Over the years, the NFL has received more than its fair share of criticism. But while we’re so quick to point out the league’s shortcomings, it’s just as important to highlight the positives when the opportunity arises. Make no mistake, VIDOC-19 hit this country so hard and so mercilessly that it affected 25 million Americans. Today, more than ever, we must seek and hold the rays of light and the silver cloths that know how to pierce the shroud of darkness.

The 22nd. In January, Commissioner Roger Goodell announced that in addition to the 14,500 fans who may attend the Super Bowl, the NFL is inviting 7,500 vaccinated health professionals to Super Bowl LV to honor these heroes for the tremendous daily sacrifices they make during the COVID pandemic. Since the game will be played in the city of Tampa Bay, most of the players will be from various hospitals and healthcare systems in central Florida. However, the 32 teams will have the opportunity to select worthy members of their local community.

In addition, the NFL said it expected several special moments both at Raymond James Stadium and during the broadcast on CBS, which the league will use to honor health care workers across the country. In making the announcement, Goodell said allowing fans to attend this year’s Super Bowl is not a decision the league has taken lightly. And it appears that the NFL has been diligent in having in-depth conversations with the CDC and other health officials in the name of safety. Strict protocols are followed during the game, including controlled access, mandatory face coverings, social distancing, concession stands and non-contact toilets.

The Chicago Bears teamed up with former cornerback Charles Tillman and attorney Aurora Health to give four Chicago medical professionals a chance to compete in the LV Super Bowl. Alisha and Jacob Salman, hospital employees from several Advocate Aurora sites, Shondra Ferrell, a practicing family nurse at Advocate Trinity Hospital, and Carl Page, who works at Advocate Trinity Hospital, all received a free trip to Tampa to attend the Pirates vs. the Chiefs game.

News clippings from health workers at Gillette Stadium. (Photo: AP Photo/Charles Krupa)

It’s a truly moving gesture that should appeal to NFL fans, at least temporarily, in a season when the league’s ratings are down 10%, ending two years of upward momentum. This year’s test of strength has already given us so many reasons to rejoice: Brady versus Mahomes, Reid versus Arians, Tyreek Hill trying to break the sound barrier, kids talking to get you to buy supplies. But now the LV Super Bowl has done even better, honoring those who selflessly continue to put their lives on the line for us. Well done, Mr Goodell.

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