people to attend the Super Bowl. In addition to social distancing when possible, those in the crowd will have to wear masks, the New York Times, reported. They will also be given free hand sanitizer.
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The city of Tampa will be requiring face masks outdoors in Super Bowl event areas and indoors when social distancing is not possible.
The Buccaneers and the Chiefs are facing off at Super Bowl LV on Sunday in Tampa. The game will air on CBS at 6:30 p.m. EST.